Neighborhood Opportunity Network

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Door Knocking Training

Posted by Neighborhood Opportunity Network on March 16, 2009

Establish Relationships!This was the moment of reckoning. We’ve been talking about going door knocking for three months and even did 100 pilot door knocks in early December 2008. But we were finally ready to do the “real” door knocking and gathered 20 very diverse people on Thursday night, March 12,  to “train” them on effective door knocking – ten from our network in Silver Spring and ten new friends, including a great contingent from the Mercy Seat Chapel Church in Gaithersburg, a predominately West African church. (Thanks, Tim Warner!) See the picture below. As Megan Moriarty asked us to share the most daring thing we have ever done in our life – as a precursor to talking about knocking on the doors of lots of strangers – the room filled with the spirit of people willing to take the risk to reach out and create new connections with our neighbors. We talked about four primary goals for the face to face conversation while standing at the door of a new friend: (1) Relationship building, (2) Creating a sense of mutual support, (3) Understanding their unique abilities and gifts, and (4) Connecting them to available resources. We watched and practiced lots of role plays and struggled with lots of questions:

  • What if they are hesitant to open the door?
  • What if they are not documented?
  • What if they are hesitant to visit the County neighborhood site due to a prior bad experience or because of misinformation?
  • How can we encourage them to talk about themselves and give us an opening to find out their ability to contribute – even in a moment of need?
  • How do we manage expectations and not over-promise answers?

Door Knocking Team in GaithersburgWe agreed on some key best practices:

  • Be genuine and honest
  • Ask questions
  • Listen, Listen, Listen
  • Acknowledge limitations of services
  • Emphasize role of neighbors helping neighbors
  • Identify ways they can help out

We ended the night with excited anticipation of the chance to knock on doors the very next day – Friday, March 13, 2009 –  at Town Crest Apartments and the Woodbridge Townhouses in Gaithersburg.


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