Big Question: How do we best follow up on 500 door knocks?
Posted by Neighborhood Opportunity Network on April 14, 2009
Over the last month, the Neighbors Campaign knocked on 500 doors in the Washington Grove area of Gaithersburg. This lead to 150 one-on-one conversations and names/phone numbers. Forty of these people attended the Neighbors Exchange session, profiled below. A large number of these individuals are facing serious issues – like eviction or lack of work – and were actively encouraged to visit the new Neighborhood Service Center operated by HHS and Family Services Agency.
The question that always faces an organizer at this point – In order to turn these door knocks into a longer term community building strategy, who do we target and how do we keep building relationships and a vision for neighborhood action? We answered this question with two concrete steps in the last week.
Neighbor Circles: Last Thursday, we gathered ten new people at the Leasing Office for the Parklane Apartments on Spiceberry Lane to pitch the idea of hosting a Neighbors Circle in their community. Theses ten folks either attended the Neighbors Exchange, indicated interest at the time of the door knocking or were introduced to us via a community partner. A Neighbors Circle is a series of three simple dinners in a residents home involving eight to ten neighbors interested in building relationships, supporting each other with in-kind assistance (childcare, transportation or meals etc) and considering ways to work together to improve their neighborhood. Three of these ten brave new friends have committed to hosting a Neighbors Circle in the next month. We are thrilled!
Volunteer Door Knocking: Last night, we sponsored a new round of door knocking training and planning. Five new volunteers attended, one of whom is a new friend we met while knocking on his door. He is a fairly recent immigrant from Togo who is currently under-employed and has time to devote to reaching out to others. He’s offered to come out door knocking because he knows how important is it to find available services; he himself is struggling to make this rent payment this month. See his video clip below. The other volunteers came on board after hearing their colleagues at Mercy Seat Chapel Church talk excitedly about the Neighbors Campaign. See picture of this lively group – practicing their knocks – below. Thanks again to Mercy Seat Chapel and church organizer George Oyedele for co-sponsoring the training session last night.