Posted by POGO, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Mar 22, 2011 at 8:16 pm
I hope you like herding cats.
1. Identify a few like-minded neighbors who will help you. Your group should discuss the objectives of your homeowner's group. Do you want any residents (renters or owners) or just homeowners in your group? Your working group should also set up a phone tree and email address list to notify neighbors and identify expertise (an accounting, insurance, legal, etc.). Keep good records and minutes, even during organization. I would suggest you use Yahoo or Google groups to organize your initiative.
2. Pick a date and time (7:30pm on a weeknight that doesn't conflict with anything on school calendars) and reserve a meeting room at a nearby community center, school or church. Menlo Park City Hall is available for this, I suspect. You'll be serving coffee, soft drinks and some cookies and you'll have to prepare an agenda (who will be speaking, you?)
3. Send a postcard to every address in your neighborhood a few weeks ahead of time. This will take some effort and your local post office can help. Repeat the postcard mailing five days before the meeting (so it arrives a day or two in advance). Pick a vivid color for your postcard so people will recognize your project. BRIEFLY tell people what you are doing and note your website (ie, Google group name).
4. Two or three days before the meeting, post some signs around your neighborhood reminding them of the meeting. The day of the meeting, everyone in your group should telephone 10 to 15 of their neighbors to remind them.
5. At the meeting, have someone manning the sign-in sheet and handing out name tags. Collect names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses. Urge people to write legibly. You may want to indicate the group organizers by using that same color for your name tages.
6. Allocate 30 minutes for social time before you start your meeting.
7. Introduce yourself and your team. State your case and what you'd like to accomplish. Accept input from your group and try to integrate it into your plans. Ask for volunteers to join your working group. Be sure to set up the next meeting.