Enticing Neighbors to Join Your Block Club E-List
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 12:45 PM

In these modern times, most block clubs are anchored by an online communication system.  That's a fancy way of saying if you're a block coordinator, probably you'll want to maintain a block club email list.  In fact, you'll want to collect the email addresses of as many neighbors as you can as this will be the quickest and most convenient way to inform neighbors of block or community happenings.  But how do you get your neighbors to actually cough up their email address?  If you are well known on your block, then maybe this is not that hard.  Neighbors that already know you are likely to trust you won't use their email for nefarious or self enriching purposes and will happily give your their email.  But what if you're not well known?  Or what if new folks move in who are unfamiliar with your local fame?  In this case your email list is only as good as your doorknob flyer is engaging.

Engaging in this case means not boring.  Or not so curt that you come across as crabby.  For example, how many people do you think will bother to sign up for your e-list if this is the extent of your flyer:

"Hello.  I'm Jane Smith.  I'm the block coordinator for our street's block club.  I'm collecting emails for our block club e-list.  If you'd like to be added to the list, please send me your name, email address, house number and phone (optional).  janesmith@snoresville.net"

Even I nearly went to sleep just typing that out.  If it is your goal to collect as many emails as possible - even from the more reclusive folks on your block - then your doorknob flyer should include these things: personality, authenticity, and integrity.

Personality - if you say a little bit about who you are, how long you've lived in the neighborhood, and maybe an idea or two you have to make the block club fun, people will see you as an actual human being.  This is how trust is built, by sharing a little about yourself.  Don't go overboard, though.  If you're too revealing people will think you lack boundaries and will be uncomfortable sharing their personal email with you.  Just give them enough to spark their interest, but then leave the real getting to know each other for neighborhood events.

Autheticity - all this means is you speak with an authentic voice.  Don't come across as some fake sounding marketer who's trying to sell them neighborhood bliss and eternal friendship.  Be sincere about who you are and your interest in building a stonger neighborhood through information sharing and relationship builidng.  Also, tell them your house number and your phone, in case they want to ask you more about the block club before emailing you with their contact info.

Integrity - if you plan to send out messages to the e-list with the emails showing, say this in your flyer.  But offer to put their email in the 'blind carbon copy' field if they would prefer their email address not be flashed around to everyone.  And assure them you won't be using the e-list to promote your political views or other private interests, only topics of block and community relevance.  Anything you can say to disarm the paranoia of the more reclusive among us and assure them you have no hidden agenda will go a long way in increasing signup rates.

If you have ideas to share, please post them to the Block Club Leader Google Group: blockclubleaders@district10comopark.org

~ Janna Caywood, Block Coordinator for Avon Street North, from Arlington to Wheelock. 

District 10 Como Community Council | 1224 Lexington Pkwy N, Saint Paul, MN 55103 | 651.644.3889 | district10 [at] district10comopark.org

Site donated by: Havens Design, Matt Schmitt Photography
and UrbanPlanet Software LLC