Organization is the most important aspect of a neighborhood’s ability to accomplish goals and initiatives. With a solid organizational structure already in place, the Industry Neighborhood Association is well on its way to meeting current and future community needs.
The first step in this process is building and maintaining relationships both inside and outside the neighborhood. Taking measures to recruit and involve more community members, businesses, and organizations is a great start. Interconnected relationships should be formed between local institutions, such as churches, educational facilities, libraries, etc. Through effective publicity, the Industry Neighborhood Association can attract these entities by asking them to contribute to specific tasks.
A regular meeting schedule establishes a reliable system for organization and problem solving within Industry. Having meetings in the same place, at the same time, on specific dates encourages residents to consistently plan around them, thus increasing both attendance and participation. Currently, the Industry Neighborhood Association does a good job of conducting regular meetings. However, higher participation rates within the community would significantly increase its ability to accomplish goals.
A strong executive board will help to set priorities for coordinating, recommending, and implementing the initiatives developed for Industry. The board consists of a president, vice-president, treasurer, and secretary. The Industry Neighborhood already has this type of organization in place, giving outside entities an established and professional impression of the Association. This board should use its power to elect/appoint various people to be responsible for certain projects, permitting their individual interests and talents. These appointed individuals should take it upon themselves to engage other residents, to create committees, and to complete certain tasks of a project. The executive board should oversee and advise throughout this process.
Setting up a work plan will allow the neighborhood to have a visual timeline, helping to create a schedule for initiative completion. This schedule should be based upon the priority rankings determined by neighborhood residents. The duration of each initiative will also be measured, in order to see which ones will take the greatest amount of time to complete. These should then be ordered so that the plan can be implemented in a timely fashion. From there, initiatives will be placed onto a timeline and guided by the executive board.
The optimal route to receiving funding is by obtaining a 501(c)(3) status. The Industry Neighborhood Association has obtained this designation as of March 2015. The 501(c)(3) will allow the Association to acquire the resources needed to fund initiatives and projects.
Mandatory dues from residents can be an especially useful fundraising tactic. As an added bonus, residents who actively pay into their neighborhood will be more likely to become engaged in the community-building process later on. Special fundraising events can be initiated within the neighborhood, including dances, sports tournaments, garage/rummage sales, or raffles. All proceeds should directly benefit the Association.
Also, writing donation-request letters to local businesses, both in the neighborhood and around Muncie, could be a great way to generate funds for the neighborhood. It would also create relationships between local businesses and the community and hopefully, bridge relationships between residents, customers, and local businesses.
Lastly, federal, state, and local grants can be administered to neighborhoods that follow required application processes.
The Industry Neighborhood Association should maintain its own financial account. A treasurer should be placed in charge of overseeing the accurate and complete financial records for the Association. All cash going in and out of the bank account must always be recorded and accounted for. Additionally, maintaining a general ledger is essential for any neighborhood association. This tool records the amounts owed to the Association (receivables) and the amounts owed by the Association (payables). A monthly financial report that includes breakdowns of total receipts and disbursements through the month should be provided by the treasurer as public record to residents. This will ensure transparency and responsibility between the Industry Neighborhood Association and its residents.
The Industry Neighborhood Association should publicize the new plan so that inactive residents have the chance to contribute to its initiatives. Effective publicity will entice a larger number of residents to become involved in what the Association is doing, and help it complete initiatives on time.
Special projects can take place prior to completing initiatives, contributing to their overall success. Neighborhood walks, cleanups, meet and greets with new residents, and other such activities can take place to effectively engage residents in finding their “voice,” as well as encouraging residents to meet their neighbors. These projects will help keep residents focused on the action plan and help them gain more interest in their neighborhood’s quality of life.