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Neighborhood Association Keeps in Touch—And Gets Results! Back

When Rob Coleman was inducted as President of the Willow Gardens Neighborhood Association (WGNA) in Austin, Texas, he knew that he had a tough job ahead of him. Despite having had regular meetings, the community of Willow Gardens was facing some real challenges.

The first was a lawsuit, resulting from a disgruntled homeowner who was upset over some of the community rules. Rob also knew that vandalism on the perimeter of the neighborhood was increasing. WGNA was about to fill several insurance claims due to damage to trees and fences caused by high winds the week before, and there was a new shopping center and industrial park being built two miles down the road. All of this combined to make for an unsettled group of neighbors!

What They Were Missing

Rob knew that a vital piece to this puzzle was missing--adequate means of communication. Attendance at meetings was sporadic. Most of the neighbors got their information about the state of affairs from a "gossip mill" that was quite active, albeit not very accurate!

But Rob knew that a spoon full of sugar helps all of that medicine slide right down. It was at this point that he contacted us at for assistance. It was Rob's goal to make this newsletter a welcome missive for each resident. He wanted to include a bit of fun and interest to make sure that every page was read, especially since it was very important for everyone to get all of this information. Rob made sure that he left some room in each issue to allow for some great filler articles. We delivered them each month with time to spare to pull each issue together. Rob finally had a finished product that met all of his goals.

The Results are In!

Rob started getting feedback on the newsletter immediately. Neighbors let him know that they appreciated receiving this important information and that they found the newsletter to be interesting and professionally done. Meeting attendance rose significantly in the few months after Rob began distributing the newsletter. A Crime Watch meeting was held and 60% of the community showed up (two years before, only twelve people out of 174 households attended). Because of greater interest, Rob found that he also had more help--seven people volunteered to help out with projects that WGNA was starting, including a Children's Activity Night and the revamped Crime Watch program.

How You Can Make It Work

Rob's example shows the power of a newsletter. It is the best communication tool for a diverse group of people with a common interest at heart. And Rob was shrewd in understanding that the newsletter had to have a neighborly feel to it, in order to make it a publication that everyone would want to read. Never underestimate the power of regular communication!


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