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27 Ways to Benefit from Neighborhood Association Participation

A lady asked Dr. [Benjamin] Franklin, Well Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy – A republic, replied the Doctor, if you can keep it.” [See below for source note.]

You don't need to own property in Portland or provide 3 forms of ID to belong to the Mt Tabor Neighborhood Association (MTNA). And, you can even give a drink of water to someone who is standing in line to drop off an election ballot. Hurrah! Oregon is still a republic, for now at least. Please don't assume other people will keep it one. (Click on the About (and then Who We Are) tab, above, to find out if you are a MTNA member already.)

We need all generations to join our neighborhood associations, from the Greatest to the Alpha: Intellectually curious neighbors, neighbors with diplomatic skills or political ambitions, neighbors with tech skills, organizational skills, or people skills, introverts and extroverts alike. Each one of you is valuable to your neighborhood association.

I started a list of Neighborhood Association Membership Benefits, whether you are a Board Member or simply attend monthly meetings (Zoom, so in your pjs even). Here's my list so far. I’m sure you can think of others:

  1. Build your resume and earn your public service credentials

  2. Be a good role model for your children, or for your parents.

  3. Make friends and meet your neighbors

  4. Learn things: we have a lot of talent in the neighborhood

  5. Interact with elected government officials

  6. Represent the neighborhood on city committees, task forces, ad hoc groups, etc.

  7. Collaborate with other neighborhood association and nonprofit colleagues.

  8. Build a network of local contacts who you know personally not just online

  9. Learn effective advocacy skills

  10. Learn community organizing skills

  11. Learn how government, especially local government, works (or doesn’t)

  12. Learn local government budgeting law

  13. Learn how laws are made

  14. Become a leader or work alongside good and bad leaders (you can learn a lot from the latter)

  15. Learn how to say no and set boundaries (a Most Important lesson to learn!)

  16. Learn how to manage projects

  17. Learn how to delegate tasks to other people

  18. Practice your public speaking skills

  19. Practice your “speaking truth to power” skills

  20. Learn how (and how not) to prepare an Agenda and run a Meeting

  21. Learn how to manage and write content for public service websites

  22. Hone your diplomatic skills

  23. Hone your “staying cool under pressure” skills

  24. Learn how organizations' charters, bylaws, policies, and practices govern what an organization can and cannot do.

  25. Teach and learn CMS (content management system) skills

  26. Practice counting to 10 (or backwards from 285) when under pressure or bored out of your mind

  27. Last but not least: Give a much needed break to your neighbors who started volunteering on your behalf before they had children and who now have grandchildren.

Franklin quotation source: Library of Congress blog post:

This blog post was published on 4/19/22 (by Laura).


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