We have experienced the value of an eNeighbors website. Nottingham Forest South has 582 homes and is about twenty years old. Enhancing our ability to communicate had a measurable impact on our community.
There were several challenges we faced as an aging community:
1)How do we revitalize our neighborhood and get more people involved?
2)How can we get more people attending our social events?
3)How do we educate our residents to gain voluntary compliance with our covenants and restrictions?
We had restraints. We realized that our number one issue was communication. Our neighborhood had published the same monthly paper newsletter for twenty years. It was expensive and boring. The Board of Directors had limited space to deliver the meaningful information. The cost of production and mailing costs were significant considering the size of our community.
We also had difficulty finding residents willing to serve. Retiring board members were encouraged to recruit a replacement. This was an effective process but it literally involved begging each year.
Finally, the straw that “broke the camels back” was when 25 kids showed up at the Easter Egg hunt. We were prepared for over 100 so the 25 children walked away with what looked like a Halloween load of goodies. Somehow we had to find a way to put community back in the community.
We had a website but so what. No one could remember the web address and no one visited the site which had grown stale with out of date information. How much were we paying that guy to manage the site? Too much for zero value.
The eNeighbors product did wonders for our community. Using their process we were able to get over 70% of our residents registered to receive eAnnouncements (email notifications from the board with links to content). This process enabled the Board of Directors to send email to the majority of the community with ease. All of a sudden we were sending weekly eAnnouncements. Communication had basically become free. The following Easter over 100 kids showed up at the annual hunt. Because of the registration process we knew exactly who was coming and bought the exact amount of supplies for the event. We were amazed that residents were filling out online registrations at 11:00 p.m. The key was reminding residents of the event three times the week before the event with a feature called bulletins which is basically instant email.
The following November we found ourselves in the enviable position of having more resident volunteers for board and committee positions than available openings. We attributed the interest to the new communication process.
The real proof of the success of the new system appeared when a hail storm rolled through the community. Our architectural committee received over 300 applications for a new roof in four months. Every one of the applications was sent using our new eNeighbors website. We gained 100% compliance.
Excuse me if this sounds like a sales pitch but if you have issues in your community and you are considering eNeighbors and are willing to commit to their process you won’t be disappointed. It took several mailings over four months to get our community registration to an acceptable level. It took some patience on our part. The fact we knew exactly who was registered and more importantly, who was not registered made the process measurable and kept the board focused.