Lame turnout for Saturday cleanup

Have to say that our Saturday clean up had a lame turnout.  It was about 10 of the usual suspects who come out every time one of these events happen.  What to do about the problem of free riders?  Most people want their streets free of litter, but can’t be bothered to spend an hour of their day every couple of months to get out and pitch in?  It’s a little demoralizing for those that do pitch because they are also people with busy lives. Also, Pete spent a lot of time planning the event. Makes the community spirit not so fun.  So if you guys who didn’t attend have any suggestions on how to make these events more participatory, give a comment here or to me directly and let’s see how we can get more folks involved. Thanks!

14 thoughts on “Lame turnout for Saturday cleanup

  1. Try getting confirmation of participating from a cluster of folks prior to the clean up. One may do this by asking individuals, individually to participate and letting them know they can do just their block or street and drop the trash off at a drop off point.

  2. Sorry I could not make it, I was out of town. The idea of confirming participation is a good one, and could be combined with asking the usual suspects to recruit one or two others each.

  3. I was also out of town, and the fact that it was announced a week before hand also probably didn’t help the turn out. Most people have things going on and need more than a weeks notice.

  4. I figure that at any given time some people will be out of town or unavailable. Happens to me too of course. But we have enough folks around that I know personally that care about the neighborhood and the community (and I’m sure many more still whom I don’t know yet) that still more than 10 should be able to make it.

    You might be right about the timing and announcing in advance. But we’ve had lame turnouts with more notice too.

    The one event we had great turnout was the free plant giveaway. Saw people I’d never seen before! And that was great because there were beautiful plants everywhere, and that was the point! We’ll be hopefully having another such planting in April or May. (Thanks to the ton of work Pete and Anita put in and all those who participated.)

    It also did require advance signup – which makes confirms Mari’s point.

  5. Caryn, we also need to start getting the word out earlier. I know the posting and facebook notice went up only a week before the event. Not just for this clean up but for all events we need to get some posters up, get flyers out, do the mass email and as JD said, individuals forward emails or invite others, and continue the blog and facebook postings. It seems that sometimes we get the word out too late. I know myself that typically my schedule has things for at least 2-3 weeks already booked.

  6. Sorry I didn’t know about it! Otherwise I would have been there. I also suggest posting it on the blog several times (once a couple weeks ahead and once a few days ahead), I try to read the blog regularly but sometimes forget. That way you should be able to catch more people.

  7. I work every Sat. at 11a.m. ,so if I can please have a confimration notice in advance,I can attend and hour or two before I go in. I know it sounds very lame but I’m truly sorry to have missed the event,I do love my neighborhood!

    1. No worries tracey. Work pays the bills! Neighborhood clean ups don’t 🙂 I’m not sure what you mean by confirmation notice though, we sent those out via the blog and the DunbarShaw Google Group.

  8. I think flyers would help a lot. Not everyone has a computer and not everyone checks their e-mails everyday.

    1. Thanks Charlene. Flyers might help. It’s sort of about the opportunity cost though: We’ve done flyers before and it takes a lot of man hours to go door to door, and the return is minimal-meaning in my experience after going door to door we only got a few extra people.

      But I know you are right that not everyone has a computer or checks it regularly and we do want to give all neighbors the opportunity to collaborate. This is a dilemma greater than just for the cleanup.

      How do you keep the population of folks not online involved? The idea of a block leader comes to mind again. One person in charge of getting word out to his/her block for different news. Does anyone want to volunteer?

  9. A young couple just moved in on my block. How am I to get them plugged into BACA? I’m not exactly a cake in hand welcome wagon. I think a nicely worded welcome on paper would get them online.

    What about other community-building events? In the long term, how do we get the network above a certain critical mass? How do we grow the social network?

    To me, the discussion to here tends to implicate the size of the network as the main problem.

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