How to set up Hand Delivery of Neighborhood Newsletters - by Alice Roe, Blenman Elm Neighborhood (Map)
Background: We started hand delivering the Blenman Elm Neighborhood Association Newsletter because the mailing lists were not reaching all residents in the neighborhood. Subsequently we found that neighbors actually enjoy walking the streets and placing the newsletters on neighbors’ doorsteps. Because we hand deliver, we usually do two newsletters a year, Fall and Spring. (Summer is just too hot to ask people to volunteer this way).
Organization is key:
1. Use a parcel map to create “Routes.” We began by taking our EW streets in half mile segments. We have since tinkered with some routes to make them less burdensome and more compact. The City of Tucson’s Property Research Online service is quite helpful in establishing and listing addresses for routes. See Advance Search – address range and find parcel on a map.
2. Use mailing addresses to develop the “count” or number of newsletters needed for each route. The number of newsletters for an individual route in Blenman Elm varies between 40 and 140 max. Consider the amount of time to walk the route. Ideally you want to make the route able to be accomplished in 45 minutes to 1 hour.
3. Create a set of directions for volunteers, setting out the time frame for the newsletters to be delivered. Emphasize that newsletters may not be placed in mailboxes; the mail carrier will throw away any hand delivered newsletter he/she finds in a mail box. And always say Thank You. Give a contact number if someone has questions, not enough or too many newsletters etc.
4. Recruit your volunteers. Prime suspects are people who have supported the neighborhood association in the past, informal block captains, people who have expressed interest in doing “something,” people who walk regularly. I try to place new volunteers in a route not far from where they live. Respect your potential volunteer’s “not this time.” To make it easier for volunteers to say “yes,” I make sure that we have two weekends and the week between to get newsletters out.
I keep a sign up sheet each time so I know which routes need to be covered.
5. Count out the newsletters for each route. I have an Excel spreadsheet that I use and just tell it to print. This gives me a page per route with the number of newsletters needed. If I am running the copy machine, as we used to do at DNR, I let the copy machine do my counting.
6. Package the Route’s counted newsletters, cover sheet (so you know which route), map with route highlighted, and directions.
7. Sometimes we have our volunteers pick up their packet. Most times I drop the packet on the volunteer’s doorstep in time for the delivery period.
8. In addition we mail out first class to a “Comp List.” These are the schools and churches in our area and also a few residences that are hard to get to. There are a couple of out the neighborhood owners who have requested to get the newsletter (and paid $10 dues relatively recently).
9. Keep records. Know who volunteered and their contact info and which route for the next time. Keep your route maps as “masters” so you can easily copy them the next time. Keep the route counts, which I keep in the Excel spreadsheet so you can easily use them the next time. If a volunteer reports that something has changed (more addresses, new building, more vacant places) make a note for the next time.
Instructions for Hand Delivery of Blenman Elm NA Newsletters
Goal: Deliver a newsletter to every residence within our boundaries, rentals and small apartments included.
Newsletters can be delivered anytime between now and Sunday November 3.
Your packet contains newsletters for the blocks of the streets on your list. Please deliver newsletters to both residences and businesses.
Conventions (if I did not include a map for your route):
1. East/West streets are divided into 1/2 mile increments at Tucson Blvd.
2. North/south streets: These are assigned by blocks to the east west streets. The east/west street picks up the north/south block immediately to the south.
If you have any question about whether a residence is assigned to the north/south street or east/west street, check the house number. Only deliver to your assigned blocks of your assigned streets as the newsletters have been counted out accordingly.
3. Businesses: We are delivering to businesses.
Please place the newsletter by the door, on the door step, partially under the door mat, someplace where it will not blow away. Newsletters placed visibly on the door are just clue to everybody around that the resident may not be home, and we do not want to encourage burglars.
DO NOT PLACE NEWSLETTERS IN A MAILBOX. This is very important as the mailman will destroy the newsletter and charge us. We had one warning several years ago, which means that the next time we get fined. We do not wish to go to the effort of hand delivering and have the postman throw it out and the resident not receive the newsletter.
Thanks for your help. Getting information out to our neighbors in a timely fashion is very important.