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Neighborhood Associations 101:. Neighborhood Leadership Training . What is a “Neighborhood Association?”. The Office of Community Affairs Definition:

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neighborhood associations 101

Neighborhood Associations 101:

Neighborhood Leadership Training

what is a neighborhood association
What is a “Neighborhood Association?”

The Office of Community Affairs Definition:

  • A neighborhood association is a voluntary organization of residents who work together to improve and maintain the quality of life in its neighborhood. Associations can form out of concern over a particular issue or as a means of enhancing a "sense of community."

Neighborhood Association members may include, but are not limited to residents, local business owners, faith-based institutions, schools and other organizations located within and who have a vested interest in the area.

are neighborhood associations and homeowner s associations are the same thing no
Are “Neighborhood Associations” and “Homeowner’s Associations” are the same thing?...NO!

Neighborhood Association

Homeowner’s Association

Membership is mandatory for all property owners within the boundaries of the development.

Members are usually charged mandatory dues.

Homeowners associations have the legal authority to enact and enforce maintenance and design standards in addition to those established by City ordinance.

Homeowner’s Associations are corporations with formal bylaws, which have a governing board that is elected annually. 

  • Membership is open to all residents in a particular neighborhood, but participation is optional; boundaries are established by the association.
  • Dues are voluntary.
  • There is no legal authority to enact or enforce maintenance or design requirements beyond those established by City ordinances.
  • To ensure a visibly democratic process, the organization establishes formal or informal bylaws to provide for at least one general membership meeting per year and to require an annual election of officers.
if we are a homeowners association that automatically makes us a neighborhood association no
If we are a “Homeowners’ Association” that “automatically” makes us a “Neighborhood Association...NO!
  • In order for your Neighborhood Association or Homeowner’s Association to be recognizedby the City of Memphis, you must register with the Office of Community Affairs.
the importance of neighborhood associations
The Importance of Neighborhood Associations

Neighborhood Associations are vital to the community.

  • They help channel information that is viable and necessary to help deter criminal activity, clean-up blighted areas and empower citizens to speak as “one voice” when addressing concerns to city government.
  • Everything a Neighborhood Association does together strengthens your organization and reinforces the quality of life for the community as a whole.
how to create a strong neighborhood association
How to create a STRONG Neighborhood Association

The BEST Neighborhood Associations are not just “created”, they are BUILT through three key elements:




structure neighborhood association board of directors
Structure:Neighborhood Association Board of Directors

An official Neighborhood Association must have a Board of Directors. These annually elected officers will handle the business of the neighborhood association through the upcoming year.

Any resident who meets the criteria as set forth in the associations by-laws is a prospective candidate for the Board of Directors. It is very important for an association to remain inclusive and open-minded.

structure positions on the board of directors
Structure:Positions on the Board of Directors


The President of the neighborhood association serves as the chief executive of the association. The President serves at the will of the board of directors and members. A few of the President’s responsibilities are:

  • The President presides at all meetings.
  • Leads orderly discussions in a tactful and polite manner.
  • Appoints chairman of all committees. (the president should not serve as a committee chairman).
  • Has the authority to authorize specific actions in promoting the board’s policies.
structure positions on the board of directors1
Structure:Positions on the Board of Directors


The Vice-President of the association is responsible for preforming the duties of the president in the absence of the president. Examples of those duties might be:

  • Coordinate committees and report status to the board.
  • Assume duties as defined by the Bylaws or assigned by the president or board.
structure positions on the board of directors2
Structure:Positions on the Board of Directors


The Secretary is responsible for maintaining the records of the association, including preparing the notices for all meetings, and authenticating the records of the association.

  • Preparing written minutes for the board and membership.
  • Receiving and handling all correspondence addressed to the association/organization.
  • Keeping accurate lists of members’ names, addresses and contact information.
structure positions on the board of directors3
Structure:Positions on the Board of Directors


The treasurer is the custodian of the Association’s funds and financial records.

  • Coordinating the development of the proposed annual budget for the association.
  • Keep an accurate account of all revenues and expenditures.
  • Signs or co-signs all checks and vouchers.
  • Collects all dues and money.
  • Presents a written report each month to the board and members of the financial distributions and on account balances.
structure positions on the board of directors4
Structure:Positions on the Board of Directors


Committees play an important and vital role in associations. Each Neighborhood Association will need to establish unique committees to address issues in their neighborhoods.

Standing committees continue from year to year and special committees are appointed or elected for special assignments.

Examples of standing committees:

  • Welcoming committee
  • Beautification committee
  • Safety committee
  • Special Events committee
the 7 major neighborhood association board responsibilities
The 7 Major Neighborhood Association Board Responsibilities
  • Planning for the organization.
  • Organizing the association.
  • Directing and organizing membership efforts.
  • Evaluating if the work of the association is effective.
  • Neighborhood communication.
  • Resource development.
  • Leadership and membership development.
creating a formal structure
Creating a Formal Structure

Creating a formal structure for your neighborhood association should include the following:

  • Creating an organization name, business email account, and mailing address that can transfer with leadership changes.
  • Writing Bylaws.
  • Open meetings and records.
  • Detailed accounting procedures.
  • Tax I.D number (needed to open bank accounts).
  • Registering with the Office of Community Affairs.
planning development developing a work plan for your neighborhood association
Planning & Development:Developing a Work Plan for your Neighborhood Association

A work plans allows neighborhood associations to develop goals for the group.

Work plans should be developed for individual projects to help the group(s) stay focused and on target. Achieving goals will be easier if the association takes time to outline goals and objectives and establish a concise plan to accomplish them.

Sample questions to answer when developing a work plan:

  • What is the purpose of the project?
  • What resources will be required to accomplish this project?
  • How much time will be needed?
  • Who will be involved?
  • Previous “Best practices”
planning development evaluating the direction and purpose of the association
Planning & Development:Evaluating the Direction and Purpose of the Association
  • Regularly review and assess the purpose of the neighborhood association and its priorities.
  • Develop realistic plans and activities for the entire group.
  • Make sure the leadership of the board is a reflection of the neighborhood.
  • Foster activities and events that enhance the community and interaction between residents.
  • Recognize and celebrate successes at every occasion.
neighborhood association hard work
Neighborhood Association Hard Work

Building a strong neighborhood association is HARD WORK!

Just remember, every organization experiences growing pains. Don’t become discouraged if the association seems to struggle.

All organizations should have an organized process to resolve conflicts, issues and problems.

Credibility and success are built by one accomplishment at a time!

we are here to help
We Are Here to Help!

The Office of Community Affairs is available to help your organization. Our staff is available to address inquiries regarding community issues, problems, or specific requests from citizens and neighborhood leaders.

Please feel free to contact our office at

(901) 636-6507.