Grassroots Profile – The Power of Nextdoor

Now that the election is over, are you considering engaging in political activism? Take a look at Nextdoor.

Grassroots activism can happen at any level. If you notice a problem or an issue in your area and talk to others about it, you’re actually engaging in grassroots activism already. Maybe the national debt isn’t something you feel you can do anything about, but when your school district messes up, or your city council goes rogue, you have a lot more power than you think you do.

The hardest part about getting involved in an issue is getting started. You start off full of questions: Does anyone else feel like I do? Am I the only one that thinks this is wrong, or needs to be fixed? Where do I go to find others who are interested in this issue? How can we work together to advocate for the changes we want? Where do I even start?

One tool that’s making it easier to get started is Nextdoor.com. Nextdoor is an online community bulletin board and discussion forum that connects you to others in your neighborhood and surrounding area. And the topics that you find there are about what you’d expect: lost pets, crime reports, items for sale, business recommendations and so on.

But Nextdoor is also a way to find people with similar interests and concerns. Are the drivers driving too fast through the neighborhood? Post about it, and you’ll start a discussion that might last for days. Homeowners Association regulations seem too rigid in a particular area? Start the conversation, and watch how many people want to air their views. Worried about kids walking home from school at busy intersections? Post about adding a crossing guard and you’ll have lots of responses.

Just the other day, I got word that I needed to hire an extra clerk or two to help me run the election on Election Day in my precinct. I posted the openings on Nextdoor, knowing that it would target only people close to me, and got more applicants than I could use. In just an hour or so I had the polls fully staffed, and many more contact for the county clerk to call if other polling locations in the area were understaffed or in need of more workers.

Nextdoor is a free, easy, targeted way to reach people in your neighborhood, no matter what you need to get done. You could use it to find bargains, to review businesses, to sell things, and to alert people to lost dogs. Or you could expand the way you think about grassroots activism, and utilize Nextdoor to make connections with people who agree with you on issues right where you live.

Some tips to make Nextdoor work for you:

  • Get the summary – skim through the headlines of the day’s posts via e-mail summary. You’ll know what’s going on at a glance without having to wade through a lot of notifications.
  • Engage a little – when you’re first learning how Nextdoor works, just check in on a post or two, and see how people typically respond. Leave a comment here and there, and check back for feedback.
  • Ask questions – people on Nextdoor love to give advice and tell you about their experiences. Give them that opportunity by asking what they think about things.
  • Become a resource – when elections roll around, be the person posting the information people need to vote. If an issue is a hot topic in your area, post links or images that help inform people. You’ll get the reputation as a leader in your area.
  • Encourage others to sign up – recruiting people you know to join Nextdoor will give you a base of influence already built in, and help build your credibility faster.
There are many ways to utilize Nextdoor for grassroots activism, and it’s easily one of the fastest ways to spread or learn information about happenings in your area. With a little creativity, you can expand your influence and reach where you live in a very short time. And when you’re ready to launch your next grassroots campaign, you’ll know where you can find like minds who can help you get things done.