SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Now is the perfect time to encourage people to demonstrate compassionate care to their neighbors. 

Good neighbors doing good works leads to goodwill, which opens the door for good conversations according to David Burton, a community development specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

"An ongoing challenge seems to be the best way to motivate others to embrace the idea of neighboring," said Burton.

Burton says he believes these five simple steps will kickstart any effort to mobilize others to be good neighbors.
Step 1: Cast the Vision
"In difficult times, people often turn inward. We do not want to dismiss these needs.  However, we definitely want to help people see beyond themselves," said Burton.

So cast this vision. Share the vision over and over and over. Talk about it at every opportunity.
Step 2: Lead by Example

"To activate people to be good neighbors, we need to lead by example," said Burton.

There may be some neighbors on your block or in your building that you have not yet met. The first step is to learn their names and use their names. Then demonstrate what it means to be a good neighbor. 
Step 3: Provide Ideas and Resources

To increase your friend's or members' engagement, Burton says you must provide some ideas and tools to help them take action. These resources might include some of the neighboring classes offered by MU Extension, like Neighboring 101 or Becoming an Engaged Neighbor.

"The key is to offer ideas that can be implemented easily. Perhaps do a Front yard Friday event, donuts in the driveway, goodies in the garage, or pancakes on the porch," said Burton.
Step 4: Pull Together as Needed

"As your people connect with their neighbors, new opportunities might arise where your group or neighbors or church can step in and serve in a more significant way," said Burton.

For example, joining together to support a neighbor who is a business owner and is struggling. 

Step 5: Celebrate stories
Don't forget to invite your friends or members to share stories of being good neighbors so you can celebrate them. 

"Ultimately the goal is to love your neighbor, not collect social media likes for your effort. But sharing stories and examples can be an encouragement to others," said Burton.


"No one person can force others to take up a cause or reallocate their time," said Burton.

At times, it can be frustrating to watch people's resistance to a new effort, like neighboring. But that is just as much of the process as those few that will be early adopters of the idea notes Burton.

"It has been my observation that innovations or ideas spread when others observe the early adopters and imitate them to replicate their benefits," said Burton.

In the case of neighboring, that means finding a select group of individuals excited about the idea and inspired to act. Work with them to discover success with neighboring and then talk about it with friends. 

"With the five steps shared here and positive word-of-mouth, the idea of better neighboring in your community or church can become a movement," said Burton.

If you want to consult, discuss different ideas and options, or get involved in the planning of National Good Neighbor Day events, contact David Burton at 417-881-8909 or by email at