As far as Nick Cipiti is concerned, it's not just the more the merrier.

More is also better, at least when it comes to having clout when the Northwest Civic Association, of which Cipiti is president, seeks to represent the large section of Columbus that stretches between Upper Arlington (to the south) and Powell (to the north), and from the Olentangy River (to the east) to the Hilliard and Dublin city limits (to the west).

"(The) NWCA is here to represent the neighbors in our district and act on their behalf," Cipiti said. "So the more members we have, the better we can gauge their concerns."

That's why, he said, the civic organization's membership committee has a goal of adding 250 new people this year.

"This is important because there is strength in numbers," Cipiti said. "There have been occasions when residents have turned up for development commission meetings or public hearings and, because of their impressive numbers, were able to clearly communicate their concerns."

The membership committee is headed by David Ditmars, who rejoined the board of trustees in June. The members of the committee are working on adding new members through a variety of approaches, he said.

"One of the ideas we're talking about is having an annual picnic, a social gathering to build a sense of community and rapport between members of the community who either own property or are renting," said Ditmars, who previously was on the board when controversial projects such as the Walmart store on Bethel Road and runway expansion at the Ohio State University Airport saw civic association membership swell to record levels.

The picnic probably would be held around the time of the annual meeting, now held in June, Ditmars said.

Local restaurants and businesses would be invited, and the event would feature speakers and topics ranging from "gardening to safety tips to Block Watch," he said.

"The goal would be to bring neighbors together, have fun, create a sense of community and let people know what NWCA does," Cipiti wrote in an email. "We haven't done anything like this in many years, but I think if we plan it well, it could be successful."

"We want to make sure that the views that we express and the decisions we make are representative of the larger people in the territory," Ditmars said.

Another approach, and one Cipiti supports, involves board members going door to door, talking about the civic association and providing residents with a brochure about the organization.

"As I understand it, the most effective way to bring in new members has been to knock on doors and explain what the NWCA does and how our activities benefit the residents of northwest Columbus," Cipiti wrote.