Fostering community through social events
Whether your community is new or established, there are benefits to both the community and its members to hosting social events and gatherings regularly. Social events provide communities with ample opportunities for building camaraderie and can be geared towards adults, children, or families as a whole.
While hosting a social event requires a bit of planning, the rewards are numerous, and there are some built-in tools on your website that will make doing this easier as well. Keep reading as we delve deeper into the benefits of hosting social events and provide tips for how to plan for them!
Benefits of hosting social events
Gathering as a community to promote member involvement results in a sense of camaraderie between members and helps create a thriving community. Social events encourage members to become involved in the community and can help with fostering friendships. Some of my fondest memories, as both a child and an adult, have been made when gathered with my neighbors! I know many people who share this same sentiment, which is all the more reason to have regularly scheduled social events on your community’s calendar.
If your community doesn’t have an organized owners association (e.g. HOA or POA), then you can also use these events as a time to raise money for special projects or community improvements. Even if you do have an organization in place, you could host these events as a fundraising opportunity for projects not covered by the year’s budget.
Types of events to hold
Community events can be hosted throughout the year, which allows you to plan for a wide variety of events. To help give you an idea of the types of events your community could host, we've listed a few popular options below:
- Seasonal festivals (e.g. Fall festival)
- Block parties
- Intramural sports games
- Community garage sales
- Cooking competitions (e.g. Chili cook-off)
- Book clubs
- Fun runs
- Swap meets
To gain a better idea of the types of events your members would be interested in, we recommend creating a survey on your website for your members to fill out and submit. This will help give you a better idea of what events to plan for throughout the year.
Hosting a successful social event for your community will require some planning ahead of time. Therefore, we recommend gathering a group of volunteers to help with planning and organizing the events, as well as spreading the word to other members. This is when a social committee or social club would come in handy! If your community doesn’t already have one of these formed, this would be a great opportunity to do this, so they can begin planning for the various events your community will be hosting during the year.
Once you have your group of volunteers together, they can work on deciding the details of the event, like the location, date, and time. When deciding the details, also take into account if an event will require members to RSVP ahead of time and if you’ll need additional volunteers to help run the event.
After these details have been established, you can add these events to the calendar on your website. When creating the event, you can add the details, as well as enable RSVPing, and add any additional notes. We’ve provided an example of this below:
If you find you’ll need volunteers to help with an event, we recommend creating a custom form on your website for members to fill out and submit to a designated recipient. An example of what this form could look like is provided below:
Share the event
As your events approach, we encourage you to take advantage of the different communication features on your website, like blast emailing and text messaging to spread the word to your members.
Another way you can remind members of these events is to add upcoming events on your homepage, so they’re visible to your members as soon as they log on to your website. Additionally, if you have your What’s Happening emails set to go out, members will be reminded of upcoming events through those emails as well.
With the various built-in tools on your website and some planning, you’ll be well on your way to hosting successful community social events. Taking the time to organize and host these events will not be wasted time when your community reaps the rewards of fostering a thriving community built on the camaraderie between your members.