As we continue to navigate the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we're adjusting to the new normal of staying home and maintaining a social distance to help keep communities safe. During this time, it’s more important than ever that our communities stay connected. Thankfully, we live in an age of technology that offers more ways to connect than ever before!
This provides community leaders with a unique opportunity to find creative solutions to keep members engaged virtually. To help you with this, we’ve included some suggestions below for remote activities members can participate in, so their calendars stay full while remaining a safe distance apart.
Members that enjoy word/card games, trivia, and Bingo, may enjoy a virtual game night! You can do so over a live video call or use software designed to play a specific game online. A simple Google search will bring up quite a few free and paid options for whichever game you'd like to play.
Once you've selected the games you'd like to play, add them to your community's social calendar for members to RSVP to join!
For the artists in your community, invite them to participate in a weekly drawing/painting challenge. You can send out a blast email with the challenge, then add a "Photo Gallery" page for participants to upload their work. On this page, be sure to enable the setting to allow members to upload their photos to the page. This way, they can showcase their artwork for the rest of the community to see!
Virtual watch party
Even with social distancing in place, you don't have to forfeit your weekly watch parties! Instead, you can use one of the many options available to make them virtual.
The popular streaming service Netflix recently launched "Netflix Party" to allow for virtual group viewings of a television show or movie. This way, members can watch the show together and chat within the group simultaneously. If you're not subscribed to Netflix, there are various other platforms offering a similar experience!
If you don't already have one in place, now is a great time to start a book club. With individuals having more time on their hands, they're more likely to dedicate some of that time to sitting down and reading a book. This is a great way to connect with fellow members and promote engaging conversations!
We recommend using the "Surveys" feature on your website to decide on the book to read for that week/month. Then, host discussions of the book on a "Forum" page at a designated date and time.
While we're not able to gather at each others' homes during this time, you can still host a dinner party with your friends and neighbors! Ask participants to make their favorite dishes and connect virtually through an audio/video platform, like Zoom, Google Hangouts, or FaceTime. From there, you can all cook and eat "together" while enjoying the engaging conversations that come with having a dinner party.
Staying home doesn't have to be boring; jazz it up by hosting weekly themed days. Pick a day out of the week for members to dress up according to a particular theme. This can include their favorite sports team, a celebrity or movie character, a particular decade, wacky hair/wig day, beach day, etc. The point is to encourage members to be creative!
Once you've selected the theme days, schedule them on your community's calendar, and encourage members to post photos of their outfits on a "Photo Gallery" page or a “Forum” page for other members to enjoy.
For the members that enjoy mind-stimulating puzzles, you can upload crossword puzzles, word searches, and Sudokus for them to print out and complete. We recommend creating a "Documents" page to upload the puzzles, then grouping this page into a folder, like in the screenshot below. This way, members can easily find and access them from your website!
During this uncertain time, it's necessary to maintain a strong sense of community and stay connected. Doing so will not only help boost members' spirits but can also build a deeper sense of camaraderie and support within the community.
We hope you implement some (if not all) of the suggestions above to continue to create points of connection with your members. Our thoughts are with you and your communities, and we hope you are all staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.