“Members come for the programming but stay for the people.” We may not know who said it, but we know it’s true! Engaging your members and encouraging connection with one another is the key to building community and retaining members.
The best way to encourage member to member connection is getting together in person. You don’t have to wait until the holidays to do something fun and social; bring your members together with less conventional group events. Supplement your regularly scheduled programming with competitions, social gatherings, or just doing some good in the neighborhood.
Does this sound like more work? Other community members can help! You may be surprised to learn who else in the group will volunteer to help get people together and take some of the organizational burden off your plate! You can use your digital community get feedback on ideas or seek assistance.
Try organizing a social event for a change of pace. Don’t overthink it; these can be as informal as an after-work happy hour, picnic in the park, fun run or BBQ. There are so many reasons to be social! Community anniversaries, birthdays, new members, babies, etc. Project 13 Gyms in San Francisco brings members together around their monthly happy hour and gym anniversary.
Attend related events together
Often there are local events that are relevant to your community. Imagine a race for a run club, or a book signing for a book club. Go as a group! These excursions further your mission and help build social connections.
Support other groups
Does your community partner with other organizations? Promote them! Members in your group can organize a few others to attend together.
Do some good in the neighborhood! Whether it’s volunteering your time or seeking donations for a charity, use the power of your community to help others. Volunteering at a local soup kitchen, a park clean up or a school visit can help your community give back and connect your members along the way.
Your community doesn’t have to end with your regular activity. Bring your community together in more ways and see the benefits of your members feeling more closely connected.