6 activities that can foster a vibrant, responsive and healthy community association
A community with spirit is a community that takes pride in itself. Like safe neighborhoods, spirited communities attract like-minded residents and generally have higher resale values. The emotional investment residents make in the community will also set it apart from others and make it more attractive to potential buyers.
So what can you do to build a vibrant, responsive and healthy community association? How can you create harmony between all members of the community? What can you do to actively encourage residents to participate in programs that create and enhance the feeling of community?
Remember Most Residents Want to Be Involved
While you may feel like residents don't want to be involved in the association, the truth may just be that they're not sure how to get involved or if they're input is desired. That's why it's important for you to actively seek the opinions and input of residents.
Activities You Can Try
When you combine feedback with enjoyable programs that allow residents to get to know you and each other, you make residents feel like they matter, establish trust and open a direct line of communication that will improve the overall value and performance of your association.
Here are just a few activities you can try in your community:
1. Develop an Neighborhood Assistance Program
We all fall on hard times or occasionally need a helping hand. Who better to reach out to during times like these than to neighbors? A strong community takes care of its members.
Ask for volunteers who would be willing to drive their neighbors to medical appointments or the airport. Organize meals for families dealing with an illness or death. Establish a loaner program where people can borrow medical equipment like crutches and canes, or even just high chairs and cribs or toys for grandparents with small grandchildren visiting.
2. Participate in Charity and School Programs
People's level of dedication to their community really shines when they're able to give back. When you offer ways to support local charities and schools, you give people an opportunity to do something that really makes a difference. Nothing creates a sense of harmony and gratitude like giving to others.
For example, you can hold a clothing drive and ask residents to donate their extra items to the less fortunate. Volunteers can collect and distribute the items to charities throughout the community.
It's no secret that many schools across the country struggle to keep classrooms fully stocked with the supplies they need. You can also ask residents to donate notebooks, pens and pencils, craft supplies and more to local schools in need.
The key to success is discovering what your community actually needs and asking residents to share their time, talent or financial resources as individuals or groups to change it for the better.
Planning, organizing and executing a drive will give residents the opportunity to learn about one another while doing something that benefits the entire community.
3. Start a Community Beautification Project
Are there gardeners, craftsmen, artists or other residents with special talents? Enlist their help in making your community a more beautiful place to live.
If you have walking trails or ponds in a community park, have residents build and install benches along the path for everyone to enjoy. You can even hold a dedication ceremony to remember especially important and active members of the association and install plaques on the benches as a token of the community's remembrance.
Whether you choose to paint wall murals or hang pictures in community centers, you can ask local artists to donate their talent to create images that reflect the unique flavor of your community.
If there are members of the community who would like to enjoy flowers but don't have the ability to plant a garden, ask the green thumbs in your community to help out.
4. Promote Resident-Led Events and Recognize Achievements
Create a monthly newsletter or print a monthly magazine that highlights all of the goings-on in the community that residents can join. While you should certainly include major activities planned by the association, also leave room for residents to start and find their own niches.
If a local group of canasta players is looking for another member to join their Thursday night game, let them advertise the open slot. If someone's willing to give sewing, painting or other lessons, post their contact and availability information. If residents want to lead an exercise group, encourage residents to join their neighbors.
If your community is home to many children, you can even use your newsletter or magazine to highlight their achievements as individuals or a group.
5. Sponsor a Seminar
There are a variety of educational, health and wellness incentives you can support within your community. Host a blood drive or a blood pressure and cholesterol screening. Offer free juice and snacks or even a free movie ticket for participation. Educate parents and grandparents on important issues like bicycle and pool safety or CPR and medical responses.
6. Other Ideas
Ultimately, the activities you choose to coordinate or support within your community should be unique to residents' interests and the goals of your association. Other ideas include:
- Assisting with monthly block parties or potlucks that let new residents meet their neighbors; designate “block heads” who will coordinate the theme and schedule
- Conducting resident surveys for community service and other ideas; this is a great way to get input from your residents in all kinds of decisions. Use your website, snail mail, email or go door to door.
- Celebrating national holidays like Arbor Day or Independence Day; source food, games and any special items from local businesses and residents.
- Printing and selling community t-shirts; this will let members show off their community spirit and, if sold for $5 or $10, can be an excellent source of revenue to support any of these initiatives. Be sure to come up with a fun logo and motto!
Publish photos of events; show residents who aren't involved exactly what kind of fun they're missing! Showcase them on your website and in your newsletter or magazine.
How does your association build community spirit? What activities would you add to this list? What other issues does your association face when trying to get residents involved?