Let’s face it- resident events can be hard. Even the most successful, well-attended event can have some sweat and a few tears behind it. But, like so many resident activities, events are crucial in the resident lifecycle. Whether a resident is meeting their neighbors for the first time or the 20th, that emotional connection during an event is sometimes the key that will unlock that renewal time and time again, not to mention the referrals to their own friends and family.
But how do we host a slam-dunk resident event in the age of COVID-19? With the current social distancing suggestions and so many states going back to “safer at home” orders, an unforgettable resident event seems almost impossible to pull off.
Keep reading for five tried-and-true resident event ideas- from the socially distant to virtual- that you can put in place TODAY to get your residents to remember why your community is the place they chose to call home.
- Namaste outside. Gyms are probably closed where you are, and with the abundance of quarantine snacks, there’s a reason there are so many memes about gaining weight during the stay at home orders. There’s good news there, though! Trainers, fitness instructors, yogis, and nutritionists are looking for side hustles. Reach out to a local or independently owned studio or gym and ask if they can do outdoor sweat sessions where residents can keep 6 feet apart from each other. Announce it on your social media pages, get those RSVP’s, and have a cooler of bottles of water ready to go for attendees. Limited on space? Try a smaller group two or three times a week. Plan to use a grassy area, an empty parking lot where people can bring yoga mats, or even an interior courtyard- heck, your residents can even participate from their balcony! No outdoor space? Ask the instructor to set up a free Zoom or Skype event and pass the login information along to your residents. Deliver a bottle of water and handwritten note to their door before the session begins!
- Jam on. Who isn’t missing concerts right now? Plan a social distancing open-air concert and line up a local musician. Acoustic guitar(s), a small amp and a mike, and you’ve got yourself a party in the middle of your parking lot or courtyard area. Step up the concert game and deliver cold drinks and snacks to your residents who come out to listen to the music on their balcony or in the outdoor space. Do you have residents who want to join in virtually? Host the concert on your community’s social media pages using Facebook Live and get all your residents to join in and invite their friends to watch!
- Learn something new. Wine and paint nights are always nice, but what about learning how to make clay earrings, chunky blankets, dream catchers, or charcuterie boards? Enter in Craft Happy Co., an interactive workshop company, seeking to “curate locally-sourced community experiences that spark curiosity and inspire connection.” Dana Pate and Kristin Dixon, co-founders of Craft Happy, wanted to connect local artists to their surrounding multifamily communities. When COVID-19 hit, Craft Happy pivoted and Craft Happy At Home was born. Virtual workshops, where craft kits are delivered directly to the resident, are hosted when you want to schedule them, and RSVPs are collected through an EventBrite link. Budget-conscious these days (who isn’t)? There’s an option for you too! “We wanted to fill that (cost) gap, and out of that, we birthed CHTV. CHTV features a monthly episode LIVE on the second Wednesday of every month and features a different artist and craft each month via Zoom broadcast. Attendees receive a shopping list upon registration so they can interact with the artist via chat/Q&A features and actually make something with them hands-on (and all their neighbors!)” says Pate. For more information about Craft Happy and Craft Happy At Home, visit CraftHappyCo.com.
- Get the buzzer ready. Trivia Night reaches a new level when it’s virtual! Encourage your residents to pick their teams and create a team name. You can either create your own trivia questions or grab some online! Not wanting to do any legwork? Hire someone to host it for you! Online trivia services like Trivia Hub will provide someone to host trivia for you and keep tabs on who’s winning. Put together a prize pack for the winning team- may be some community swag, extra quarantine snacks, or a gift card- and cheer your residents on. Is trivia not your residents’ thing? Try BINGO, virtual Jeopardy, or a multitude of online games. Check out another list here!
- Be present, even if you’re not there. As we navigate new information about COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to remind residents that you’re there for them. Maybe it’s a basket of dog treats in the office, a bag of (individually wrapped) candy on their doorstep, or a basket of snacks in the fitness center. We have the unique opportunity to care for our residents in new ways. And when this is all over, we’ll be even more grateful for the resident visits, hugs, and high-fives.