Building a sense of community in a Condo Association is always a challenge. Fighting apathy isn’t easy, and Owners are busy with “real lives.” Nonetheless, having a strong community is always a priority. A good way to try to build your sense of community is to hold events to bring like-minded Owners together. Not every event works for every community. Your job is to assess the types of Owners you have and what sticks. Here are some tried and true Condo Association social events.
Hosted parties are always a go-to for a Condo Association. The Association provides the food and drinks, and the Owners show up and hopefully mingle. There are a few things to keep in mind for these events. One, make sure you are actually building a community and people aren’t pulling the old “chew and screw” (that’s eat and run – get your mind out of the gutter). Second, make sure you ration the food appropriately so early arrivers dont scarf everything down. Allocating tickets per units is one way to solve this problem. Third, make sure you set a reasonable budget for each event that makes sense within your building’s finances. Some of the New York City luxury towers might serve lobster and caviar. Pizza or subs probably work for most Associations.
Cost: $$ to $$$$
Potluck parties are a bit more challenging to pull off. They are more of a test of an Association’s level of community, as they require people to actually bring something. One way to increase their success is to position them around major events – maybe the Olympics, the Super Bowl, or March Madness. This requires, of course, that you have a party room where said event can be viewed, as well. You also can consider having the Association provide refreshments while people bring the food.
Cost: Free to $
CPR/First Aid Training
CPR and first aid training is one of the most practical and beneficial Condo Association social events you can hold. In addition to the social aspect, you boost your community safety and security. You might even consider partnering with a neighboring Association for added benefit. Depending on where you live, such training may be offered at a discounted rate by your local fire department.
Cost: $$$ to $$$$
If your Association has a gym or areas to walk, you might consider trying to stand up a gym club, or a walking/running club. You don’t necessarily need to offer any gym classes, but rather try to build a community of exercise enthusiasts who work out at the same time. The same goes for walking clubs – simply have people meet at the same time every day and whoever shows up goes on the walk together. A great time to try to launch this effort is right after the new year, when everyone has a resolution to work off that extra holiday weight.
Try Lots of Things – and Don’t Give Up
Figuring out what’s going to stick is more art than science. It’s also a lot of work. Condo Association social events are often a great job for a strong social committee. Make sure that you go in with a thick skin and realize it may take a number of tries to find things that stick. Keep at it, keep trying new things, and you’ll should find some things that stick and help grow your community engagement.