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  • Writer's pictureEmma Lawton

How to Lead Your Community Through COVID-19

Get our free Toolkit for Community Leaders, “Leading Your Community Through COVID-19” here (takes you to google drive — just click “request access”).

It’s a challenging time if you feel responsible for a community, group, or club.

As the leader of a community, we don’t need to tell you how fundamental social connection is to our health and well-being. In these uncertain times, the most vulnerable and the most lonely are in danger of becoming completely cut-off.

Services have been disrupted, routines have disappeared or changed dramatically, and you’re most likely grappling with your own situation whilst trying to figure out how to support your members at a time when they need strong community the most.

So how to continue to offer the social lifeline that your members have come to rely on?

The key is to get creative about how to adapt your community’s services and activities, to enable members to participate from home.

3 Actions to Take Now

There are 3 actions you can take to turn this challenge into an opportunity:

  1. Take stock

If there are costs associated with running your community (e.g. Meetup fees, wages, marketing, etc.), and you rely on revenue from meetups or events to cover these costs, the virus is likely to pose massive challenges. Cut costs, consider crowdfunding, and look into specific financial help and advice for business owners or charity leaders.

And remember to look after yourself too — you’re not alone. There are many other community leaders in the same position — reach out to them on social media, and through people you know. We’re bringing them together to support one another in a WhatsApp group — find the joining link in our free Toolkit for Community Leaders.

  1. Embrace digital

Technology offers ways of delivering your services to your members without physical contact.

Even if you’re not a tech wiz, some really simple tools and networks could make all the difference when it comes to continuing to serve your community.

The biggest opportunity is to switch from delivering in-person services to virtual services. If you currently offer history walks, why not host a history talk with Q&A? If your members are missing their weekly coffee meetup, why not arrange a regular video call version? Video calling and teleconferencing tools like Zoom are great for virtual community events.

Think laterally — run anything from discussion groups to speaking events, standup comedy shows to pub quizzes, team games to book clubs. Our free Toolkit for Community Leaders contains tips and tools to help you design, promote, and deliver your activities to your members over the phone or online. We’re also offering free assistance to help you design your virtual event, and make sure it runs smoothly — so don’t worry if you haven’t used software like Zoom before.

  1. Stay in touch

Good, regular communication will really help your members as they struggle with isolation and disruption to their lives. Tell members what’s going to happen during the crisis, how your services will be changing, how you plan to communicate and where they can go for help.

If you’re stuck for what to say, our email templates might help — see the guide for more details.

What next?

The current pandemic is an opportunity for all of us to collaborate to support our communities, and strengthen them — and ourselves — in the process. If we take action together, there is a good chance that we can have a lasting positive impact on cohesion, loneliness, and social isolation. That’s why we have created a free guide and tools to help Community Leaders whose services are being disrupted by Coronavirus.

Get our free Toolkit for Community Leaders, “Leading Your Community Through COVID-19” here (takes you to google drive — just click “request access”).

The guide contains tips and advice, as well as access to the following tools:

  • Community Leaders WhatsApp Group Connect with and receive support from other leaders facing similar challenges.

  • Going Virtual Guide Helping you adapt your community services so that members can join in from home.

  • Virtual Venue A free-to-use online meeting space where Community Leaders can book slots to hold virtual events for their members, accessible over the phone or online.

  • Members Announcement Template Email Inform your members of changes and calm their fears at this difficult time.

Who are we?

We are Mel, Emma and Duncan, and together we founded More Human, a startup business to help communities flourish. We are passionate about finding methods to ease social isolation and believe that community leaders like you are integral to this.

We’re keen to help Community Leaders through this uncertain period by sharing our insights, resources and advice on how to support your members.

Please feel free to reach out to us if you’d like to chat about this or how we can help you increase the engagement levels of your community in general.

And please like this article or leave a comment — thank you!


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