Last updated: January 30, 2023
The sense of belonging to a community is a very basic human desire that increases happiness.
And the best possible way to know your community is to be the person that connects all of them.
Community members will know you as someone who makes things happen and brings people together.
In this post, you’ll learn the best type of community event ideas and how to host them.
Why you should listen to me: I moved to New York City and knew no one. I hosted regular parties that allowed me to meet tons of super interesting people. This helped me to build a network and create an amazing social life. New York Magazine once called me a host of “culturally significant” parties.
7 Community Event Ideas
Here are the seven best ideas for your community event.
1. Book Swap
Host a book swap party and invite new and old friends who enjoy reading.
Ask your attendees to bring books to exchange and set up tables for people to place their books on.
Provide index cards and markers for attendees to write their names on and place them near their books.
The goal here is for people to get rid of books, and for other people to get new books that they’ll enjoy.
2. Clothing Swap
A clothing swap is a party where everyone brings their “old” clothes to trade for “new” clothes.
Throwing away the stuff you don’t wear always feels bad. But a clothing swap allows your guests to exchange their unused items. They’ll also get to update their closet.
It is fun!
You should host a clothing swap for two reasons:
- You and your friends have clothes to donate
- You and your friends want new clothes
Trust me, people LOVE clothing swaps. It is an easy-ish free event that you can host.
A clothing swap is also one of the best ways to fight waste created by fast-changing fashion trends. Clothing swaps are kind to your wallet, too.
Make sure attendees send their clothes through the washer and dryer beforehand. You should provide full-length mirrors and a private changing room.
With the leftover clothes people do not want, you can take them all to a clothing drive or thrift store to upcycle.
3. Cocktail Party
Hosting your own cocktail party is the best way to bring a lot of great people together.
You should always host your cocktail party in your own house. Pick a night that is Monday-Wednesday because people are less likely to have other commitments.
The best time is 7-9 pm, so people can still go home at a reasonable hour.
Invite your core group of friends first. Then invite all of the people who you enjoy seeing, but don’t get a chance to spend time with. Shoot for 30 invites, because you’ll want 15 people to show up.
At the party, do these four things:
- Use name tags with first names only
- Facilitate three quick icebreakers
- Take a group photo
- End the party on time
Follow those guidelines, and you’ll have a gathering better than most!
4. Nonprofit Fundraiser
Hosting a nonprofit fundraiser is a great way to help a cause you and your community are passionate about.
Here are steps to follow when planning and hosting a fundraiser:
- Set a fundraising goal: Decide how much money you intend to raise and for what cause.
- Choose a location: Choose a site that is convenient and has enough room for the number of visitors you anticipate. Probably your backyard or a nearby park.
- Choose a time and date: Monday-Wednesday afternoons usually work best. Plan at least three weeks in advance.
- Plan the occasion: Decide the style of your event. Some ideas are a formal gala, an auction, a bake sale, or a 5K race.
- Spread the word: Invite ALL of your friends and community members. Contact local media sources and request that they also publicize the event.
- Find potential donors: Companies and people who have previously given to local organizations are a good place to start.
- Day of the occasion: Party time! Make it fun and don’t forget to enjoy yourself.
- Follow-up with funders and attendees: Send attendees and contributors thank-you messages and let them know how their contributions will be used.
This event is definitely harder than the other ones. But it can also be more rewarding! Plus you’ll get to connect with new community members over the same cause.
5. Happy Hour
Odds are that your happy hour will be held in a bar, restaurant, office space, or another non-home environment.
For now, follow these key steps to plan and host a great happy hour:
- Build your guest list
- Collect RSVPs using 1-to-1 invitations
- Write a compelling event description
- Send a series of three reminder messages
All of your guests will get to socialize and create new connections. The next day, you’ll receive compliments for your excellent hospitality.
Everyone will ask, “When is the next happy hour? That last one was fantastic!”
6. Meet the Neighbors
Do you live in a neighborhood or apartment building and wish you knew more of your neighbors?
Invite everyone to a party by printing out friendly family flyers. Then put them in everyone’s mailbox in your neighborhood.
One of my friends did this right after they moved to a new house. They made LOTS of new friends in their neighborhood. It made moving much easier.
7. Family Fitness Classes
Hosting a family fitness class is a fun and rewarding way to promote healthy living and build community.
You won’t need fitness gear! All you need is an open area like a field or a garage.
Here are steps to follow when planning and hosting a family fitness class:
- Plan the exercise class: Have something for all ages. You don’t need to be a fitness instructor to do this. Decide on the type of exercises that will be included, and with different options of difficulty. Plan the details, such as warm-up exercises, cool-down exercises, and stretches.
- Choose a location: This could be a park, community center, school, or any other outdoor or indoor location that is appropriate.
- Select a date and time: I recommend late afternoon on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. Have the class for one hour or less, and then some structured socializing after.
- Spread the word: Tell all of the neighbors that you know, and ask them to bring their friends and family.
- Follow up with attendees: Say thank you to attendees and ask for feedback on the class.
- Evaluate the class: How did the class go? Use this feedback to plan future fitness classes.
Hosting a family fitness class takes time and effort. However, it is a great way to promote healthy living and bring the community together.
Being the one who brings everyone together is the best way to get to know your community.
You’ll become well-known among the locals as a person who makes things happen and connects people.
Now it’s your turn to host an event! Your community and friends will love it and ask you to host more. The hardest part of hosting an event is starting.
Hi! Nick Gray here. In my book The 2-Hour Cocktail Party, I offer practical advice on how to throw a great party for any occasion. I wrote this book to help anybody trying to make new friends and build stronger relationships.
I can help you host this event. Email me the event dates and I will hold you accountable. I’ll always give you additional advice and answer any of your questions.