You can social distance and still forge community

Client Highlights

January 11, 2022

7 Easiest Social Distancing-Friendly Community Events

As a community or nonprofit event organizer, you’re aware of all the types of virtual events available to your organization, from livestreamed concerts to remote auctions and more. However, the pandemic conditions in your area might allow for some modified in-person events. Because of this, you may be interested in exploring your options for socially-distanced events that are safe and engaging.

Along with enforcing masking and hand-washing guidelines, the CDC recommends that when hosting a gathering of people from different households, organizations should remind attendees to remain six feet apart from those who aren’t in their household.

Plus, indoor venues pose a greater risk than outdoor gatherings. This means that you’ll likely want to focus your event planning efforts on creating an event that takes place mostly outdoors.

We’ve compiled the top seven ideas for events that adhere to these guidelines, keep staff members, volunteers, and attendees safe, and help raise support for your organization or cause:

  1. Festival
  2. Concert
  3. Walk-a-thon
  4. Color run
  5. Art class
  6. Drive-in movie
  7. Craft fair

Most of these event ideas require a streamlined way to promote your experience and sell tickets. Investigate your options for a robust ticketing platform to help manage these tasks smoothly.

Also, if you’re working with a school, nonprofit, or other fundraising organization, many of these event ideas can easily include fundraising aspects. We’ll intersperse this article with fundraising tips if you’re seeking to raise money for a worthy cause during your socially distanced event.

1. Festivals

Do you have a large, open field somewhere in your community? Or maybe a bustling downtown square with plenty of space? If so, you could be in a great position to host a festival!

There’s no shortage of ideas to choose from when it comes to picking a festival theme.  Depending on your organization’s interests or the time of year, you can host a cultural festival, fall festival, or a carnival. You can host a wacky event or a festival specific to your hometown. Draw inspirations from events like the Atlanta Grilled Cheese Festival or the Twins Days Festival held in Twinsburg, Ohio.

A festival can bring the community together in a safe, socially distanced environment. Encourage attendees to maintain social distancing, wear masks, wash their hands frequently, and stay home if they feel ill. These guidelines will help mitigate risk throughout the event.

Remember to invest in festival ticketing software to help streamline the ticketing process so that your festival entrance doesn’t experience a crowd build-up. This will help promote social distancing and keep people moving so that everyone stays safe.

Pro tip: If you’d like to turn your festival into a fundraising opportunity, you’ll need a way to promote your fundraising page and collect donations. Check out Double the Donation’s guide to online donation tools to find the right platform for your organization. These tools range from platforms that help create online donation pages to peer-to-peer fundraising software.

2. Concerts

One of the most longed-for experiences during 2020 was having the ability to go to a concert. You can bring the music back to your audience members in a safe environment by hosting a socially distanced concert.

Invite one or many musicians to play at your concert. Depending on your budget, these might be locally, nationally, or internationally-known performers.

You might even decide to take your concert a step further and host a mini, one-day music festival. Invite food trucks to sell concessions and keep the music going all day long on multiple stages.

Promote social distancing by hosting the concert or music festival in an outdoor arena or stadium. Sell tickets in pods by household so that only members of the same household sit together. Also, ensure the distance between pods is at least six feet to adhere to CDC recommendations.

Pro tip: To open your concert to a wider audience, consider livestreaming it. This can open your event to those who aren’t comfortable attending in person or who live further away. Use your Facebook or YouTube pages to host the livestream.

3. Walk-a-thons

A walk-a-thon is a great event idea if you’re hoping to raise some money for your community organization or a charitable cause.

Here’s how these events work:

  1. Participants gather pledges from their family members and friends that correspond to a certain distance walked.
  2. Your organization collects the pledged donations after participants finish the walk-a-thon.

According to 99Pledges’ article on walk-a-thons, these are effective community events because they engage multiple groups of people, from participants to event organizers and the supporters who pledge donations. Also, these fundraisers engage people of all ages and are especially good for school groups, student clubs, and other children’s organizations.

Pro tip: Since the participants themselves are the ones who will conduct the bulk of the fundraising, equip them with the proper tools and strategies to reach their fundraising goals. Be sure to choose a fundraising software that allows you to automatically create a fundraising page for each participant. Then, remind participants to continually share their pages ahead of the event to gather a wide range of pledges.

4. Color runs

Color runs are becoming increasingly popular as a fun alternative to a typical 5K race. In a color run, participants are doused in different colors of powder at regular intervals throughout the race. Encourage participants to wear white shirts to the event — by the end of the race, their shirts will be multi-colored masterpieces!

To promote social distancing, stagger your race start times to ensure participants don’t get bunched up at the starting line.

A color run is an especially fun event idea for a younger audience. For instance, if you’re looking for school fundraising ideas, invite your students and their families to get involved in the run, along with the community at large.

Pro tip: Offer sunglasses to your participants so they don’t get any powder in their eyes while they’re running. You can partner with a merchandising company to create branded sunglasses with your organization’s logo or the event name to turn them into a promotional tool.

5. Art classes

Find out who the budding artists or hidden Picassos are in your community by hosting an art class.

Ask a locally-known artist to host the class. The class can be focused on pottery, drawing, painting, sculpture, or any other medium. Make the event social-distancing friendly by ensuring participants are spaced out throughout the room, or by hosting the event outside.

Add a unique element to the event by making it a paint-and-sip, where participants can sample local wines or coffees while they create their masterpieces. Ensure that participants are sufficiently spaced out so they can safely take off their masks to sip.

Pro tip: Make your event a fundraiser by asking participants to submit a donation before joining the class. Make sure participants know exactly what their contributions will be used for. After your event, send a follow-up email detailing how much you were able to raise. This makes participants feel a sense of accomplishment, and makes them more likely to support your organization the next time you host a fundraiser!

6. Drive-in movies

Give your community members a blast from the past by hosting a drive-in movie! Drive-in movies are naturally socially distanced since everyone tunes in from the comfort of their own cars.

See if you can play a recently-released movie to provide something new and intriguing for attendees. You’ll also never go wrong by choosing a classic film. Just remember to consider your audience — if you’re hosting a family movie night, you probably don’t want to show the latest Purge movie.

You can also generate intrigue by hosting your drive-in movie at a unique location, such as your local zoo. Or, you can host a socially-distanced “film on the green” where attendees can set up a picnic blanket and watch the movie at a local stadium or golf course.

Pro tip: Make sure participants know how to tune into the movie, especially if you’ll be transmitting the film’s audio using radio. While some people may be familiar with how a drive-in movie works, others may need instructions on how to tune their radios to the current frequency.

7. Craft fairs

Bring the artists in your community and surrounding communities together to host a craft fair. Encourage them to bring an assortment of crafts and works of art to sell at your event. Then, invite all community members to browse the options.

Keep your event safe by reminding participants to stay six feet apart, wear their masks when necessary, and sanitize their hands frequently.

Use your event to provide opportunities for local businesses to get involved as well. For example, you can ask businesses to sponsor your event or see if any local restaurants would like to host concession stands.

Pro tip: Use your organization’s social media pages to promote the art that will be for sale ahead of time. This boosts excitement and gets attendees thinking about what they might want to buy.

Whether you’re hosting a fundraiser or simply an event to bring your community together, there are plenty of experiences that facilitate both social distancing and fun. No matter what type of event you choose, remember to streamline the process using event planning and ticketing software, as well as donation tools if your event is a fundraiser. Have fun and stay safe!

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