Engaging, action-oriented events that make progress toward an overarching goal

The most visible part of community building campaigns are the experiences that bring people together. Once you’ve landed on the purpose and character of your campaign, then it’s time to think about the series of gatherings that you can organize to help you make incremental progress toward your goal.

It’s never enough just to get people together in a room or online. You need a specific purpose for convening people: a reason they’re together and a tangible goal for your gathering. And remember, one-off experiences can be valuable, but purposeful, sequenced community building campaigns are more powerful because of their focus on intentional, sustained engagement.

Experiences serve a variety of functions. In this chapter, we’ve outlined 10 types of experiences that we have used as part of community building campaigns. We like to characterize experiences by the goals they set out to achieve. In general, as you think about developing the events that comprise your campaign, we recommend using the most action-oriented language possible. Instead of “I want to host a workshop,” think: “I want to generate new ideas” or “I want to share knowledge.”

These experience types are intended to be remixable; you should pick and choose as you like. Depending on the purpose of your campaign, your custom mix of experiences will vary. Ultimately, your goal is to stitch together a series of experiences that enable you to cultivate the kinds of relationships you desire. Use this list as a starting point, but feel free to add to these ideas—this is not an exhaustive compilation.