Why You Should Start a Community During a Crisis

A complete guide for starting a community safely during a time of crisis (and why it’s so important!).

One of the most important times for community-building is during a crisis. Strong communities help us navigate crises and see the light at the end of the tunnel. The current pandemic strikes at the heart of our communities because it makes meeting safely more difficult.

In spite of this challenge, Meetup organizers have found new and inventive ways to stay connected with their communities safely. Moreso, new organizers have found that this period is the ideal time to launch their communities because of the increased desire for meaningful connection. The pandemic hasn’t stopped the necessity of community, it’s only deepened it and made it clearer. 

Since online events launched in March, organizers from over 93,000 groups have scheduled more than 1,000,000 online events, and have had over 6,895,000 RSVPs. This is in addition to all of the safe outdoor events being hosted across the world. Find out why this particular time is so ripe for community-building and how you can use Meetup to start a community of your own.

6 reasons we need community during a crisis

1. It helps combat feelings of isolation and loneliness 

Even before the pandemic forced us apart physically, Americans were struggling with feelings of isolation and loneliness. A 2020 Trends report from Ford showed that:

While some social media sites have been shown to increase feelings of loneliness, Meetup has been proven to do the exact opposite and instead increases feelings of connectedness. A study conducted by ImpactED at the University of Pennsylvania found that Meetup members felt more connected to others and had an increased number of friendships. It also showed that Meetup organizers overwhelmingly reported an increased ability to impact the lives of others and that Meetup has both made their lives better and increased their self-confidence. 

Read more about how Meetup helps people working from home defeat isolation.

2. It encourages communities to work together

You’ve probably heard the oft-quoted line from Mr. Rogers to “look for the helpers.” Meetup is one of the best places to not only find but help organize those helpers. During times of crisis, people are looking for ways to help each other, and Meetup groups are perfect places for volunteers to get involved and support their communities.

Read more about encouraging your community to get involved in your events.

3. It helps small businesses succeed

The pandemic has been tough for small, local businesses as well as those who have found themselves suddenly out of work. Meetup is a critical resource for promoting your business and networking to find new roles. 

Organizers like Luc Bouchard (Career Coach and organizer of the Bare Bones Communications Network) and Travis Lee (organizer of DMV Homeowners Community) shared their journeys of starting a growing their business networks during these unprecedented times.

Student leaders just starting their careers are also using Meetup to get jobs through our College Campus Initiative by making meaningful connections in their industries of choice. 

If you have or are thinking of starting a business, Meetup communities are part of the formula for success.

4. It’s essential for marginalized groups

Meetup is a safe, welcoming place for marginalized communities to find each other and come together. Since its launch in June, 5,000 members have joined Communities for Black Justice and Equity, an organizer-led Meetup Pro network that provides free subscriptions to groups that share a mission of elevating Black voices and experiences, helping to end racial injustice, and continuing conversations about racism. Learn more or share this network with your community.

Andy Saldaña, co-founder of QueerTech, wrote about how Meetup has helped him empower thousands of LGBTQ+ people in tech by giving him a platform to foster learning, mentorship, and growth. He put together a list of six steps to help organizers grow their community organically and explained how Meetup helped his group increase access and representation for queer individuals in tech. 

5. It provides us with support during times of loss

One of the toughest parts of this pandemic is the inability to come together to grieve. Jill, organizer of the Greater Long Island Divorce & Separation Support Group, shared how online events have helped her members cope with loss. She remarked that “Support groups, like ours, offer an immediate circle of people who really understand what you’re going through” and that “sometimes people need to be among friends and laugh and have some levity. People are really struggling with being quarantined as it magnifies their feelings of isolation and loneliness.” 

She also noted that by holding online events, more people are able to join each week, providing greater accessibility for those in need. If you are experiencing loss of any kind, becoming an organizer or seeking a support group on Meetup can help connect you with others experiencing similar feelings and provide much-needed solace.

6. It helps establish a routine 

Attending events and interacting with different groups of people on a regular basis can help you set a routine and keep the days from blending together. Implementing structure into your day and week will help maintain your health, productivity, and add back some social and emotional well-being into your routine. 

You can make Mondays for a cooking club, Tuesdays for language learning, Wednesdays for a book club, Thursdays for your career networking group, and Fridays for movie night, all without leaving the safety of your home. If you’re looking for something active, make the weekends time for hiking or other safe outdoor activities.

Find an event you’re interested in attending.

How to start a community during a crisis

Starting a group on Meetup is simple and we’ll guide you through the process. Here’s everything you’ll need to get started.

Starting a group

Hosting online

Hosting outdoors

Click here to start your group.

Social distancing doesn’t mean social disconnection. Meetup can help you find a community and connect safely online and in person. Start a group today that keeps you and your community together during times of crisis.

Last modified on June 23, 2021