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le have many reasons for why they relocate and part of all decisions relates to the community. A top priority of any association is to foster a community environment. This can b partially achieved through programming, which allows individuals to bond with friends, et new people, and have the chance to explore new activities while encouraging theencourag


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ns relates onment. d with


community spirit.


The first responsibility of individuals tasked with creating programs is to find ideas that speak to broad groups of individuals. This tactic includes creating all-inclusive programs that will interest larger audiences such as bus outings or holiday events. It also means finding target- specific programs that bring core groups together such as card or board game clubs. Each approach works well and both have different measurable levels of success. The target- specific programs work well to create tightly bonded groups within the community while all-inclusive programs allow residents to meet new individuals.


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both have d pecific prog within the c residents t


In order to fulfill programming needs, one great avenue is to use volunteers to enhance the experience. Volunteering can create a bond within the community by involving individuals at different levels. The latest statistics show that about 25% of Americans volunteer. It provides a way to connect with others and benefits both mental and physical health. Clubs, activities, and committees need guidance and allow community members to give back and provide services for skills they already have. Volunteers need to be kept in the loop and allowed to have enrichment and recognition opportunities. A well-developed volunteer program can ensure the success of the programs and the continued support of the volunteers within the community.


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When determining the type of programs to create, barriers need to be considered, such as hard to reach groups, the number and type of engagement activities, the ability of different stakeholders to participate, cost, and ways to market the event to residents. In order to be successful, the information and programming from staff needs to be genuine, communicated regularly, and be relevant to that community. Every community should encourage discussions related to programming to find, not only those hard to reach groups, but the general consensus of the community needs.


Surveys and evaluations can give a general understanding of community interest. Surveys provide residents the chance to have their voices heard while allowing them to feel more connected with the programs. Also, listening to the residents address their concerns, their excitement, or their ideas can help the organizer better understand the clientele and adapt programming. This can be done on a one-on-one basis or by inviting residents to an open forum to get their responses.


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Staff should personally evaluate every program to understand the success or failure of all events. If possible, participant evaluations should be gathered either immediately after or


Staff should pe the success ation


through a survey. This provides a baseline for creating similar programs, new programs, or running the same program again.


One thing to consider is that activities are vying for attention. The many programs offered in the community are competing with experiences from other sources as individuals become bombarded with leisure activity ideas. Television, radio, social media, websites, flyers, brochures, and more create a hectic media storm to attract consumers. The result: people are being inundated with messages everywhere they turn. With all those general messages, how much is our community really listening when they receive our messages?


There are numerous ways to catch residents’ attention and as more technology develops, there will be more ways of marketing events and bridging gaps within the community. In the digital era, a company cannot rely on flyers and a website alone to entice residents. People are typically active on multiple platforms and to reach the community, the organization must also use several platforms.


A website is a key element of any business. It should be user friendly and regularly updated. It can become a great burden if it is difficult to navigate or if it’s outdated. In addition, the website needs to have registration links. It is no longer a good business practice to only have walk-in registration. The less availability there is to register for an event, the less likely people will go out of their way to register.


A weekly or monthly e-blast or newsletter continues to let the community feel involved. By receiving regular communication, the residents are kept up-to-date on activities and programs. E-blasts offer a unique way of connecting with individuals because information can be sent at a moment’s notice. A regularly mailed newsletter gives residents a physical copy of all upcoming programs and allows them the ability to peruse the material at their leisure.


Social media provides a platform for two-way communication. A main concern with all social media sites is that the page needs to be maintained. If an organization does not have the time to spend engaging on multiple platforms, Facebook is still the most used by various generations and is one of the of the easiest to maintain without having a dedicated social media expert. The last few years have seen a downward usage of Facebook, especially among younger generations, but it is still one of the most visible social media sites around.


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