Post-pandemic Blues: The Challenge Community Associations Are Having and What They Can Do About It.
Recently I have talked with a number of community associations. This includes housing associations, neighbourhood associations and home owner associations. They told me the biggest challenge they face, especially since the pandemic, is engaging with more community members. Wouldn’t it be great if community associations had a way of creating real engagement with its their citizens?
The Covid Effect
While people in communities have becoming more isolated over the last 10 years, these associations consistently said that Covid greatly accelerated the process. Once isolation became normal, there has been a lasting effect of less community cohesion. People are being slow to reconnect as a community. For example, an Alberta Community Association told me that 10 years ago, people were placing greater emphasis on self and less on common good. Then Covid hit and the focus on self was magnified. Now they are struggling to recapture that sense of common good.
The Non-engagement Effect – not just an issue for community associations
As an offshoot of the Covid Effect, what community association directors tell me is there is a resistance for people to engage with the community. Newsletters, Facebook postings and emails just aren’t getting interactions with many community members.
The Covid Effect and Non Engagement effect is in stark contrast with what people in general are telling us at the Happy Community Project. In our surveys, people say they want to be happy and a big part of their happiness is a sense of connection and belonging with community.
So what is all this saying? Their behavior is in stark contradiction with what they say they want. They are reluctant to engage with community associations, but does this mean they are reluctant to engage with each other?
So what is the problem?
If the main goal of community associations is to create community connections, does it have to happen directly through the association? Or can community associations facilitate human connections in a more organic and, simplistic way?
And what about connections across differences like generational differences? Wouldn’t that be a big bonus!
What is the solutions when social media and other tactics don’t work?
Community associations do an excellent job of providing community members opportunities to connect with each other through events, trainings, and providing recreational opportunities. They strive to make inclusive communities. Perhaps they can also give people the opportunity to make their own connections where they themselves create the engagement. There has been a tremendous rise in informal groups showing up on platforms like Facebook, Next Door and Tik Tok.
But people tell us they are annoyed or wary of the intrusion in privacy that these platforms provide, the constant stream of advertising and the lack of control over the negative posts. What if there was a way for people to have higher levels of security where they were in control of who they were connected to? A place where there is no advertising or personal information harvesting. A place where they make real relationships with people who live around them?
Good Neighbour App – a new way to help associations reconnect their commuity
We would like you to consider another tool you can use in your ways of connecting with your community members. Good Neighbour App is something we’ve developed to help your community members connect with each other. They can have personal relationships with the community members they choose to connect with. Wouldn’t this increase community engagement?
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