Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has said that the country is facing an epidemic of loneliness that is as dangerous to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Loneliness is reported to increase the risk of premature death by almost 30%. Lack of social connection is also linked to lower academic achievement and worse performance at work. Nearly 50% of all Americans are thought to have been affected. 

In light of these staggering statistics, creating profound connections in your community has a valuable role to play. Here are 5 suggestions to help your members get to know each other: 

  1. Host virtual “speed networking” events: These events can be held virtually and work similarly to in-person speed networking events. Members are paired up for a set amount of time, and then they rotate to meet with different members. This enables members to connect with a large number of people in a short time period.
  2. Create a mentorship program for diversity and inclusion: Pair members from diverse backgrounds with mentors who have experience navigating the industry. This can help to create a more inclusive environment within the association and foster connections between members who may not have otherwise met.
  3. Organize member-led workshops or webinars: Members can lead workshops or webinars on topics they are passionate about or have expertise in. This builds confidence and encourages  members to share knowledge and connect with other members who are interested in the same topics.
  4. Host “co-working” sessions: Organize virtual or in-person co-working sessions where members can work together on projects or assignments. This allows members to collaborate and learn from each other, and also helps to foster a sense of community and support.
  5. Offer a buddy system: Offer a buddy system where new members are paired up with experienced members who can help them navigate the association and the industry. This can encourage  new members to feel more connected and supported within the association.

It’s inspiring to think that creating profound connections amongst your members can have a real impact.