Updated: December 03, 2022

10 Virtual Community Building Ideas

Here is our list of virtual community building ideas.

Virtual community building is when a group of individuals in a virtual setting participate in activities directed towards the enhancement of a specific community. Example activities include virtual volunteering, crowdfunding, and raffle drawing. These activities are used to help group members bond and boost team morale, while also making a positive contribution to the local community. These exercises may also be called “virtual charity  team building” or “virtual philanthropic team building.”

These activities are online versions of traditional community building activities, and are similar to virtual team building ideas

This list includes:

  • Virtual community building ideas
  • Virtual philanthropic team building ideas
  • Virtual charitable team building ideas
  • Virtual give back activities
  • Community building in a virtual setting

Let’s get into it!

List of Virtual Community Building Ideas

From hosting a virtual class to creating a step counting challenge, here are some of the best virtual community building ideas.

1. Virtual Happy Hour Fundraiser

A virtual happy hour fundraiser is a really simple way to show your team a good time while also giving back to organizations that need it most. This fun and social activity can be converted to a fundraising event by charging a small entry fee. Once the fee is paid, participants can join a Zoom link and mingle with their peers over a homemade cocktail. You can even add a donation link within the meeting for participants who are feeling extra generous.

If you would like to host a more elaborate virtual happy hour fundraiser, then you could also incorporate other fun party elements. For example, hire a DJ to emcee the event and keep the crowd energized all night long. Holding tarot readings or magic shows in a breakout room is another great way to raise additional funds and entertain your guests.

Here is a list of virtual happy hour ideas and more virtual fundraiser ideas.

2. Virtual Auction

A virtual auction is another easy yet effective way to build up your local community in a group fundraising setting. An auction can be conducted via social media, during a video conference call, or via online auctioning software applications. Either way, your participants will be able to enjoy an exciting bidding war all from the comfort of their own home.

Charity auctions are mutually beneficial for all parties involved – participants, organizations, and charities – as these activities promote team camaraderie, raise funds for charity, and provide participants with a new item or service. You can get creative with your auction items too, especially in a virtual setting. Instead of the typical physical gifts, consider offering digital options like certificates, subscriptions, and other virtual goodies.

3. Raffle Drawing

Raffles are fantastic ways to raise funds, both virtually and in-person. In a virtual setting, you can send participants a link to buy as many raffle tickets as they want during a specified time frame. Once the deadline for buying tickets has passed, you can host a live online raffle drawing to further engage participants.

There are many different applications you can use to help with a virtual raffle contest, from the payment portion to the virtual raffle drawing. Like with the virtual auction, you can also get creative with gift ideas. The raffle prize does not have to be something physical. Rather, it can be something digital, like a virtual cooking class or a free year of Amazon Prime, to keep logistic needs at a minimum. Your group will receive something in exchange for their donations and good deeds, so all parties involved get something out of this virtual community building activity.

3. Step Counting Challenge

This activity is a great virtual community building idea as it combines donations, team building, and health and wellness all into one campaign. Participants can pledge to donate a certain amount based on how many steps they take during the challenge, or organizations can pledge to donate a certain amount based on how many steps the entire group takes during the challenge. Either way, your participants will feel better about themselves mentally and physically.

There are several different step counting challenge apps on the market to simplify this competition on the back end. However, you can also keep it simple and have participants log their own time according to the devices they already use, such as a FitBit or an Apple Watch. Plus, you can even divide your group into teams based on their department or division to create an additional competitive layer to the activity. You can further incentivize this philanthropic activity by offering a prize to the winning team. The prize does not have to be something expensive. Instead, you could simply offer an additional day of PTO.

4. Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding has been around for almost as long as the internet itself. This popular fundraising tactic has adapted over the years to be an effective form of fundraising through heavily trafficked sites like Facebook and Instagram. Consider turning this fun virtual activity into a competition for your group to add a competitive element. Individuals or teams can promote fundraising for a charity of their choice through their own social media channels and inner circles. The individual or team who raises the most funds for their charity wins the competition and can receive a prize for their efforts.

This is a very simple form of virtual community building as it requires little to no effort from the organizer. Rather, all of the responsibility is on the participants. Plus, all of the proceeds and benefits go directly to charity.

5. Virtual Volunteering

Volunteers are considered the backbone of many nonprofit organizations as they freely offer their time, energy, and services to benefit a charity, its constituents, and the greater good. However, volunteering can feel more challenging and less accessible in a world where virtual participation is preferred. Luckily, virtual volunteering is now possible for lots of scenarios and can be an incredibly eye-opening team building activity for your group.

In order to cultivate this experience for your group, you must first select an activity and charity, then set up a time for everyone to virtually gather and participate. Some virtual volunteer activities might include creating cards for hospitalized children or elderly people, packing a shoebox with necessities, cleaning out the pantry for donations, writing a letter to a soldier, and more. The options are truly endless here!

Plus, organizations like Together We Rise offer several different philanthropic team building activities for groups in a virtual setting. Learn more about Together We Rise.

Check out this ideas for virtual volunteering with groups.

6. Host a Virtual Class

Another fun virtual community building activity can include hosting a charity sponsored virtual class. From cooking and cocktail classes to wine tastings and candle making classes, the options are truly endless and can be easily customized to suit your specific group’s preferences and needs. Most online classes simply require the participants to log in to Zoom at a specific time to participate in the course. Some classes do require materials, ingredients, or other products which can be provided by the vendor, event organizer, or participants.

You can raise funds for the charity of your choice by asking participants to pay an enrollment fee or to offer donations throughout the course, both of which would go directly to the charity. Your group will enjoy this unique experience and opportunity to learn something new, and they can feel good about the activity they are partaking in as well, knowing funds are being donated to charity.

7. Virtual Game Night

Virtual game nights are great ways to build up the community, encourage team camaraderie, and allow your group to involve their whole family. To host a virtual game night, you can utilize one of many third party vendors online, or you can keep it simple and have someone lead a trivia or bingo night. This activity can be as simple or as complex as you would like it to be. There are even virtual escape rooms online which can be customized to suit the size and needs of any group. Plus, many third party vendors will take care of all administration and logistics for you, making this a turn-key option for virtual community building.

As the organizer, you can opt to donate a specific amount of money on behalf of the winner to the charity of their choice. Like with the other ideas above, you could also ask participants to pay an entry fee for the virtual game night and donate those funds to charity. Either way, your group will love the chance to cut loose, compete with one another, and donate to a good cause.

Here is a list of the best virtual game night ideas.

8. Virtual Gala

Many nonprofit organizations rely on their annual galas for a significant amount of their donations. Now, virtual galas have risen in popularity as they are much cheaper to produce and can include a much larger audience. You can replicate this same community building idea for a charity of your choice with your group.

Participants can be asked to pay an entry fee, and in return, you can have dinner delivered to them either by a caterer or a food delivery app such as Uber Eats or Grubhub. Additionally, you can raise more funds for charity by incorporating raffle giveaways, virtual performances, and more. Your group will feel like they have experienced a night out on the town without even leaving their couches. Plus, the charity you select will appreciate the efforts to support their organization and cause.

9. Virtual Charity Concert

Similarly to virtual galas, virtual charity concerts are great virtual community building activities. Once you find a performer, you can ask participants to pay a small fee to cover the cost of the performer. In exchange, many performers will voluntarily donate all the proceeds they make to a nonprofit organization.

A virtual charity concert can be a fully-produced online event, or it can be as simple as connecting with a musician via Zoom. You can encourage more donations by allowing participants to make song requests in exchange for a small donation. Your group will love seeing an artist perform some of their favorite songs, and they will be doing it for a good cause. Plus, you do not have to limit these virtual events to musicians. Other performers will also do virtual shows for charity such as magicians, dancers, comedians, and more.

Final Thoughts

Virtual community building can be much more engaging than simply following a link and entering your credit card information on a website. Instead, give your group a unique, fun opportunity they will remember for years to come. You can incorporate philanthropic activities into your group’s schedule without making it boring or burdensome. Try some of the ideas above for your next virtual community building venture.

Next, check out this list of charity team building ideas, these group volunteering opportunities for work, and these international volunteer day ideas.

FAQ: Virtual community building

Here are common questions and answers about virtual community building.

What is virtual community building?

Virtual community building is when a group of individuals in a virtual setting participate in activities directed towards the enhancement of a specific community. These activities are used to help group members bond and boost team morale, while also making a positive contribution to the local community.

What are some good virtual community building ideas?

The best virtual community building activities are fun, engaging, and positively contribute to a charitable organization or social cause. Some creative ideas for virtual community building include virtual auctions, virtual volunteering, online classes, and crowdfunding. 

How do you make a virtual community building event exciting?

You only need a little creativity to make a virtual community building event exciting. Try to tap into what your group is interested in and excited about, then plan your event around this. The options are limitless for hosting an exciting virtual community building event. 

How do you plan a virtual community building event?

Once you have decided on an activity for your group, do some research online to find out the best way to produce the event. Some ideas, like a simple virtual happy hour or game night, can be achieved with DIY methods. However, other ideas, like a step counting challenge or a virtual class, may require an external vendor to help assist. In the latter case, you will want to explore vendor options for this virtual activity and find the one that best suits your group’s needs and budget. 

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People & Culture Director at teambuilding.com.
Grace is the Director of People & Culture at TeamBuilding. She studied Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, Information Science at East China Normal University and earned an MBA at Washington State University.

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