333: Planning Community Events

A community event is a scheduled gathering of community members to help bring members together and enjoy each other's company. A server can run events for many reasons, but with this guide you will hopefully be able to understand the value of hosting events and how to set one up for your community. In this article you will learn why servers run community events, how to set up an event, and how to get people involved in an event.

Why Do Discord Servers Run Events?

A community can run events for a multitude of reasons, whether they are playing a game, celebrating a special event, or just because it's Tuesday! Whatever the reason behind the event they all help achieve one goal: boosting participation and bonding with your community. 

Why do we need to create bonds? A community is a group of people who come together for any number of reasons- be it common interests, beliefs, or experiences. These commonalities allow community members to form bonds with one another. Creating these bonds for your community is important because it will help create a sense of ownership between the server and your members. It also allows these individuals to graduate from a regular member to someone who can call your server home. One of the best ways to promote the organic growth of these bonds is through the organization of community events. 

How Do You Set Up A Community Event?
  • Set a time and a place. Let everyone know when and where your event is happening; this should preferably be done in an announcement channel where your community is expecting to hear news and updates.
  • Establish clear expectations. What type of event is it? What rules will you follow during this event?
  • What will you be doing? Tell your community what will be happening during this event so those interested can attend.
  • Open chat and voice channels at the time of the event. Depending on what the event centered around, you’ll want to be able to communicate with your fellow community members.
  • Have fun! Remember: while you are the organizer for your community’s event you are at the same time, part of your community! Celebrate along with them and do your best to fully enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Who Can Host A Community Event?

Anyone can host a community event provided they have permission from the server staff such as the owner or administrator. Some servers even have a role who’s whole job is to come up with fun events! There are many approaches to deciding who can host events so decide what's best for your community.

How Do You Get People Involved in a Community Event?
Keep it relevant

A good way to get your community involved with an event is to cater to the community you have and build on that: 

  • Does your server cater to gamers? Do a game night!
  • Do you love the same recording artist? Chill with a listening party.
  • Have an active art community? Doodle together with a drawing party, exchanging art prompts and ideas!
Ask questions 

Asking the right questions can greatly inform the next event that is run. These questions could be asked through a google form or even directly in one of your discussion channels. You could even set these channels up so your community members can give feedback at their leisure. Ensure the questions you ask are those that can be answered easily, but also allow for more meaningful answers. An example of these questions and some follow-ups are:

  • Did the time work for everyone? What time would be best for the majority of people?
  • What were some of the more fun parts of the event? Which part did you feel could have been better?
  • Did you enjoy the activity? What are some suggestions for next time?

This feedback allows community members to feel like they have a say in the server. It keeps your community invested and engaged because they have a hand in the things that affect them directly.

Be Consistent

Set up a few weeks of recurring events and stick to it! If your community knows what to expect they can plan around your events and make it a part of their schedule. 

What to do if people are late? That’s up to you to decide! If you’re running an event for a smaller, more intimate group, it may be worth waiting a few extra minutes to allow everyone to attend. This may not be advisable for bigger communities with many people as it may not be convenient for those who attended on time. Use your best judgement to decide what fits best for your community.

A major factor of keeping your community involved is by keeping them entertained. Make the event fun. Talk with your community, interact with them, thank them for joining in and being a great member of the community.

Reward Your Community

Another way to get a larger turnout for a community event is host giveaways. However, something to keep in mind: giving away stuff is great, but don’t make it the central focus. Your community should attend your events because they’re looking for fun and camaraderie not because they want to snag some loot. Employ some rules to ensure that they are participating. E.g.: Play and win one game with us to win a month of Discord Nitro. What are examples of good rewards versus bad rewards? Should they be temporary, or permanent? On the platform, or awarded IRL?

Ask for Signups

While it may seem a bit formal, asking people to sign up can help with attendance since it puts the responsibility on the members to commit to a time. This can also help dictate what you will do if you have too many or too few people for a particular activity.

How to Announce Your Event

So you’ve gotten this far and are ready to announce! what do you say? When announcing your event to your community make sure you are clear and concise and all the important information is easy to find. First we’ll give you an example and explain why this is a good template if you’re looking where to start.

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Formatting

Formatting your announcement using the markdown tools provided within Discord will ensure that your announcements are easy to read with all important information clearly stated.

Date and Time

Be specific and let your community know what day and time to expect this event. “This Saturday!” might work, but its best practice to provide clear dates and times to avoid unnecessary confusion. Note: If your community features members from various time zones, it may be good to include different times in your announcements or a link to a website that can convert time zones such as World Time Buddy.

The days you choose can be just as important as the game you choose to play. Keep your community’s regular peak active hours in mind when planning your event. 

Location

Where is your event taking place within the server. Don’t be afraid to link, if these channels are always available!

Information

Let your community members know what you’ll be doing during the event whether it be what game you’re playing or the movie you’ll be watching.

Engage

Try to make your announcements as colorful and interesting as the events themselves! Throw in some fun emotes or add a neat photo to spice up the announcements.

How to Set Up Your Server

You’ve announced your event and want to set up your server. What's the best way to do this? First we’ll provide an example and explain why this is a good place to start!

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Category

This game night example features a special category, this helps with server organization and allows your community members to easily find where this event is taking place.

Chat Channel

Depending on the event, you might want to have a chat channel open so your users can communicate without using voice. 

Voice Channel

Give your community a place to talk to each other. That’s what Discord is for afterall!

Note: Since we’re using Discord we also have a handy way to share our screen with the rest of the server. While this isn't necessary, depending on what type of event you’re hosting you may want to make use of this awesome tool!

Moderation

How should you moderate a community event? While this may seem like a difficult task as long as you have clear rules for the rest of your community you can simply extend those to your events. It’s important to set clear expectations before your event and these can also be a part of your initial announcement.

You may need to create a special set of rules for your specific event. For example, a “No Spoilers” rule if you decide to watch a movie simultaneously or “No Spectating/Stream sniping” rule if you're playing a competitive game. 

Special Situations

In this section we’ll go over some situations that may happen and how to handle them.

Low or No Attendance

The day of your event arrives, you’ve had an awesome announcement, have all of your channels ready and maybe only a few people show up. What do you do? First, give yourself a pat on the back. You did the hardest thing anyone could do which is put yourself out there and set up a great event.

Next, ask your community for feedback. Maybe the date and time weren’t convenient, maybe they didn't like the activity you set up or it could be they forgot. Consider posting reminders to let everyone know when an upcoming event is coming up. Tell your community members to invite a friend to attend the next event- word of mouth is a great way to increase awareness.

Lastly, have fun! Even if you only have 3 people in attendance pretend you’re at Discordcon and everyone is invited! A small gathering of highly enthusiastic community members can be just as entertaining and worthwhile as a larger but more lackluster group gathering. By staying engaged yourself you’ll spread that positivity which others will also pick up on.

Emergencies

Things happen that are out of your control, and that's ok. Depending on the size of your community, it may be beneficial to train and designate someone to take your place if you cannot host your event. This person can be someone from your moderation staff if they feel they’re up to the task or even a member of a designated event team!

Change of Plans

What if you’re ready and rearing to play your favorite obstacle course battle royale but your community want to play the hottest murder mystery space game? Depending on the size of your community and how close you are, there are different ways to approach this. For small groups, you’ll probably be fine with switching up your activities. 

For larger groups you’ll probably have a fair amount of people who are attending for your specific activity which may upset those who took the time to attend. In this situation, make sure you acknowledge those who want to switch up the event and propose another day for the activity.

Conclusion

Hosting community events can be a lot of fun and can really bring your community together. Get to know your community and create an event that best caters to them for an optimal outcome. But remember- the aim is to have fun, create bonds, and foster a sense of belonging amongst one another! The result will be a community that's highly engaged, unified, and happy.



Ready to test your moderator skills? Take the Discord Moderator Exam!