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Community Building during the Coronavirus

The coronavirus is scary. As more communities are affected, and more schools and public events are cancelled, it’s important that we continue to follow CDC guidelines/recommendations as they change. With the importance of social distancing and limiting mass gatherings, Indivisible leaders need to cancel in-person meetings and large-scale events to protect members from exposure to the coronavirus and stop the spread across their communities.

But this doesn’t mean that our work stops. It means that we need to be intentional about safety precautions and double down on community building.

Let’s jump in.

Launch your Coronavirus Community Support Team. No leader should be in this alone. Beef up your steering committee or invite some new folks to step into leadership to help sustain the group through the Coronavirus crisis. This team is in charge of tracking information related to the crisis, communicating with membership, and formulating a plan to check in and support each other.

Keep up to date on local guidance. The news is everywhere but we particularly like the this map from the New York Times.

Know your risk factors. Older members and members with compromised immune-systems are at a higher risk for contracting coronavirus and having more serious symptoms. That said, even young, healthy members risk passing the virus on to folks with higher risk factors, so it’s critical that even if you feel ok you are following guidelines and taking precautions.

Set up remote options for meetings. You can still keep your work going and make folks feel connecting by setting up remote options.. You can hold virtual meetings many ways and check out our resource on virtual meetings! You can use an online meeting platform such as:

  • Google Hangouts 

  • Zoom. Create your own free account here, or talk to your Indivisible organizer about getting a meeting set up on our account. We also love the tutorials here. 

  • Facebook live

If your group would rather meet by phone, you can set up a free conference call account here.  Remember that remote meetings come with their own set up challenges so be sure to set norms at the top of the meeting. And send the meeting minutes out to everyone afterwards. 

Check in on each other. Plan check-in days, once or twice each month, where each member is personally contacted by another member. These short check-ins reinforce our community. Everyone has a friend at Indivisible. Create a text tree for these personal check-ins. Promote this text tree on your social media, and encourage all FB members to provide their contact information and participate in the community project. Pro-tip: Use Indivisible’s free contact management system, Every Action to track your membership. 

Build the movement from your couch. Have you heard about the Payback Project yet? We are targeting eleven GOP Senators as part of our broader strategy to flip the Senate. We are starting by recruiting new members to Indivisible groups. And the best part is that you can do it from your home! Your group can host virtual texting parties to take action together but apart. Get on zoom, share meals and snacks, and keep everyone up to date on your texting.  

Incorporate a Coronavirus community service action into your plan. Are there isolated elderly neighbors who may need a contact? People who can’t get to work without public transportation? Are there groups you can support that are already working on this? Consider donating or hosting a fundraiser for local healthcare clinics or meals on wheels programs. 

Get creative with remote actions. Congress still has plenty of work to do and we need to make our voices heard. Keep calling your MoCs, of course, and brainstorm other virtual actions. You can send videos, write handwritten letters, or start a twitter storm.

Stay connected to the broader Indivisible network. Confirm that someone from your group attends statewide and national monthly check-in calls and webinars, and reports back. Keeping in touch is vital. And we are all going to get a little antsy.