It's coming up to the end of the year.
Soon, most of your members will be going through an annual shared experience together. This is a good opportunity to facilitate a stronger sense of community. Most communities should participate in this experience or risk disassociation from the real world.
Here are a few simple ideas:
- Publish a review of the year. Write up a major review of the year. You can copy the format from a magazine if you like. Break it down month by month or by topics. Talk about the major activities/events that took place throughout the year. What were the biggest debates? Who were the top members? Which newcomers impressed everyone? What changed on the site? Let members contribute their memories/opinions. Perhaps use a top-10 moments/discussions/members article here too.
- Secret santa. Each member which enters has to buy one other member a gift for $10. An Amazon voucher is the cheap, uncreative, option. Your members will probably think of something more inspiring (or funnier).
- Annual gathering. If you have the resources, host an annual gathering. Make it festive themed and invite your members to attend. If you're a branded community, invite some members to your Christmas party.
- Annual awards. We used to love awards at UKT. The most popular was the was the personality of the year award. There are plenty of possible awards here. Funniest comment, best contribution, best newcomer etc…
- Create a yearbook. This is my favourite (and you can earn money from it too!). Publish a yearbook for the year. You can include some of the elements above. Charge members $20 to be included. Include a bio of the members, some of their top members and let them leave messages for others in the yearbook. The more people that pay, the bigger the yearbook becomes. It's quite a collector's item.
Make sure you do something and start planning for it now. The better your activities, the more it will bring your members together and create a strong sense of community.