How Home-Based Non-Profits Can Achieve Community Engagement

How Home-Based Non-Profits Can Achieve Community Engagement

Non-profits are at the heart of every healthy community. Charitable organizations play a crucial role in helping the unhoused, supporting the vulnerable, and advocating for necessary social changes. 

However, if you’ve been working in the non-profit industry for some time, you’ll know that engaging your community is hard work. This is a serious issue, as Americans are only pledging 1.7 percent of their income to charitable causes today — the lowest rate since 1995. 

Achieving community engagement can be even trickier if you run your non-profit from home. Without physical premises, many folks won’t know you exist while others may be wary of your current setup. 

Fortunately, you can leverage your home base to your advantage by setting up cost-effective events in your own house. This gives your charity a human face and can amplify your cause. You can also use the time you save on commuting to build a robust digital profile to help folks find your organization. 

Community Events at Home

You may not have a space dedicated solely to your non-profit, but that doesn’t mean you can’t run community events from your workplace. Home-based community engagement ideas may even boost your profile and help you build a more trustworthy brand. Hosting community events at home may even be more popular, as folks won’t have to leave the neighborhood to make it to your event. 

If it’s your first time hosting a community event at home, you’ll need to set aside significant time for planning and preparation. You can’t just expect folks to come by based on word-of-mouth advertising. Instead, get the ball rolling by creating a clear budget that itemizes costs like: 

  • Permits you’ll need to host events from home;
  • Food and beverages;
  • Additional lighting, seating, and equipment;
  • Attractions and entertainment. 

Accounting for hidden costs like permits is key when planning a community event at home. Applying to your municipality will incur administration fees and could take a few weeks to process properly. You’ll also need to assess your space and find the right spot for hosting a large gathering of people. 

Promoting a home-based event can be tricky. Get started with physical advertisements in your local area. Get in touch with local coffee shops, museums, schools, and libraries and ask them to place your posters around their premises. Consider reaching out to local journalists if you want to gather a bigger group. Local journalists have a valuable network and will promote all of your materials in the right places for a fee. 

Remember to ask attendees how they learned about your home-based event. This can help you cut costs next time and will ensure that you continue to advertise through the most lucrative channels. 

Outreach Projects

As a non-profit organizer, you can use community outreach to build engagement and raise funds for your charity. Outreach projects can help you expand your network and meet folks outside of your normal social circles, too. 

If you’re new to the non-profit industry, consider partnering with well-established charitable organizations in your area. This will amplify your reach and give you an opportunity to learn from more experienced folks. Partnering with well-established charities can boost your brand and help you align with non-profits that are already well-regarded in your area, too. 

If you have a substantial budget set aside for community engagement, consider spending big on physical events that will draw a crowd. Traditional engagement events, like galas, silent auctions, and workshops offer meaningful value to attendees and will raise your profile as a non-profit leader in your community. Alternatively, you can explore some non-traditional engagement ideas like: 

  • Donkey basketball;
  • Dance-a-thons;
  • Cupcake contests;
  • Hosting a haunted house.

These engagement ideas will bring a diverse group of attendees to your event and will help you build a strong connection with your community. 

Digital Engagement

Connecting with local folks via social media and a website is crucial in today’s digital age. However, if you’re a busy non-profit leader, you may be tempted to overlook digital engagement. This is a major misstep, as 29 percent of people say that a strong social media presence inspires them to donate. 

Set yourself up for success by converting your garage into a home office. Converting your garage gives you a dedicated workspace where you can shoot social content, edit posts, and respond to emails without interruption. You’ll only need to make a few tactful modifications, including: 

  • Install additional outlets for lights, computers, and other appliances;
  • Upgrade your HVAC to include your garage space;
  • Insulate the space against the cold;
  • Install a keypad and security cameras to prevent theft. 

These changes give you all the tools you need to build your digital presence while working from home. A home garage is cost-effective, too, as you’ll save money that would’ve been spent on commuting, office rent, and maintenance fees while boosting the value of your home. It also frees up time and money that you can then use on marketing to attract fundraising through social media and build an authentic connection with folks in your area. A strong social profile helps you research other charities in your community and will serve you well when you run outreach events.  


As a non-profit leader, you can connect with your community by hosting regular engagement events. These events will build your reputation in your area and help you raise funds for your cause. Home-based events are usually cost-effective and create a sense of trust among attendees. Just be sure to follow up with a robust social strategy to make the most of your events and boost your community engagement.  

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Amanda Winstead

Amanda Winstead is a writer from the Portland area with a background in communications and a passion for telling stories. Along with writing she enjoys traveling, reading, working out, and going to concerts. If you want to follow her writing journey, or even just say hi you can find her on Twitter.