5 Remote Team-Building Exercises for Your Nonprofit

Team-building is crucial for fostering interpersonal connections, improving communication, and building trust amongst nonprofit colleagues. But as the pandemic forces some organizations to send staff home, in-person team-building activities have largely been put on hold. 

Employees may have grown weary of virtual happy hours, but there are plenty of other online activities you can explore while your team is dispersed. So, whether your team or working from home right now or you want to create a sense of connection among coworkers in different regions, here are a few examples of simple virtual activities that will help you boost your team’s morale—and keep them engaged and connected.

1. Start with the basics

Ice breakers are a tried-and-true team-building activity for a good reason: they’re an easy way to get to know the people you work with. Getting into the habit of starting every staff meeting with a simple ice breaker is a great way to establish a friendly tone and encourage everyone speak at least once. Keep the questions fun, light, and insightful, but not too personal. You can also alternate between easy questions like “What’s your favorite food?” and deeper ones like “What’s your favorite work memory?”

2. Buy lunch

Working from home also means eating at home, and lunch can sneak up on you unprepared. Save your team from the hassle of digging around in their fridge by sending them a voucher that they can use to support their favorite local restaurant during your virtual team lunch. While your budget may be small, this can be a relatively inexpensive treat for small teams, especially on special occasions. 

3. Run a “caption this photo” contest 

Why not take a page from The New Yorker’s book and run a monthly “caption this photo” contest? This easy-to-organize activity allows people to showcase their wit and creativity—and if you chose a picture involving your team, it can be a good way for new employees to get to know coworkers they may not have met in person yet. Whether you choose to run your monthly context over email, Slack, or another platform, just choose a picture at the beginning of the month and set a deadline for participants to submit their entries. Choose three finalists and let your team decide which caption is best, with winners either receiving a small prize or kudos from their peers. 

4. Host a game of virtual pictionary 

Unlike trivia, which can sometimes be challenging for team members with different backgrounds, pictionary is a game that virtually everyone can enjoy. To play remotely, see if your video conferencing platform has a virtual whiteboard feature, then use a random word generator and split participants into two teams. An added benefit of virtual pictionary is that you can tale screenshots of funny or impressive moments to share with the wider team later.

5.  Play “name that tune”

“Name that tune” can be a unique way to sign off staff video calls and provide some levity to everyday operations. Choose a new host every meeting and ask them to play a 5-second clip of a song, then let your team guess the name of the song and the artist. To avoid alienating anyone, consider implementing some loose rules around song selection, such as asking people to stick to popular artists and to integrate music from different eras. 

Nurture your team and watch them thrive

To get the most out of team-building activities, aim to match them to your organizational and team culture and value. If you’re a team that values humor, for example, activities that bring that out in people will likely be more effective than more formal exercises. Allowing staff to opt-out if they need to, especially if you’re holding events after hours, will also make team-building feel like a worthwhile opportunity, not a chore. 

If you’re looking for more ways to develop and support your team from afar, consider adopting LinkedIn Learning. With LinkedIn Learning, you can create curated Learning Paths for employees, encourage group learning, and help your team to grow their skills from anywhere. Find out more today.

This post was inspired by the LinkedIn Talent Blog article “Beyond Virtual Happy Hour: 5 Ways Companies Are Keeping Their Teams Energized and Connected,” authored by Samantha McLaren.