Helping people connect better is one of our main goals at Donut, so we wanted to show how you can create community, connection, and engagement around Slack-based events

How can Donut help?

  • Build the pre-event excitement — Donut can help you connect people as “conference buddies” to get registrants excited about attending and open to participating.

  • Facilitate virtual networking — Donut can create a dedicated space for people who would like to network, easing the friction of sparking these interactions.

  • Deepen engagement with the subject matter — Donut can create dedicated spaces for people who want to discuss the content further, before or after the time slot.

  • Introduce like-minded people — Donut can help people self-identify and opt-in to engage with others with similar profiles or interests.

  • Provide access to speakers and experts — Donut can create opportunities for attendees to receive special, serendipitous introductions to organizers, sponsors, keynote speakers, panelists, and more.

How to set it up

To set up Donut for an event, there are two important considerations. First, make sure that you map out your Slack strategy for the event. How and where do you want people to engage? (And with whom, and how often?) Secondly, make sure that any Slack channels where you’ve added Donut are opt-in, with a clear purpose. This will make Donut intros and Watercooler topics more valuable and effective at helping people connect with each other and the material.

Pre-event buddies

If you’d like to give attendees the opportunity to connect prior to the conference with early access to the event Slack, setting up a channel for “conference buddies” can help people get to know each other ahead of time. This is especially valuable for in-person and hybrid events where hanging out solo can feel uncomfortable.

  1. Create a Slack channel, for example #conference-buddies.

  2. Add Donut to the channel — we recommend setting this program up for pairs of 3+ people at a time.

  3. Customize the intro message so that it’s clear what to expect: making a connection ahead of the event!

  4. One or two weeks before the event, invite all registrants to join the channel. You can set the frequency to run weekly or bi-weekly, and participants will receive intros on the cadence and timing that you choose.

Pro tip: it’s ok if people don’t want to do a video call with people they don’t know yet! You can let them know that a Slack conversation is a great way to break the ice, and even provide them with conversation starters.

Cross-group networking

If you’d like different groups to have a space to connect, e.g. buyers and vendors, veterans and newbies, or speakers and attendees, you just need to set up your Donut channel with cross-group pairing logic.

  1. Create a Slack channel, for example #speaker-attendee-meetup.

  2. Add Donut to the channel — we recommend setting this program up for pairs of 3+ people at a time.

  3. When you’re setting up the channel, set the “type of intro” to Cross-group, and specify the types of groups you’d like to connect.

4. Customize the intro message so that it’s clear what to expect from the call: meeting people from a different perspective!

5. When participants join the Donut Slack channel, they will be asked to choose which group they belong to and will then will be introduced to people who have selected a different group.

Pro tip: include instructions when you ask people to join the channel: people who don’t select a group will not be included in cross-group intros.

Content discussion

To create a space for discussion around the event’s subject matter, you can create Donut channels to specifically discuss the content. For example, you could create a channel for each keynote or panel. There are two ways that we recommend facilitating discussion about the content:

  1. Post-event breakout rooms:

  • Set up a Slack channel for the content, for example #future-of-work-keynote.

  • Add Donut to the channel, and select an “intro time” — we recommend that this time be right after the session ends so the content is fresh.

  • Customize the intro message so that it’s clear what to expect from the call.

2. Ongoing conversation:

  • You can also provide opportunities for participants to engage in conversation by reacting to relevant conversation prompts using Donut’s Watercooler feature.

  • To add your Watercooler questions, toggle to the “Watercooler” section of the menu, add Watercooler to the channel, and then select “add a topic.” You can drag to reorder, and remove topics as well.

  • To build the muscle of engagement, we recommend running Watercooler for the duration of the event, including several days beforehand.

In-group networking

If you’d like affinity groups based on profession, interest, or identity to connect amongst themselves, you just need to set up Donut in a dedicated Slack channel.

  1. Create a Slack channel, for example #women-in-design.

  2. Add Donut to the channel — we recommend setting intros up for pairs of 3+ people at a time.

  3. Customize the intro message so that it’s clear what to expect from the call and how the space can be used most productively!

  4. You can also provide opportunities for participants to engage in conversation by reacting to relevant conversation prompts using Donut’s Watercooler feature: toggle to the “Watercooler” section of the menu, and add Watercooler to the channel.

5. To add your Watercooler questions, select “add a topic.” You can drag to reorder, and remove topics as well.

6. To build the muscle of engagement, we recommend running Watercooler for the duration of the event, including several days beforehand.

General engagement and connection

In more general event spaces, you can also provide low-friction opportunities for participants to introduce themselves and socialize by prompting conversation with Donut’s Watercooler feature:

  1. Toggle to the “Watercooler” section of the menu, and add it to the Slack channel of your choice; for example #random or #coffee-break.

  2. To add your Watercooler questions,add it and select “add a topic.” You can drag to reorder, and remove topics as well.

3. To build the muscle of engagement, we recommend running Watercooler for the duration of the event, including several days beforehand.

Speaker lottery

To give a few lucky attendees the ability to speak with a guest of honor (think: the keynote speaker, a panelist, or the emcee), you can set up a lottery using Donut!

  1. Create a Slack channel, for example #keynote-lottery. Or, you can add a Donut lottery to an existing channel, for example a channel dedicated to a specific session like #future-of-work-panel

  2. Add Donut to the channel — we recommend setting this program up for pairs of 3+ people at a time.

  3. Make sure to select the Lottery type of intro, and select the panelists or speakers as the “fixed participant(s)

4. Customize the intro message so that it’s clear what to expect from the call and how the space can be used most productively!

5. Lotteries can be run alongside Watercooler, to provide additional opportunities for participants to engage in conversation by reacting to relevant conversation prompts using Donut’s Watercooler feature: toggle to the “Watercooler” section of the menu, and add Watercooler to the channel.

6. To add your Watercooler questions, select “add a topic.” You can drag to reorder, and remove topics as well.

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