How Can Nextdoor Help During the Coronavirus?

By Roxy FavrettoLast Updated May 25, 2020 12:20:16 AM ET
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Photo Courtesy: CNBC/YouTube

Since its launch in 2011, Nextdoor steadily has earned its title as the leading neighborhood-centered private social network. At its core, the purpose of Nextdoor has always been to foster deeper connections and help bring neighbors closer. People have long been able to use this free neighborhood hub to put the word out about a lost pet, share safety information and arrange meetups.

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During the coronavirus pandemic, social distancing has kept people physically apart. However, it's become as important as ever to make and maintain connections with those around you — safely. Nextdoor is a tool that helps you do so, giving you and your neighbors a resource to rely on during uncertain times and beyond.

A Neighborhood Communication Hub

Nextdoor is an ideal platform for neighbors who want to help neighbors and others nearby who need assistance. To sign up for the service, you apply using your real name and address. You’re then given access to a hyperlocal page on the site that’s only accessible by other people who live near you. When you make a post, or when others post to your neighborhood’s page, only those who live in the neighborhood can see the post.

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Photo Courtesy: Arlington County/Flickr

As the COVID-19 pandemic began taking a toll on communities across the U.S., Nextdoor reported an increase in daily use of about 80%. A large portion of posts have been from neighbors offering to buy groceries for vulnerable neighbors, offering to share scarce items like toilet paper and sharing advice on how to navigate the crisis. In some cities, users post updates about what's in stock at local stores. In others, people even use the platform to organize neighborhood sing-alongs.

Maps Let Neighbors Access Help

Once the coronavirus spread, Nextdoor worked to launch Help Map, a feature that lets users list services that they can provide. This makes the site an ideal way to coordinate outreach efforts between those in the neighborhood who need help, such as seniors and other at-risk people, and those who can provide assistance by dropping off groceries or running errands.

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Photo Courtesy: Travis Air Force Base/U.S. Military

To use Help Map, you need to update the app so that you're accessing the most recent version. Then, you'll be able to find it under the "More" menu. View the map or offer help. You'll also see a reminder to follow all of the guidelines set forth by your local government regarding health practices and distancing during the pandemic.

With schools closed and business openings uncertain, people are mostly staying home. There's also a Groups feature that lets users organize topic-based groups, which can be useful for those looking for help on topics pertaining to the coronavirus. For example, if you want to know how you can keep your kids connected or busy during stay-at-home orders, the Groups feature could have the information you need — all from your trusted neighbors.

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Support Local Businesses

Not all of your neighbors are residences. Some of them are the valued businesses that help foster a sense of community in your area. The spread of the coronavirus has had a devastating effect on small businesses across the United States, closing hundreds of thousands of restaurants, shops and other local companies. The challenges that local businesses face could be — for some — insurmountable. In late March, Nextdoor announced several ways that people can use the app to support their favorite businesses.

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Photo Courtesy: U.S. Army Europe

While local shops have always had the ability to sign up for free and use Nextdoor to interact with users, the app has rolled out extra services to provide these businesses with support. These services include gift card links in the Business Profile section, takeout and delivery links under business pages and the ability to link to GoFundMe campaigns in businesses' Story sections. Nextdoor also pledged to boost the visibility of business postings, placing them in the main news feed to make sure everyone in the neighborhood has the most up-to-date information about each store.

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