Donut Calls

Here is our guide to Donut calls.

We put this guide together after using Donut to facilitate bonds in our remote company for years.

Donut calls, also known as “coffee chats” or “random pairings,” involve pairing team members for casual virtual conversations to foster connections and collaboration. This activity entails scheduling regular sessions where participants are randomly matched with a colleague for a short chat over coffee or tea. By facilitating organic interactions and cross-departmental networking, Donut calls cultivate a sense of community, break down silos, and strengthen relationships within the team.

Ideal group size: 

10 to 50 participants

Activity duration:

15 to 30 minutes



What you’ll need:

  • Slack with the Donut integration installed
  • Virtual coffee or tea for participants to enjoy during the calls

How to do it:

Step 1: Set Up Communication Platform

First, set up Slack and download the Donut integration, which supports random pairing features for Donut calls.

Step 2: Set Up Donut Integration

Next, customize Donut’s settings to fit your team’s preferences.

Step 3: Schedule Donut Calls

You can set a regular schedule for Donut calls, such as weekly or biweekly, and determine the duration of each session.

Step 4: Invite Participants

After scheduling calls, share the schedule and instructions for joining the calls through the communication platform, inviting all team members to join the Donut calls.

Step 5: Random Pairing

The Donut integration will randomly pair team members for each call, ensuring that participants can connect with different colleagues each time.

Step 6: Conduct Conversations

Participants can engage in casual conversations with their paired colleagues during the scheduled Donut calls, discussing topics of mutual interest or getting to know each other better.

Step 7: Provide Conversation Starters

Optionally, offer conversation starters or discussion prompts to facilitate meaningful interactions and help participants break the ice if needed.

Step 8: Monitor Engagement

Hosts can monitor participant engagement and feedback to ensure that the Donut calls effectively foster connections and collaboration within the team.

Examples of games or activities:

1. Coffee Chat Icebreaker

Participants engage in a casual virtual coffee chat, taking turns answering icebreaker questions to get to know each other better.

  1. Schedule Donut Call: Set a date and time for the virtual coffee chat Donut call and invite participants to join.
  2. Provide Icebreaker Questions: Prepare a list of fun and thought-provoking icebreaker questions for participants to discuss during the call.
  3. Random Pairing: Utilize the Donut integration to randomly pair participants for each coffee chat session.
  4. Start Conversation: Encourage participants to take turns asking and answering icebreaker questions, fostering connections and conversation.
  5. Rotate Pairings: After a set time period, rotate pairings to ensure participants can chat with different colleagues.

Coffee chat icebreakers are an effective way to promote team bonding and communication in a relaxed and informal setting. To maximize the activity’s benefits, encourage participants to be open-minded and engaged throughout the conversation.

2. Virtual Book Club Donut Calls

Participants engage in virtual book club discussions during their Donut calls, where they read and discuss a selected book together.

  1. Select a Book: Consider diverse preferences and accessibility when choosing a book that is of interest to the team and suitable for discussion.
  2. Set Reading Schedule: Establish a reading schedule with deadlines for completing specific chapters or sections of the book before each Donut call.
  3. Schedule Donut Calls: Set regular Donut call sessions to coincide with the reading schedule, providing ample discussion time.
  4. Random Pairing: Use the Donut integration to randomly pair participants for each book club Donut call, ensuring diverse perspectives.
  5. Discuss Book: During each Donut call, facilitate a discussion on the assigned reading, covering key themes, characters, and plot points.

Virtual book club Donut calls offer a unique opportunity for team members to engage in meaningful discussions and expand their knowledge while fostering a sense of community and shared learning. Participants actively contribute to the conversation to enhance the overall experience.

3. Skill Sharing Sessions

Participants utilize Donut calls to share their expertise and learn from each other through skill-sharing sessions.

  1. Identify Skills: Survey team members to identify areas of expertise or skills they are willing to share with others.
  2. Schedule Sessions: Set up regular Donut call sessions dedicated to skill sharing, allocating time slots for each presenter.
  3. Random Pairing: Use the Donut integration to randomly pair participants for each skill-sharing session, ensuring diverse interactions.
  4. Presentation Format: Participants present their chosen skill or topic using visuals, demonstrations, or slides to enhance understanding.
  5. Q&A and Discussion: Following each presentation, encourage attendees to ask questions and engage in discussions, fostering collaboration and knowledge exchange.

Skill-sharing sessions during Donut calls provide an excellent opportunity for team members to leverage each other’s expertise and develop new skills in a collaborative environment. Presenters can prepare engaging and informative presentations while fostering a supportive atmosphere for learning and growth.


  1. Encourage Participation: Encourage all team members to actively participate in Donut calls to maximize engagement and connection-building opportunities.
  2. Set Clear Expectations: Provide clear guidelines and expectations for Donut calls, including topics for discussion and respectful communication.
  3. Promote Diversity: Ensure random pairings in Donut calls to facilitate interactions between team members from different departments or backgrounds, promoting diversity and inclusivity.
  4. Follow Up: Encourage participants to follow up after Donut calls to continue conversations and build upon connections made during the sessions.
  5. Provide Support: Support and guide team members who may feel uncomfortable or uncertain about participating in Donut calls, fostering a supportive and inclusive environment.
  6. Keep it Casual: Maintain a relaxed and informal atmosphere during Donut calls to encourage open communication and authentic connections among team members.
  7. Celebrate Connections: Celebrate successful connections and meaningful interactions during Donut calls to reinforce the value of building relationships within the team.

Final Thoughts

Donut calls offer a simple yet powerful way to foster connections and build camaraderie among remote team members. These short meetings contribute to a more cohesive and collaborative team dynamic by providing opportunities for casual conversations and knowledge sharing. These calls strengthen relationships and boost morale within teams. Donut calls lead to lasting connections, meaningful conversations, and a sense of belonging among your team members.

Want more ideas? Check out our post on remote team meeting ideas. Also, look into Slack’s Donut integration to add this exercise to your team building rotation.

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