What is it? A coffee klatch is an informal meeting by a small group to talk about community issues over coffee. While there can be a leader who guides some of the conversation, the discussion is less structured than other dialogue processes. The informal setting, often in a private home or local coffee shop, is less threatening and encourages attendees to form closer relationships. The casual, more intimate, meeting format, accompanied by coffee or food, offers a lot of flexibility for organizers and participants. A klatch may consists of a one-time meeting to discuss a specific issue or might comprise a series of conversations on a range of community topics. However structured, a coffee klatch may be a great way of creating community bonds and discovering issues and concerns with which neighborhood residents or community members are currently concerned.
How has it been used? The Northeast Neighborhood Partnership, based in Hartford, CT, is working to improve the health and quality of life of its community. The Partnership decided to hold a number of coffee klatches to bring people together and better define the problems facing the community. The casual gatherings were hosted in neighborhood homes and helped identify a lack of resident engagement as a primary concern. Building on this awareness, the Partnership organized neighborhood cleanups to encourage greater neighbor involvement. In addition, more coffee klatches were held, focused on generating ideas to continue to increase community engagement. The Partnership felt that the casual meetings in neighborhood residences helped begin significant change for the community. (Source: Community Solutions)