A picture after one of my Neighbor Coffee Hours in Washington, D.C.
What is a Neighbor Coffee Hour and how does it work?
A Neighbor Coffee Hour is a gathering where neighbors get to know each other in a comfortable setting. Neighbor Coffee Hours can be hosted on a front porch, at a park, or in someone’s home.
At a Neighbor Coffee Hour, the host makes coffee and neighbors bring something to share. Over the course of the hour, neighbors get to know each other while discussing local happenings or relevant community events. Or perhaps even the latest episode of their favorite TV show…
By the end of the hour, all of the folks who aren’t already Nextdoor members should be invited to join Nextdoor as a way to stay in touch and continue the conversation. In my neighborhood in D.C., my apartment floor uses a private Nextdoor group to stay connected outside of our regular get togethers.
You can find more information here about how to set up and use Nextdoor groups.
How to organize a Neighborhood Social
- Pick a date and time. In my experience, I have found that the optimal time to hold a Neighbor Coffee Hour is Saturday morning between 10:30am and 11:30am, but that may vary by neighborhood.
- Build your team. I recommend getting another neighbor to help coordinate the event. You will have more fun this way and can divide the limited workload. Personally, I shared the idea with a couple of my neighbors in passing, and one volunteered to help.
- Promote your Coffee Hour. The first step is to post an event on Nextdoor. Click here for instructions. Next, print and distribute flyers in your neighborhood. Below are some helpful tips:
- Use yellow paper for flyers because it stands out.
- Tape the flyer at eye-level in the middle of door.
- Only use one inch of tape per flyer, and apply the tape along the horizontal plane at the top of the flyer. This will make it easier for neighbors to take the flyer off and not leave tape on their door.
- Be sure to include invitation links on flyers to join Nextdoor.
- Click here to download and customize the flyer template I use.
- If there are only a few neighbors to invite, a handwritten invitation adds a nice touch.
- I also find that leaving reminder sticky notes on neighbors’ doors is helpful!
- Prepare for your event. One week prior, as well as the night before the event, post on Nextdoor to remind your neighbors and build excitement. Other than that, make coffee, which I am sure you can do without my instructions!
- Enjoy the event. Your neighbors will trickle in. When they arrive, make them feel at home and include them in the conversation. Make sure to introduce each neighbor who attends your event to the group, and make sure they have signed up for Nextdoor. If they have not, encourage them to download the app and sign up. Then add them to your group!
- Memorialize the event. Your neighbors will tell you that they had a great time and want to attend another event – I recommend holding a Coffee Hour once per quarter. To memorialize the Coffee Hour, post an event recap on Nextdoor, post pictures of the fun, and remember to thank everyone for attending!
What a great idea! I hope to start obe in my area soon. Thanks for the instructions.