Can coffee mornings still help charities, and raise community spirit?
Traditionally, coffee mornings were a popular method of getting the local community together socially, and at the same time raising money for charity. As times have changed, the way we chat, socialise and meet people has changed, and so has the way we support charities. However, even in the current digital age, when so much communication is online via email, social media and text messages, coffee mornings are still popular. The reason for this is that technology cannot imitate the smell, warmth and comfort of a hot drink, the sight and taste of a delicious cake at our fingertips, and most importantly, human contact. A coffee morning provides what Facebook and iPhones cannot – a place to sit and interact face-to-face over our favourite drink. In addition, because it’s for charity, we feel justified in making time for it in our busy lifestyles.
Planning a coffee morning
When planning a coffee morning, the first thing to do is to decide on a venue and a date. If the coffee morning is for a particular charity, you might want to check their website to see if a day is put aside for a nationally recognised coffee morning. The venue can be at home, in your garden (in the summer), workplace, or, if you are planning a bigger event, investigate whether a bigger coffee morning can be held in a community area such as a community centre, church hall or school.
You will need facilities to serve coffee, tables and chairs, toilet facilities, and a collection box, which will be available from your chosen charity, for donations. It is up to you whether you sell coffee for a fixed price or accept any amount as a goodwill gesture, and whether you have other fundraising events going on at the same time, such as a raffle or cake sale. If your coffee morning is just for friends and family, send invitations (asking your guests to RSVP to help you plan), and if it is a much bigger event, promote it using posters around local schools, toddler groups, and shops. You could even get the local newspaper involved and contact the radio station for your area, and use social media to spread the word. Many charities provide kits to help with the planning of a coffee morning; you can download posters advertising the event with their logo, or request copies from their national office; they may have literature for your guests, providing them with more information about the charity.
For a coffee morning at home or work, Tassimo coffee makers make delicious coffees, teas, hot chocolates, speciality coffees and more, to indulge your guests. You may want to provide cakes with your coffee – collect them in advance, choosing cakes with a distant eat-by date, unless you want to do it all last-minute or bake your own. Boxes of small cakes that are wrapped individually are ideal for reasons of hygiene and convenience. You may want to cater for those who want something different to coffee and cake – for example decaffeinated coffee, tea, squash, water for children and plain nut-free biscuits.
Hosting a coffee morning is a great idea to raise money for charity and also for the wider benefits, which can be seen in the local community coming together. Fostering a sense of community spirit is good for local campaigns, discussing community issues, friendships and relationships, looking out for one another, and tackling crime in the area. This in itself makes a coffee morning invaluable in a world where local community spirit seems to be declining.