As we turn forward the clocks (well, most of us), perhaps you’re anticipating longer days and spring weather.
Fundraisers have seasonal clocks, too. As the weather warms and the days get longer, I hope you’re thinking what I’m thinking – it’s almost party season.
And you can use parties to raise serious money.
Yes, you can organize parties any time of year. But when the party spills from the kitchen and living room onto the deck, the porch, the yard, or maybe the roof of your apartment building – well, all that fresh air puts people in a generous frame of mind.
Fundraising + parties = fundraising house parties
Fundraising events in people’s homes have been with us ever since we’ve had elections. You know the scene: a living room, a candidate, a cluster of curious people, and a pitch for support. It’s effective because it’s so personal.
Nonprofits learned long ago about the benefits of fundraising parties, especially those held in private homes. Yes, you can do them in a church basement, or a restaurant, or the back room of a bar – but the intimacy of a private home really changes the tone. The closer you get to your donors, the more money you raise.
We’re indebted to our colleague Morrie Warshawski, the king of fundraising house parties, for sharing his wisdom. In fact, he literally wrote the book.
Design your party in 90 minutes – organize it in six weeks
One of the advantages of a fundraising house party is that you can plan it in an evening and – unlike your big annual gala – organize it in a matter of weeks, rather than many months.
Here’s an exercise, Planning a Fundraising House Party, that takes 90 minutes. By the end of the exercise, you will:
- Select a strategy for asking for contributions
- Choose a “hook” to entice people to attend
- Build a six-week planning calendar, including tasks and assignments
If you start planning now, you can host your next party in May. Wouldn’t that be great?
You’re already a party planner – use that skill to raise money
If you’ve ever organized any sort of gathering – birthday, anniversary, wedding, retirement, holiday, whatever – you have party planning skills.
Gather a half-dozen of your colleagues and your party planning expertise increases exponentially.
Why not use that expertise to recruit friends and generate funds for your favorite organization?
This exercise will get you started. Happy party planning!
And stay tuned – in a later post, we’ll discuss how you can use house parties to better engage your board in fundraising.