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Five Questions to Ask Before Your Next House Party

We’ll be at the Nonprofit Learning Lab’s Denver Institute today talking about house parties. If you’ve been following Front Range Source for even a little while, you’ll know that we simply love a good house party!

The idea is that a volunteer hosts an intimate gathering of friends, colleagues, or neighbors to introduce new people to your cause, or to raise money for a particular effort such as a capital campaign.

A good house party can expand your prospect pool, cultivate potential donors, and raise money. In a small setting, there’s plenty of opportunity to meet every guest and learn more about their interests and why they might care about your cause or project.

If done right, the amount of work for your nonprofit is minimal and the payoff can be tremendous.

What do we mean by “done right”? As always with us, it’s about having a plan.

Here are five questions to answer before you even begin thinking about invitations or food (as a special bonus, we’ve even put together a worksheet for you):

Question 1. What’s your goal?

Every fundraising event must have an overarching goal. Don’t try to accomplish too much in one event! Be as specific as possible about what you want to achieve. For example:

Are you raising money for a specific program or campaign?

Or are you working on building a larger pool of unrestricted donors?

Are you launching a donor club or society?

Are you trying to grow your pool of prospects in a particular demographic (age, geography, gender, political affiliation)?

Are you trying to expand your fundraising capacity by engaging volunteers in hosting gatherings?

Question 2. Who’s your target audience?

The best house parties are intimate gatherings of like-minded people who will connect well with one another. The selection of a host needs to dovetail with your overarching goal and with your target audience.

Question 3.  What are your specific objectives?

Have SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound) objectives for your house party. But, beware of having too many objectives. Focus!

Here are some simple objectives to get you started:

Financial Objective: How much do you intend to raise?

Participation Objective: How many people will you invite? How many will come?

Gift Objective: How many people will give? At what levels?

Question 4. What’s your follow up strategy?

What will you do after the house party to make sure your objectives are met? How will you thank house party participants? And how will you thank the host? Perhaps most importantly, how will you convert house party participants to organizational donors? (Hint: Welcome packets are a great way to start bringing people more permanently into the fold.)

Question 5: How will you know if you succeeded?

What is your plan for creating an analysis of the house party? What kind of post-event debrief will you do? What numbers will you analyze? You need to know if your house party strategy worked so you can either do it again the same way or modify next time.

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll be in a good position to identify the right host and execute a productive House Party.

If you need a little more help mapping out your plan, our detailed How to Have a House Party e-workbook can help you answer all these questions and more.

Right now we’re offering 10 percent off our e-workbooks!  Just enter the code SAVE10 in our store to receive the discount. 


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