Some of our clients have been having big success with house parties lately! We’re so excited about it that we want to remind you about this incredible tool for bringing new donors into the fold.
The idea is that board members host an intimate gathering of friends, neighbors or colleagues at their home or office to introduce new people to your organization.
Guests know they will be asked for a contribution because the invitation specifically says something to the effect of “donations will be requested.” And, of course, there is no ticket price for the event.
Ideally, the host(s) pay for refreshments or even a meal and fill the room with good prospects. 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. A brief, engaging program is presented.
And then…you invite the guests to make a gift!
There are myriad ways to make the ask. Here are just a few (the numbers cited here may not be the right numbers for your particular party…we just share them as examples):
The Challenge – Solicit a challenge gift in advance of the party. It’s nice if this gift is made by the host(s) and they make the ask: “John and I are hoping to raise $10,000 tonight. In order to get there, we’re willing to put up $2,500. Will the rest of you support the cause by giving the other $7,500 as a group? That would require gifts of approximately $500 per couple, or more of course! Will you join us in meeting this challenge?”
The Match – Solicit a matching donor before the date of the party. Again, this could be the host(s), but it doesn’t have to be. The ask: “Tonight is the perfect time to make a gift because your dollars will be leveraged. Mr. and Mrs. Jones are so excited about the effort that they’ve agreed to match every dollar raised 1 to 1. So, please consider a gift of $1,000…it’ll be worth $2,000 for the cause.”
The Project – We’ve seen it be very successful to ask for a specific amount to cover a specific project or part of a project. Scholarships are a classic example of this, but you can slice it however it works for your organization. “We’d like you to consider supporting one student for one year. For $1,500, you can offer that student an entirely new future.” Or, “It costs us $1,000 per night to keep our shelter open…will you provide safe haven for 150 people for a night, or even two nights?”
The Giving Club – Many organizations have a “giving club” at $1,000 or $1,500, or even a monthly giving club at $240. These are great for a simple house party ask: “Mary and I have been members of the Sustainers Circle for three years now and it’s great. We feel so close to the work, so involved, and we stay up-to-date on what’s happening with this issue. We’d love for you to be a part of the Circle by committing to monthly gifts of $20.” This is such an easy hook, in fact, that you might want to consider creating a giving circle if you don’t have one.
The most important things to do to ensure a successful house party are to have a plan and to make sure everyone knows their role. To help you with both of these things, we created a House Party Guide to walk you through the entire process step-by-step.
This is a great time of year to start planning spring and summer house parties. And your board members will be thrilled with their results!