Thank you so much for your willingness to raise funds for Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha (CTUL)!
House parties are a fun and effective way to raise funds, but also to have fun and build a movement!
What do you need?
- A network of friends, co-workers, family, classmates, people from your place of worship, or any other source of connection.
- A place. Your place can be great, but you can also incorporate the help of your friend to host
- Food and drink. Not technically essential, but a great way to draw people in.
Basic planning steps
- Pick a date and time. Ideally you should give yourself at least a month or two to plan the party. It is best to invite people at least three weeks ahead of time.
- Set goals. How many people would you like to attend? How much would you like to raise? House parties are a great opportunity to help build the movement by starting and deepening interpersonal relationship, develop a greater understanding of CTUL’s work, and develop a sense of community. And they are of course also one of the most effective ways to raise funds!
- Create invitation text. Whether on social media, email, written invitations, or some combination. You can take language from our sample invitation text.
- Build your list. Spend a few minutes thinking about folks you can invite. Consider inviting friends, neighbors, family, coworkers, people from your school, organization, or place of worship. It’s important to not make decisions for people or make assumptions about folks; invite them and allow people to make their own decision. Many small donations can move a mountain, so parties are encouraged across the range of financial ability.
- Decide on your program. Think about what you want to do with folks during the time they are with you. If the party is connected to a specific campaign, think about who can talk about the campaign and what you are asking people to do. Who will do the fundraising pitch? Think about food – snacks or a meal? Potluck? How long will it be? Some of this information can be included on the invitation. See our sample program.
- Create a budget. Think about how much you may spend on food, drinks,entertainment (if any), paper goods, etc. Food can be as simple as some light snacks(chips, cheese) and soft refreshments, or feel free to be more elaborate if creativity sparks you.
- Set your fundraising goal. To set your fundraising goal, you can start with what you yourself would consider donating to CTUL, then consider whether it’s reasonable to expect that the people in your network would be able to make a similar commitment.Then multiply that gift by the number of people you are going to invite and divide it in half (because some folks will choose to give less). This can be your goal.
- Invite guests. The more personal and direct your invitation, the better! If you can have an in-person conversation and tell somebody why you would like them to be there, that works the best. Other methods include phone calls, emails, texts, and social media. With social media, consider sites where your neighbors, co-workers, or family may be conversing. Include a donation link in your online invitations so people who cannot attend can still donate. Mention any accessibility accommodations.
- Make a supply list. Make sure to have the basics for serving food, receiving donations, and informing attendees about the work of CTUL. Here’s a sample supply list.
- Confirm attendance. Reminder texts, emails, social media messaging, or phone calls a couple days before the party will help ensure a good turnout. If you send out the initial invitation a few weeks before the event, also send a reminder a week or two later to help get it on people’s radar. Request RSVPs.
- Host! As people arrive at the party, welcome them, introduce them to others (especially any CTUL staff or leaders), and make sure that food and beverages are available and plentiful. You will want to have a sign-in sheet and name tags. Ask them why they support CTUL/organizing low income workers and talk to them about what level they can contribute.
- Thank. In the two days after the fundraiser, thank your attendees and donors. CTUL will send formal donation receipts to donors.
- Evaluate. Give your feedback to CTUL staff about how to improve for next time.
- Additional resources and options on planning parties
- Donor education on challenging (coming later!)
Thanks to Showing Up for Racial Justice Bay Area for many of the ideas in this toolkit.