The Diamond Jubilee is fast approaching and we at CHI want to encourage all of our supporters to gather their family and friends for a fundraising party (a pot luck, BBQ, drinks, or even just dessert) and then tune into Bonnie and Fred Cappuccino’s webcast at 5pm EST on July 14.
We envision the day as one in which people around the world will join together, enjoy each other’s company, learn more about Child Haven International, and pledge toward our Endowment Fund to help keep CHI strong into the future. It should be a truly special day, celebrating an awesome organization and an amazing couple. Just imagine how many funds could be raised if each one of us hosts a party with friends and family!
We want to make it as easy as possible for you to do this – so here are our Top Ten Tips for a great Diamond Jubilee fundraising party.
Keep it Simple.
Easy is good, especially when it comes to hosting a party. Our top tip is to keep everything as simple as possible. From the food to the invitations to the clean up – we want you to have a no stress, no mess, fun and festive event that you can enjoy with your friends and family.
Keep the idea of simplicity in mind through every step of the planning process and through the event itself. Your focus should be on enjoying your company and trying to raise money for the endowment fund, not on the complicated soufflé recipe that you are attempting for the first time.
Start Planning and Get Help.
It’s a good idea to start planning about 4 weeks prior to your party date. Give some thought to the menu, your guest list, the location and the time. Make a plan to do shopping and house cleaning a day or two before your party. Try to pick dishes that you can make or at least prep for the day before. Get as many items taken care of ahead of time as possible so that you can relax and enjoy the party itself.
Trying to get everything done by yourself can be stressful. Delegate duties to some of your friends…they’re usually happy to help out, and it’s a lot more fun! Check in ahead of time so your helpers know it’s his/her job to freshen drinks, help with food, talk about CHI, or whatever else you think you’ll need help with over the course of the party.
If you have friends who are also avid supporters of Child Haven, enlist them to help at the party to act as ambassadors of CHI; these people can wear nametags, greet people at the door and collect names on a sign-in/contact sheet, help ease the conversation amongst guests, help receive donations, and thank people as they leave at the end of the night.
Food and Drink.
Food makes people happy and happy people are more generous. It is completely up to you what, if anything, you would like to serve for food and drinks at your party. From a full scale sit down dinner party, to a potluck and BYO-drink setup, to some simple appetizers and punch – go as elaborate or simple as you wish.
Decide on the menu pretty early in your party planning process and make a list of all of the food and drinks that you will need to purchase from the grocery store. Plan your food list and shop a few days ahead of time. Dishes that can be prepared in advance and frozen will save you much needed time on the day of the party.
If your’e having a potluck, make sure everyone knows which type of dish they are tasked with bringing. Don’t forget to include drinks, appetizers, and desserts on the potluck menu – you could even include some compostable or recyclable plates and cups on the list too.
Determine what type of serving dishes you are going to need and be sure you have everything. If there’s something that you’re missing, call a friend to see if you can borrow something, or add the item to your shopping list. Remember to add non-alcoholic drinks to your menu. Not everyone will want alcohol, and the designated drivers will be happy to have some refreshments too.
Spread the Word.
As soon as you have the core details of the party down (food, location, time) it’s time to start inviting the guests. Optimally, people should receive their invitations 2 weeks before the party. If you want to send out a ‘Save the Date’ earlier, that would be fine too. This gives your guests time to schedule the event into their calendar, arrange for babysitters or make travel arrangements.
Reach out to your friends, family, colleagues, members of religious or social groups, fellow parents or your children’s teachers – anyone who you believe would care about the work of Child Haven International and helping destitute women and children.
It is important to invite more guests than you hope will show up. A general rule is to send invitations to two or three times your goal – so invite 60 guests if you would like 20 people to attend. Of course, this rule will vary depending on the connection your guests have to the goals of our project and to you.
Whether you’re sending out invites through the mail or using one of the easy internet invitation sites like Evite, it’s important to send a proper invitation to your event. You want your guests to know what to expect – a full dinner or just snacks, are drinks provided or is it a ‘bring your own’ affair, what’s the time frame, driving directions, and (this is the big one) that this is a Fundraising Party and you are hoping for a donation from them to the Diamond Jubilee Endowment Fund. It is wise to ensure that guests aren’t surprised by your request for donations, so make it clear on the invitation. Phrases such as “donations gratefully accepted” or “please remember to bring your checkbooks” will work to get the idea across.
You also have the option of requesting a set amount of money in advance versus an open-ended request. The benefit of asking for a set donation in advance is that you’ll know basically how much you’ll be raising ahead of time and can relax a bit more at the party without worrying about guests departing before making a contribution. However, this approach has drawbacks, as the set amount can often be either too much for some attendees, or less than the attendee would have otherwise given had you left the solicitation open-ended. For the most part, not specifying a donation amount can make your fundraising amounts less predictable, but people often tend to raise more money this way. The choice is yours.
You should also indicate on your invitation that there will be a presentation about Child Haven with a webcast from Bonnie and Fred Cappuccino at 5pm EST, to ensure that as many people as possible will be in attendance for this portion of the event. It is also smart to add a link on email invitations as well as an option on paper invitations for those who cannot attend but still wish to contribute – you might make some money before the event even begins!
As the party date approaches, it would be a good idea to make some follow up phone calls or send reminder emails in order to collect all your RSVPs. If people are unable to attend be sure to give them our website address www.childhaven.ca and explain how easy it is to make a donation online.
Here are a few sample invites that we put together. Feel free to download them and fill in your own specific details.
Set the Mood.
This is one of the party planning tips that some people tend to overlook. It really helps to create a festive party atmosphere – whether this is through decorations, activities, the food and drinks, background music, or simply your amazing hosting abilities – Parties should be fun and you are key to making this happen.
Play background music to liven up the atmosphere. Make sure it’s played loud enough to hear, but not so loud that it’s a distraction. Your music could go along with your theme or it could just be music that you enjoy. Set up a playlist ahead of time so that you don’t have to worry about picking songs or changing CD’s while the party is in full swing.
Set the tone from the very beginning. Greet all your guests in person, if possible, and welcome them to your home. Introduce guests to each other, offer drinks and nibbles, and get the conversation started. Once things start flowing you can attend to last-minute details. During the party, be sure you get a chance to talk to everyone there, answer any questions or concerns they may have, and thank them for coming.
Be sure to provide adequate seating for your guests. Donation cards should be available at the entrance or near the seating areas, so that after the webcast or anytime during the party guests will feel free to donate.
Set a time table and try to stick to it.
Keep in mind that the webcast will begin at 5pm EST. You’ll want to time the party so that you have at least a half hour to an hour for guest to mingle, chat, and get something to eat or drink before the webcast begins. Then plan for another half hour to hour after the webcast for more mingling, time to ask questions, and plenty of time to give donations.
When guests arrive, they can put their names down on a sign-in sheet, along with their email addresses if they wish to receive email updates from Child Haven International. They should be served drinks and snacks, just like a regular party.
If you or a fellow CHI supporter wants to do a brief speech or presentation about Child Haven and your experience with us, please feel free but it’s not a requirement for hosting. This can be done before or after the webcast and can include your personal photos or ones from our website or Facebook page.
Relax and Have Fun.
The best thing you can do to ensure everyone has an enjoyable event is to have fun yourself.
If your’e anxious about everything going perfectly you can double-check the details the night before the party by doing a quick walkthrough, starting at your front door, as if you were a guest, and proceeding through your home. Make sure there is an area for guest’s coats, extra soap and clean hand towels in the bathroom. Count your serving plates and glasses to make sure there are enough. Do a run through of how you’re going to show Bonnie and Fred’s webcast and any other videos or photos you want to present.
Ask for Donations.
After the webcast has ended, you the host or an informed and well-spoken helper should stand up and thank everyone for attending and call on all the guests to make a donation. It is beneficial if you as the host are able to make a donation and willing to publicly share that information. This gesture shows that you believe in our organization, and coming from you this will help inspire your friends to do the same. After this portion, the party doesn’t end immediately. Take some time to let everyone process what they have seen and heard before they decide if and how much to donate.
There should be several opportunities for people to donate – we want to make it very easy for them once they have decided to give. If at all possible, you should have the ability to take credit card payments by setting up a laptop open to our Donate page. You can also accept checks made out to Child Haven International, and cash. Let everyone know that donations are tax deductible, but we will need their name, address, and donation amount in order to send them a tax receipt.
CHI is a particularly good charity for a self hosted fundraising party because with us, a little money can go a very long way, so guests will not feel pressured into contributing more than they can afford. It should be made very clear that every little bit helps and that it is okay if someone chooses not to donate at this time.
Know your Charity.
If your’e inviting people into your home for a fundraising party, you better know a bit about the organization that you are raising funds for. If you’re new to CHI, take some time to visit our website and get some history on Child Haven and Bonnie and Fred Cappuccino.
Do you know how many children the Cappuccino’s have or that they lived in India for 18 months? When was CHI founded and how many children’s homes do they support today?
The more knowledgeable and enthusiastic you are about CHI the more willing your guests will be to support your cause. Think of this party as a way to inform people about the work that Child Haven International does with destitute women and children, not only as an opportunity to ask for donations. Keep in mind our goal of raising 6 million dollars for the Diamond Jubilee Endowment Fund and that no donation is too small – it all adds up.
Express your Gratitude.
After the party, send thank you notes by mail or email to everyone who came, whether they donated or not. Emails can include a link to our website and donation page. This is also a good chance to follow up with people who said they were possibly interested in donating later on or even hosting their own fundraising party. This leaves guests with a positive impression and let’s them know how grateful we all are for their help.
It really is that easy! The key is to be very specific from the start that the purpose of the party is to raise funds for CHI’s Diamond Jubilee Endowment Fund – that way your guests are clear about their role from the beginning and won’t be surprised or offended that they are expected to reach for their wallets! But make it clear that there is no pressure to donate and be sure to say thank-you.
We hope you will consider hosting a fundraising party on July 14th. It is a fun way to catch up with friends while raising awareness of some of the problems in the world that Child Haven International is striving to improve. Your event has the potential to bring in several thousand dollars for the Endowment Fund, as well as invaluable support and connections.
If you already have plans for the 14th of July but would still like to host a party – by all means go right ahead. We welcome any and all efforts to help raise funds for Child Haven International and the Diamond Jubilee Endowment Fund.
Once you have decided to host – please let us know. We’ll be listing the parties taking place around you and around the globe!! Let’s see if we can get over 100 parties posted on our website!
Until next time,