Fundraiser parties are so fun to attend, but they seem like a ton of work to pull off. As someone who supports a number of local food and community-grown initiatives, I’ve thought about throwing a casual fundraiser myself, but I thought I'd need a lot of money and time to make it happen. Recently, I went to an event that completely changed my mind--the fundraiser party was completely homegrown, low-maintenance, low-cost, and most of all, fun. It made me wonder, could members and friends of CNG do something like this, too? To answer this question, I followed-up with the inspiring host, Erika Inwald, of the Domestic Fair Trade Association.
Erika used her 25th birthday as an opportunity to gather friends and family for a fundraiser for the DFTA--a nonprofit that seeks to build supply chains dedicated to principles of fairness and equity within the sustainable agriculture movement. She hosted the party in her parents’ backyard, and with the help of several friends, family, and two sponsors, threw a really successful party that raised a significant contribution for the nonprofit she cares about.
As an attendee, I was struck by the number of friends and family who came out for a night of music, home-baked desserts, and locally-sourced libations to support her cause.
With her help, I made a step-by-step guide to help you make sure that your own fundraiser party is a hit!
Step 1: Pick a Location
Everyone loves an open house or house party, so consider opening your home for the event. If that's not ideal, consider your network and who might be able to host for you, or local businesses that might rent or even donate their space for your cause.
Step 2: Find Sponsors for Food and Drink
Aside from supporting a great cause by having fun with friends, the other “selling point” for your event will be the food and drink that you’re providing. Reach out to your favorite local brewers, bakers, and restaurants to see if they’d provide anything for your event. The less complicated, the better--think in terms of one drink sponsor and one for snacks or dessert.
Consider asking local musicians to play, as well. If your budget allows, hire them! They might even donate their talents to your cause--it never hurts to ask!
Step 4: Send Out Your Invites
There are lots of free online design tools to help you make an attention-grabbing email invitation (consider Adobe Spark or Canva). Send it out via email a few weeks before your event! In it, describe the event, name your local sponsors, and most importantly, ask everyone to RSVP.
Step 5: Set up online ticket sales
If you’re requiring donations to RSVP, consider using Eventbrite. Think about an affordable price-point for your ticket, or offer a sliding scale.
“When people RSVP and pay ahead of time, they are much more likely to come. Having online ticket sales allowed us not to have a huge surprise about whether people were coming,” said Erika.
“Also, online ticket sales has a fee attached, but for the price of our tickets that fee was minimal, so the pros outweighed the cons of the fee.”
If you’re hosting a house party for Certified Naturally Grown, let us know and we can set up a page and offer online ticket sales without a fee!
Last but not least, be sure to accommodate older adults who might find online ticket sales confusing. Give people the option to pay at the door. That way, neighbors and last-minute attendees can stop by, as well.
Step 5: Assemble Your Helpers
If you’re hosting, you’ll probably want to mingle and greet your guests instead of solving last-minute problems. That’s why it’s important to have a few people volunteer to be designated helpers during the event. Ask themto sign up for roles like managing the door, serving drinks, and assisting with setting up the food.
Step 6: Welcome and Thank Your Guests
At some point in the middle of the evening, your or someone else should say a few words about the cause that everyone contributed to. Share why it’s important to you, and why their support matters! The speaker could be the organizer, or one or two other passionate supporters who might enjoy playing this role. Of course be sure to take this opportunity to thank your guests for coming.
Sign up here to host a House Party for CNG! We can design a lovely email invitation for you. We could even create a page on our website for online ticket sales without a fee. Questions? Contact Aly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
Have you ever hosted a fundraiser party? We’d love to know about your experience and if you have any tips to share!