SUCCESSFUL House Party

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1 Throwing a SUCCESSFUL House Party CompassionAndChoices.org CompassionAndChoices.org p

2 Table of Contents House Party Goals Simple Steps to Hosting a Successful House Party Getting People to Your Party Structuring Your Event House Party Ideas and Supply List Inspiring Action Frequently Asked Questions How do my guests and I benefit? You and your guests will have the opportunity to participate in an engaging discussion about end-of-life choice and decision-making. You will learn more about Compassion & Choices and what you and your friends can do to help further the cause whether by making a financial contribution, volunteering, or both. What is involved in being a host? Nothing more than the usual party-planning responsibilities: picking a date, inviting your friends, preparing your favorite party dishes, planning the event and enjoying your party. What is the Evite? An Evite is an electronic invitation sent via the Internet. This allows for distribution and RSVPs to be handled as . We have designed a Compassion & Choices house party Evite for you to use. All you need to do is fill in your specific party information, and we will do the rest. Why so many reminders to guests? As a general rule, for every reminder you give, you will double the number of people who attend. Is it OK to have the party be just a friend-raiser and not ask for donations? Yes. But we find that when people donate, even if they give just $5, they are more likely to become actively involved because they are invested. 13

3 FAQs House Party Goals How many people should I invite? Figure out how many people you can fit comfortably in the space you will be using for your party. The general rule of thumb is to invite three times as many people as you hope will attend your party. What are the reasons for having a co-host? A co-host s primary purpose is to expand and diversify your guest list, as well as share the tasks involved in planning and preparation. If you have a great space but not much of a guest list, a great guest list but a small space, or a great space and great list but limited time to plan, co-hosting may be just the thing for you. Who should I invite? Your family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, members of other groups you belong to or participate in, and anyone who you think is concerned about end-of-life care. Keep in mind that one of the main functions of your party is to reach out to a diverse audience, including people who may not be familiar with Compassion & Choices or its work. How does Compassion & Choices benefit? We gain donations, volunteers and activists. House parties are an important component of educating people about Compassion & Choices and its work. By hosting a house party, you and your guests express your financial and emotional support for Compassion & Choices, inspiring others to do the same. A Compassion & Choices house party serves a variety of purposes: It s a fun opportunity for fundraising and friendraising. We hope attending your event will be the first in a series of steps that guests take to support and ultimately become a part of our work. At the party, guests will be invited to make donations to Compassion & Choices, sign up to receive important notifications, and volunteer for a variety of projects and opportunities including hosting their own house party. Our goal is to raise at least $500 from each party, but we also recognize the importance of friend-raising. House parties give us the chance to meet your friends and to build a base of Compassion & Choices supporters. Hosting a house party is also a great way for you to unite with your friends, express support for end-of-life choice, and help raise awareness of Compassion & Choices and its work. Your guests will have the opportunity to meet and speak with a member of the Compassion & Choices staff. 12 1

4 Simple Steps to Hosting a Successful House Party Pick a Date: Confirm it with me at: Build Your Guest List and Send Invitations: Go through your address book, lists and Facebook contacts. Invite friends, neighbors and co-workers. You can also ask each guest to bring a friend. Keep in mind that house parties are a great mechanism for reaching out to a diverse audience. Consider recruiting a co-host who can also supply an invitation list. Decide whether you want to send out snailmail invitations, electronic invitations or both. Make sure your invitations note that your house party is also a fundraising event. A simple line such as, Remember to bring your checkbook, or, Join me in supporting the work of Compassion & Choices, are two such approaches. The person who makes the ask should also indicate how to donate. For example, I ll pass around contribution envelopes; please fill out your information, place your check inside, and then give it back to me. We know that asking for donations may not be your favorite part of hosting the event, but it is donations that allow Compassion & Choices to make a difference in the donor s community. Plan the Event: Before your party, plan out the afternoon or evening to ensure things run smoothly, and so you can relax and enjoy the party with your friends. Think about set-up, what supplies such as food and drinks will be needed, and how you would like to structure your party. Make sure you have planned how you will ask your guests to contribute or get involved. 2 11

5 Inspiring Action The goal of your party is to generate support for aid in dying. Inspiring someone to become involved is the first step. Sharing a personal story is the most effective way to communicate why no one should suffer at the end of life, why you support Compassion & Choices, and what about the organization s work is compelling enough for you to host this party. This should be done before you introduce the Compassion & Choices representative. The most important part of your party is to capture the interest generated from your story and the presentation. The Compassion & Choices representative will provide one or more ways to take action. Decide before your party whether you will make this request or whether you would prefer to have our representative make it. The request should be made immediately following the Compassion & Choices presentation. Action items may include: Enjoy Your Party: Relax with your friends, supporters and prospects. Prepare an introduction that explains why you support end-of-life choice. Follow Up: We will provide you with petitions, which also serve as sign-up sheets. Please urge your guests to fill them out and take a few with them; it will also help you make sure that you thank your guests for attending the party and for supporting Compassion & Choices. We will also provide you with personal thank-you cards to send to each donor. Be sure to identify guests who are particularly interested in becoming involved. Make the Compassion & Choices staff member aware of this person because, although we always follow up, it is important for us to capture new energy right away. Please also encourage your guests to contact Compassion & Choices about hosting their own house party. Signing a petition Submitting a letter to the editor Hosting a party Contacting a politician Making calls or canvassing Liking us on Facebook Donating to Compassion & Choices Asking for donations 10 3

6 Getting People to Your Party 1 Create a guest list. Attendance is critical to a successful house party. Our experience suggests that you invite three times the number of people you hope will attend. Base this number on how many guests will fit comfortably in your home or gathering location. If you are hosting a larger party or wish to build your guest list, consider co-hosting the event so that you can share the planning and invitation responsibilities with another person. 2 3 If you know the date of your party well in advance, send out a save the date announcement. Create and send invitations. We can design and send your Evite or snail-mail invitations for you, directing RSVPs your way. Please provide me with party information and your guests addresses (mailing or ). If you would rather send the invitations on your own, feel free to ask for help with editing and design. Compassion & Choices will supply: A Compassion & Choices representative to meet and talk with your guests A Compassion & Choices PowerPoint presentation Petition forms Handout materials (membership and donor brochures, referral cards, magazines, etc.) An opportunity for you and your guests to get involved, take action, and become a driving force in improving end-of-life care and choice. Whichever type of invitation you go with, it is important that you include the following information: Directions to your house RSVP information A brief explanation of Compassion & Choices work and why you support our organization A request that guests bring their checkbooks 4 9

7 House Party Ideas & Supply List The following is a list of supplies typically needed for a house party, as well as some set-up suggestions. Again, feel free to customize them for your party. Food and Drink: Finger foods are great and involve less clean-up. Food preparation can be simple and should not be extravagant. A financial gift of your own will motivate your guests to follow your lead more than a lavish spread. If planning a buffet-style event, try to choose an area that is easy to access, and have food that guests can eat while mingling. Also make sure there is an area to place used glasses, plates or utensils, as well as a readily visible trash container. Some buffet and serving ideas: Fruit and veggie platters Chips and dips Cheese and crackers Cold cuts Sub sandwiches cut into small portions Pizza cut into small squares Pita and hummus Pasta or potato salads Breads or rolls Skewer-style grilled veggies, meats or seafood 8 Soups Cookies, brownies or other sweets Selection of alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages Plates Cups or glasses Napkins Utensils Condiments if appropriate based on foods you provide 4 Facebook events are a useful tool for generating excitement and reaching a wider audience. However, they are easily overlooked so should only be used as a supplement to your official invitation. Creating a Facebook event helps us get more likes on the Compassion & Choices Facebook page, which is an important part of reaching our broader goal. 5 6 Send out a reminder or text message to all your guests the week before the party. Make reminder phone calls a few days prior to your party to invitees who have not responded to your invitation. Feel free to ask Compassion & Choices to help with this. 7 Maintain your RSVP d guest list so you know who and how many to expect. Consider inviting: Friends Family Neighbors Co-workers Legislators & other community leaders Your doctor or other health care provider Book club members Civic organizations Sports teams Members from your church Members of other groups you are active in Additionally, if you d like, Compassion & Choices can provide you with a list of its members and supporters who reside in your area. 5

8 Structuring Your Event Generally, a house party should last about two hours. The following is a rough timeline for a typical evening house party. Feel free to make the party your own by changing the timeline to fit your needs. Sample Party Timeline (can start at any time): 6:00-6:30 Host welcomes arriving guests. Compassion & Choices staff representative sets up the presentation equipment. 6:30-7:00 Guests mingle, meet each other, enjoy food and drink, etc. 7:00-7:30 As host, you explain your support for Compassion & Choices and introduce the staff representative, who will make a minute presentation about Compassion & Choices and its goals within your community. Guests can then ask questions and engage in conversation about Compassion & Choices. You and/ or the Compassion & Choices representative will then invite guests to take action. 7:30-8:00 You and the Compassion & Choices representative thank your guests for coming and for their support. At your discretion, you can invite your guests to stay for more refreshments and conversation. 6 7

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