General Info, Invites, Schedule, Strategy, and More
So what is a house party? What are we talking about? For those new to the concept, we'll start with the basics. A friend or associate of yours throws a house party for a political candidate they believe in, and as you might guess, they do it in their home. You arrive to find ten, twenty or more other people who have also been invited to meet the candidate. Beverages and food tidbits can be found, an MC calls the shots, and the candidate speaks to all assembled. Questions and answers follow and a social event unfolds as the party moves towards conclusion.
( Please see links on the left for an excellent soup-to-nuts house party guide as well as more information about Melanie Bacon, and a link to sign-up to be a house party host. You can also write us at electmelbacon (at) gmail.com.)
As every candidate knows, house parties are an ideal means of coming in intimate contact with potential supporters, and the Melanie Bacon campaign realizes beyond any doubt that connection with the Island County community is vital to becoming elected. "Secure the Future of Island County" is the message we're sending out, and we need community to support that intent going forward over the next decade.
This purpose of this website therefore is to provide all the basic and detailed information necessary to running a great house party for this Island County commissioner race. Above all, having a house party should be fun for everyone, as well as informative and productive for the campaign.
From Movement.Vote we've culled forth three valuable house party issues and their nuances, including TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL HOUSE PARTY, FUNDRAISING TIPS, and a very handy ORGANIZER'S TIMELINE AND PARTY CHECKLIST.
Please keep in mind that your party will have its own dynamic and expectations (thought fund raising is the primary goal), therefore, you do not have to strictly follow the bullet points and schedules below. These are just very good guidelines!
Tips for a Successful House Party
Make sure to email invitations to your guests with enough lead time to get your house party on their calendars. We suggest letting people know at least 2 weeks prior to the event, ideally 3-4 weeks.
Send a reminder to your invitees the day before the event date. Better yet, call or text your friends to remind them!
Make sure to get everyone’s name as soon as they arrive to the house party and check them off on your sign-in sheet. If they didn’t RSVP and aren’t on the sign-in sheet, make sure to get their full name, email and phone number.
Take pictures! We suggest pictures of the presenter and one group photo. Anything with action and people having a great time is super helpful! Share these pictures on social media.
Keep an eye out for guests who seem very interested, who express wanting to support and anyone else who is especially engaged – make a point to try to talk with them individually. Make sure you have at least friend you’ve recruited to help you do this!
Make a strong pitch – see the “Fundraising Tips” section below.
Follow up after your party with the most promising people – including those who could not come. Follow-up is arguably the most important part of an event. See below for sample follow-up emails.
Let the campaign team know if there are people we should follow up with.
Fundraising TipsShare the following during your ask:
“Tonight our goal is to raise $X.”
“I am pledging to donate $X today and I hope you’ll join me."
“Think about how much you want to give and then add 20% more.”
*** Get people to make a donation pledge at your house party. There are a few ways we can do this:
- Best Option: Write a check!
- Second Option: Have a laptop set up for them to donate directly to the Wave 2020 or Big 5 Battleground Fund (for those who don’t have checkbooks!)
- Third Option: Have them take out their phones and go online at the same time to donate (for those who don’t have checkbooks!)
Share the urgency of the moment: “What we really need is for people to give what you can right now so it can get to the groups as soon as possible.”
“If you are writing a check – you can give it to me and we’ll send it in.”
“I know you share my values of a thriving Democracy where all people are treated equal. There are people who are literally risking their lives everyday for whom racial justice, gender justice and civic engagement are not separate in their daily lives. They are the people at the forefront of the work you have just learned about. Let’s give all that we can towards organizing and building a United States that is dignified for all of us.”
Ideally you want to do a go-round with closing thoughts on how people want to support and get involved.
Organizer’s Timeline & Party Planning Checklist
Organizer’s Timeline & Party Planning Checklist
4 Weeks Out
- Utilize this organizer’s spreadsheet model to compile all the info in the steps below.
- Select a date to host your event.
- Start thinking of who to invite and list their info in your spreadsheet.
- Figure out where to host.
- With your venue capacity and potential guests in mind, set fundraising goal.
- Have your MVP organizer group or one-on-one call with your spreadsheet handy.
- Send out a save the date using this template.
2-3 Weeks Out
- Send out your invites using this template.
- Do a round of follow-up emails and/or calls to those who don’t respond. Tell them why this is so important to you! If they care, but can’t make it, ask for a donation you can announce at the party!
1 Week Out
- Start gathering your supplies and materials.
- Do final round of calls to folks you really want there who haven’t responded.
24 Hours Before
- Use this pre-made email reminder template to remind your guests about the upcoming festivities.
- Prep the venue and make sure the setting is ready to host your guests.
Day Of – Party Time!
We suggest that your party lasts 2 ½ hours. This gives people time to arrive, mingle, nibble on food and get drinks before you gather everyone together.
Sample Run of Show:
4:30 – 5:00pm – Finalize set-up & preparation.
5:00 – 5:30pm – Guests arrive, sign in, mingle, eat, and drink. (Signing in is very important for follow up!)
5:30 – 6:15pm – Program (Use slideshow)
- Have volunteers help take pictures of presenters.
- At the end of the program, take a group photo in front of the last slide.
6:15 – 6:30pm – Hosts makes sure everyone has signed in while guests return to mingling.
6:30 – 7:00pm – Host thanks everyone for attending as everyone says their goodbyes.
7:00 – 7:45pm – Clean-up and collecting all sign in sheets.
24 Hours After