This post is sponsored by World Market. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
There is something about the holiday season with its abundance of gratitude and generosity that makes everyone get into the spirit of giving. We are more generous with our smiles, our time, and even more generous with our pocketbooks. With this spirit of goodwill already touching everyone, holiday entertaining becomes the perfect venue for sharing the joy and giving back. You don’t have to throw a giant event to raise some money, you can make more of a grassroots effort by hosting a small affair for friends and family–every dollar counts for most non-profits in the community and a few hundred dollars is appreciated just as much as a few thousand! With the help of my friends at World Market and their beautiful new Christmas holiday entertaining line, here are a few tips on how to host a charity party at home
How to Host a Charity Party at Home
The “Cocktails and Cocoa for Charity” party shown in this post is a great example of a small party with friends that works to raise a little money, or in our case, fill up the Christmas wish lists of some kids at a local home for abandoned children. I’ll use it as an example of what to do when you’re planning your own charity party at home so you can have a good time while doing good!
Set a goal.
Before you start planning the party, think about what it is you want to accomplish. Do you want to raise $500? Do you want supplies to fill dinner 10 baskets? Toys for a dozen deserving tots? Decide what it is you want to result from your party so you can devise a strategy on how to have your event help you get there. Our goal was to collect 20 gifts to give to the kids.
Set expectations in the invitation.
You’re going to want everyone coming to be on board with what the heart of your party is about — giving back to the community! Along with the great conversations and fabulous company you’re bound have at your party, you’ll want your guests to know the party has a purpose. In the invitation, make it clear you’re collecting donations to reach a goal and that you would love help from the party goers to reach your goal. The hard part as the host is asking for donations, but in all the fundraising I’ve done I’ve found that people are usually happy to help out if they are able.
In our “Cocktails and Cocoa for Charity” party, we asked each guest to bring a toy to donate to the children’s home, or a monetary donation so we could go buy one for them if they didn’t have time to shop. In addition to having incredible holiday entertaining pieces, World Market carries lots of unique gifts and toys! I picked up this “Goldie Blox” set and a few other fun items the kids are going to love!
Make the invitation personal.
Most of us are busy busy people and rely heavily on electronics. But if you’re throwing a party where you’re asking for someone to do more than show up, you’re going to want to give a very personal invitation to each guest. That means old school paper invitations in the mail, with a follow up phone call to make sure they are coming and to answer any questions. When you’re throwing a charity party at home, it’s best to avoid the e-vites and Facebook party RSVPs. Those can easily be ignored or forgotten where a phone call is a little harder to put out of mind.
Plan an at-home party or dinner that is manageable for you.
We’re not all Martha, and we can’t all accommodate 100 people in our living rooms…and that is really OK! Plan your party for what you can reasonably do within your space and budget constraints while keeping your charity fundraising goal in mind. If that’s five or fifty of your closest friends, on a $100 or $1000 budget, you’re party will be better if you do what is workable for you!
Our cocktail party was a small 15 person gathering, which was just right to mingle, have a good time, and gather enough gifts for the kids! We didn’t want the stress of pulling together a dinner, so we offered drinks–both alcoholic and non-alcoholic–and some easy appetizers. They were so easy, I just had to pull them out of their boxes after picking them up at World Market!
Don’t forget the fun details!
Much like a large scale charity dinner benefit, you’re going to want to make your home party fun for your guests. Pick a fun Christmas theme, or maybe make a color your unifying idea. Cocktails and Cocoa worked for us, as we have some friends who don’t drink – and plenty that do – and we wanted children to feel welcome as well if their parents couldn’t find sitters.
The small touches are what make parties so delightful; they don’t have to be complicated, just a sign you put some thought into your event. A chalkboard from World Market had the party theme written on it, cranberry champagne cocktails were dressed with rosemary stirrers in gold covered glasses, and the hot chocolate had chocolate spoons to make the rich cocoa even more sumptuous and special! Adding those little things wasn’t much effort on our part, but certainly made the party pieces pop.
Have a small activity that relates to the charity you are benefiting.
Whether your guest are 3 or 103, it’s always a great idea to have a bit of an icebreaker activity at a party to get conversation going. At a charity event, you can do something related to the charity you are benefiting to give your guests a touch point or direct interaction with the organization.
We picked up some wrapping paper and ribbon at World Market and wrapped all those toys we gathered for the kids as an activity at our event. Match your activity to the charity and you’ll have a great party talking point, which is also an excellent way to keep spreading awareness of your cause and reinforcing the need to support it.
Go the extra mile to make guests feel appreciated
At the end of the party, people are going to want to feel appreciated for their participation and donations; feeling appreciated will also go a long way to making them want to participate in a charity party again. Be sure to have a small “thank you” party favor for your guests on hand. We gave out small cans of World Market hot chocolate; they were the perfect size for party favors!
Keep track of your donations and write thank you notes
As your donations come in, be sure to keep a running list of your donors and what they gave. This will help you figure your tally at the end of the night and it will also give you a list to work from to write thank you notes to the donors. A thank you note is one last way to express appreciation for coming, for your guests’ donations, and tell them about the results of the party.
Hosting a charity dinner or charity party doesn’t have to be any more complicated than throwing a regular event at your home. You’re just asking for a little donation when your guests come to have a good time for the greater good of the community. Most people enjoy giving back, and a charity party is a great way to encourage contributions. A few easy steps and planning in the beginning with a a follow-up to let your guests know they were appreciated and you’ll be on your way to a successful charity party!