So I’ve babbled on and on about hosting all sorts of events. But what I’ve never done is tell you the best way to go about planning. Here’s the skinny:
Your event should never cost more than 10% of what you think you can fundraise.
Read this twice: YOUR EVENT SHOULD NEVER COST MORE THAN 10% OF WHAT YOU THINK YOU CAN FUNDRAISE. If you plan to spend £100, then you should shoot to raise £1,000. Even if your not concerned about what you spend, you’ll find yourself rather disappointed if that £500 you spent on salmon cakes only equaled £100 in donations.
Have a list of guests. Invite them. Invite them again. Call and remind them to come.
Send invites. Email them. Call them. To have a good event you just need a bit of persistence. Don’t harass, plan. Let people know a month or two out, then send an invite, then call or email to see if they are coming (if they haven’t said yes or no.) Sometimes contacting them will bring a donation or two more even if they can’t attend but want to support you.
Stay away from the drippy or messy foods.
Really, you need to be focusing on your guests not scrubbing the carpet. Ideas are:
- Cheese + Crackers + Fruit
- Pre-Packaged, Pre-Cooked items you can pop on a nice plate or in a stove
- Self-Contained themes like: Pasta Party, Pizza, Taco Bowls, or and evening of Desserts
This may not apply in dinner party situations but to reduce your clean-up, it may do best as a course. Speaking of which:
Get paper, plastic, or rent your dishes (there are places that will take them back dirty – really).
Again, focus on your guests not the mess. You can find high-end things that can hit the recycle bin without you crying over them. Alternatively, there are party stores that will provide all sorts of pretty things at a reasonable rental cost. Or you can ditch the plates altogether and get yourself some nice serving items.
Have a donation bowl, tin, or something right where they walk in.
This is for your charity, and you should be proud of it. Wandering around after people have had a few glasses of wine for money may work against you, so just have people “check-in” and drop their donation right at the door. (PS – See if your charity will send along balloons, stickers, or little give-aways like badges or pens. It makes it look a bit more professional.)
Be sure that you gather everyone to thank them and give a donation pitch.
They’ve come for you and your cause. Make sure you take a moment to stand up and tell them how much it means for them to be supporting you and your charity.
This isn’t supposed to be stressful. So pick and plan an event that you can handle and enjoy!