By Craig Callen
During any holiday throughout the year, parties are thrown and charitable donations usually increase, but probably not at the same time. This year when planning a holiday bash, why not combine the two and include your favorite nonprofit? Whether you’re gathering food for someone-in-need’s Thanksgiving feast or collecting toys for a child’s birthday, here are some ideas for hosting a party that has a purpose:
Find a Partner
If your house or backyard isn’t an option, consider hosting the party at your favorite restaurant. Contact the owner and see if he or she would be willing to donate a small percentage of your party’s tab to the cause. Encourage guests to match the restaurant’s generosity, and watch the donations continue to filter in. You could also try partnering with restaurants that already have programs in place. For example, if your organization qualifies, Rubios can help you plan your fundraiser and donate 20 percent of all sales brought in, according to its website.
Make It Official
Use more than just a line or two about the cause on the invitation, as guests need to know you’re serious. Consider creating a fundraiser page through an online platform, such as Crowdrise.com or GiveForward.com. There, you can list the specifics of your fundraiser, such as its purpose and the amount of money you hope to raise. Consider waiting to share the URL on social media sites until after the event, as to build excitement and give people more of a reason to come and see what else the party has in store.
Charge a Cover
People feel more invested in things they can be personally involved in. In addition to setting up an online platform where people can donate, charge a cover at the door. Ask guests to donate what they feel is appropriate, or you could offer a suggested amount. You could also ask guests to bring an item in order to get in, such as canned food or toys (depending on your fundraising project). For example, if you host a Birthday Bag Blitz through Cheerful Giver, guests can fill the bags with items they bring, such as books, puzzles and stickers.
Make It Easy
At the main event, debut your fundraising page via a QR code made out of the page’s URL. Some QR code generators, such as QRstuff.com, do the service for free. Get creative in how you distribute the code. For example, you could have it printed on napkins or place settings if you plan to serve a meal. Ensure guests that the security of the site is in tact, as people are especially wary of scams during the holidays. Take extra measures to secure your identity, and always look for ways to protect your credit. A service like LifeLock offers intuitive threat detection and advanced Internet surveillance, which can safeguard you from fraud.
Set up a Giving Station
In addition to strategic QR code placements and receiving donations at the door, set up a giving station. This helps draw extra attention to your cause, and can be a place for guests to ask questions and get more information about the project. Make it possible for guests to donate here as well, in case they prefer giving in-person vs. online. If you’re working with a certain charity, you may want to check with them first before you tell guests who to write their checks to.