10 Steps to Hosting an ACLU House Party
Step 1: Decide whether to host alone or with a co-host. Co-hosting is often a good idea because you combine each host's network of friends and family, thereby increasing the size of the guest list. Fundraising house parties are generally 1-2 hour events.
Step 2: Secure a location – preferably a free one, like your home, a friendly business or community space, or a church fellowship hall. Make sure the location is easily accessible (close to public transit, plenty of parking, etc.).
Step 3: Set the date and time; think at least 3-4 weeks out.
Step 4: Each host should create an invitation list, which is then combined. About 1/3 of the people you invite will attend, so invite LOTS of people. Invite your family, friends, neighbors, church members, co-workers, those in your political and rotary clubs, bingo and book groups, and sports leagues. Be creative.
Step 5: Mail/distribute your invitations to guests at least 2 weeks before your event.
Step 6: Work with an ACLU of North Carolina staff member on the program for your house party. Parties usually include time for socializing, a welcome from the host(s), an update from ACLU of North Carolina staff (if available) or other person knowledgable about ACLU issues, and time for Q&A. You are encouraged to share why you support the ACLU or share more about the civil liberties issues dearest to you.
Step 7: Follow up the week before the event with everyone who hasn’t responded; give a quick call and encourage them to come – and if they can’t come encourage them to make a financial contribution. They may send checks to you that you’ll collect and forward to our office, or they may contribute directly at https://action.aclu.org/give/support-aclu-north-carolina?ms=web__aff_nc_menu_donate
Step 8: You’re welcome to serve refreshments – anything from coffee and cookies to a potluck dinner! It’s up to you. People enjoy a little refreshment with their socializing but never let the fear of needing to put out a buffet keep you from having an event. People are coming because you asked them to – not for the free meal. Also consider asking a local business to donate coffee, drinks, desserts, or other food items for the event. A simple ask is often all it takes – you’d be surprised how many businesses welcome the opportunity to give back to the community; but don’t feel pressured to solicit donations from businesses.
Step 9: On the day of the event, set out a few chairs for guests and clear a tabletop or countertop for handouts and materials.
Step 10: You’re all set – Open the door and have a great time! The ACLU can provide you with donation envelopes and other printed materials. Please contact us by email at [email protected].