Between Thanksgiving, holiday parties and New Year’s Eve celebrations, we’ve got food, food and more food in our futures. So, why not take the opportunity to show a little gratitude by giving back as we indulge ourselves in culinary delights this holiday season?
If that sounds good to you, may we suggest hosting a dinner party for a cause?
Dinner parties are such an ideal way to raise funds for the charity of your choice because of the magical three F’s that come with them…food, friends and fun! Whether it’s casual or elegant, your guests are going to go home well-fed and enlightened.
Here are helpful tips to get your charitable dinner party underway:
Find Your Focus – Before making your lists and checking them twice, figure out who your entire event’s proceeds are going to benefit. Find a charity that supports a cause that is meaningful to you and your guests. If you’re completely stumped, ask your friends what charities they donate their time and money to and go from there. (May we suggest Glamour Gone Good?)
Start with the Basics – You can’t throw a successful party without some planning and preparation. Pick a date and time when the majority of your guests are free. Consider a mid-week gathering if weekends are booked. What a great way to break up the monotony of the week!
Choose a Theme – One of the most exhilarating parts of planning any party is deciding on the overall feel of the event. Your theme could be inspired by the season, colors, a particular cuisine, a sports team, TV show…and the list goes on. Cater to what you think would be most fun for your guests and think about how your selected charity can tie in to your theme. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to take risks and be creative.
Spread the Word – Determine the maximum capacity of your event space and go from there when putting together your guest list. Make sure everyone you want to invite gets the details of your dinner party with enough advance notice and has a way to get a hold of you leading up to and on the day of your event. One of the easiest ways to get the word out is through social media. You can create an event listing on Facebook, hype it up on Twitter or send out Evites to everyone on your mailing list.
Beautify the Room – Decide on your décor based on the night’s overall theme. Think about tableware, lighting, florals, cocktails, scented candles and anything else that will impact your guests’ experience. All too often, hosts focus so much on how their room looks and they completely forget about how it smells! Make sure your room smells warm and inviting because that will help set the mood for your entire night.
Get the Grub – Obviously, you’re going to need some sort of edibles to throw a successful dinner party. You can go all out and serve up homemade hors d’oeuvres and entrees, or ask guests to bring their signature dishes or drinks and make it a potluck. If you want to take your party to the next level, ask restaurants near you to donate their food for a good cause (a.k.a. your dinner party fundraiser) in exchange for promoting their services at your party.
Collecting Funds & Donations – Your dinner party guests are more than willing to give their fair share of cash to a good cause. Set an affordable entrance fee for the party—anywhere from $5 to $25 depending on the scale of your event. You can also consider placing a donation box or jar out so guests can donate any amount of money they want. If you have the time, also think about hosting a raffle and ask local businesses to contribute to it.
The Finale – Once everything is said and done, sign that check to the charity you celebrated. Contact your charity if you have any questions regarding how to make the donation. If you want any extra help in hosting your party, feel free to contact us at email@example.com.
-Jess Bender for Glamour Gone Good
Jess Bender recently earned her B.A. in Journalism and Environmental Policy from Fordham University. She’s currently a blogger for Glamour Gone Good and has previously written for DoSomething.org. Jess is passionate about women’s advocacy and equality.
Shikha Vasaiwala is the founder and CEO of Glamour Gone Good, Inc. and is committed to women’s and girls’ empowerment and advancement. In 2007, Shikha launched actress and cancer survivor Fran Drescher’s women’s cancer charity, Cancer Schmancer, dedicated to ensuring Stage 1 diagnosis of women’s cancers. Previously, Shikha served as Director of Programs at Do Something, Inc., where she managed social change programs for teens, including the 2005 Kids Tsunami Relief Fund, through which she distributed over $475,000 to NGOs rebuilding schools, children’s camps and health clinics in India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.
GIRL TALK TIME: How are you giving thanks/giving back this holiday season? What charitable organizations are you involved in?