Hosting a House Party
One of the most important things you can do as a volunteer is help introduce other people to the campaign. You are only one person — you can only donate so much money, give so much of your time, or knock on so many doors. But if you are able to introduce a campaign to a network of friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers, you’ve managed to multiply your impact tenfold.
How do I host a successful house party?
In this guide, you’ll find a comprehensive checklist to guide you through the process of hosting a house party from start to finish. Refer back to it as you plan and execute your event and make sure you’re not missing any essential steps. Next, we’ll lay out some logistics you’ll need to think through before and on the day of your event. Finally, you’ll find some best practices you can follow for throwing your house party.
Follow this checklist as you go:
Planning the event:
Determine your goal for your house party. How many people do you want to have attend? At the end of the party, what do you want to have achieved (10 volunteer phone banking slots filled, 15 people committed to canvas GOTV weekend)? Let your goal lead your overall vision for your house party.
Select a date. Check out the campaign’s calendar to see if there are any events scheduled that you could use to build momentum for your own event — is the voter registration deadline coming up? Is the election two months out? Consider the schedules of your potential guests — be mindful of holidays, and think strategically about a day and time that you could garner good turnout (so probably not a Tuesday at noon if most of your guests have day jobs).
Choose your venue. This goes back to thinking about your goal — house parties do not literally have to take place at your house. But you should not spend money on securing a venue or use a space that is not free for anyone in the public to use, otherwise the value of the space can amount to a reportable contribution to the candidate you are trying to support. Consider larger free, publicly available spaces like a park with seating and an overhang that people can sit under.
Invite your guests. Invite your family, friends, neighbors, members from your place of worship, members of organizations you are a part of, work colleagues, etc. — anyone who shares your progressive values. To broaden your network, ask a few friends to act as co-hosts and have them send out invitations. You can definitely use social media to initially invite guests (i.e.: set up a Facebook event) BUT you must follow up with them by phone or text — this will ensure more people attend the event. Depending on how far out your event is from when you send invites, follow up with your guests a few times (perhaps when they first RSVP and then a few days before the event) to get the most accurate headcount. Lastly, make sure when you’re inviting guests that you’re giving them all the information they’ll need to feel comfortable going to your event — give them driving and parking instructions, and make sure to have a plan to address any allergies or special needs of your guests.
Day of the event:
Make sure you’ve done your prep work. Is your phone fully charged? (People will be calling you for last minute directions, letting you know they’ve arrived or are running late etc.). Do you have a clipboard with a good amount of shift sign-up sheets and pens? If your venue is not your own household — have you done a final walk through and located restrooms for your guests?
Know your agenda. This is a party, but it has a purpose. Make sure you keep the event on track and on time. You can download our sample agenda to adapt for your own use.