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Regular cocktail parties in other people’s homes should be an important part of your calendar. This is a low-level, one-time way for people to take significant action on behalf of your nonprofit. It’s particularly good for board members to do these, as well as other influential people in your community.

Here’s what such an event might look like:

6:00-6:30 pm People arrive, mingle, & nosh (maybe wine/beer and cheese & crackers or heavier hors d’oeuvres)

6:30 Welcome from host, share why your nonprofit is so important to them personally, introduce executive director or board chair

6:40 Executive director or board chair make a few comments or introduces video

6:50 Executive director or board chair follows up video with 3 specific gift amounts. If you were a spay/neuter clinic, you might say “As you can see, we are partnering with the humane societies and the rescue shelters. We’re the ounce of prevention for their pound of cure. But we need your help:

–        $10,000 will fund a month of surgeries to low-income families needing financial assistance

–        $5000 would sponsor a day of surgeries, preventing hundreds of animals from needing to be euthanized each day

–        $1000 will sponsor a surgery a month for the year

7:00 Host wraps up, if not a solicitation event s/he can thank everyone for coming, and encourage them to take information as they leave “This is a great organization. Thank you all for coming. Executive director/board chair will be here to answer questions. Please help us finish up the food.”

OR (better)

7:00 The host says, “We believe in this so much, we’re giving $xxx to do _____. We ask that each of you would consider doing that too.”


7:00 A plant in the crowd says, “I want to sponsor a day. I have my check book right here and will commit to doing that.”

7:10 More mingling and chatter as folks ask questions and start leaving.

I wouldn’t do a Q&A after the video unless you get a real sense that the group will give a lively discussion. The awkward pause of waiting for the first question is often a momentum killer at an event.

These could be used as purely informational sessions too. But I advise you use them as solicitation events.


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