Episode 7: House Party Fundraising with Christie Perdue
In this episode, we’re joined by special guest Christie Perdue the powerhouse behind CP Consulting, a fundraising, marketing, and strategic development firm based in Michigan. Christie shares with us one of her favorite donor development tools—a house party! While this is a high-touch activity, we also explore the ways technology and digital marketing can help get the party started and keep it going.
What is a donor house party?
As Christie describes, a donor house party is an intimate gathering of current and prospective donors held in a home setting. This is a volunteer driven activity, meaning the host will lead decisions and manage the details including invitation list, food and beverage menu, and invitations and RSVPs. Guests are typically close friends of the host. Ideally, there will be 10-20 party attendees.
Guests attend the house party to learn more about the nonprofit organization, its future goals, and ultimately they are asked to support the organization by making a gift. The event should last 2 hours or less with a brief “presentation” from the nonprofit lasting 15 to 30 minutes. It’s mostly a time for mingling, having fun and asking questions about the cause.
5 tips for a successful house party
(1) Find a passionate host. Not everyone immediately thinks of themselves as a possible host, so try and plant the idea with a current donor, board or committee member who might be a stellar candidate (well connected, has already given, not afraid to open their home, etc).
(2) Be really thoughtful with the invite list. Work with the host to create a list of people who know each other, might want to know each other, sprinkle in a current donor or two and include good prospects.
(3) Be clear that there will be an ask. This is a fundraising activity, so don’t shy away from this on the invite or even when planning with the host. Make it clear that the goal is to inform and ask for support.
(4) Follow up. Send thank yous from the host and the organization. The organization should send follow up communications a gift or pledge card included.
(5) Allow past hosts to help recruit new hosts. Many hosts are super excited about their event and the results. They are eager to share the experience and can be great mentors for your next house party host.
How can technology support your house party?
- Depending on the guests, print invitations may not be necessary. An email invitation (note: NOT a Facebook event invitation) can be used instead.
- Build excitement and curiosity by sharing photos from the event on social media.
- Send follow up emails.
- Need help with quick graphics? Try Canva.
About Christie Perdue, CFRE
Christie has more than fifteen years of development and nonprofit experience and has worked with a variety of nonprofits to strengthen their fundraising, marketing, and strategic planning initiatives.
Christie is the owner of CP Consulting, a firm dedicated to working with nonprofit organizations to enhance development, outreach and awareness activities. Christie works with clients in a variety of areas, including: healthcare, education, religious, youth recreation, environment, arts and culture. Christie specializes in capital campaign management, strategic planning, creating and advancing development programs, and building organizational endowments.
Prior to starting CP Consulting, Christie was the campaign lead for Munson Healthcare Otsego Memorial Hospital’s $4 million-dollar capital campaign and spent ten years developing thriving and sustainable fundraising and marketing programs at the hospital in her role as Foundation and Marketing Director. Prior to working with Otsego Memorial Hospital, Christie was the Director of Community Relations at the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation in Traverse City.
Christie holds a master’s degree from Central Michigan University and received her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan. She has a graduate certificate in Nonprofit Management from Lawrence Technological University and a Certificate in Fundraising Management from the Lilly School of Philanthropy at Indiana University. Christie became a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) in 2008.