Thank you for becoming an MVP Organizer!
We are thrilled to have you on the team. We put together this toolkit to help you plan an awesome house party that is both fun and raises critical funds to build the biggest wave possible for 2020! Party hosts like you shared their best practices with us, and we used them to create this play-by-play breakdown.
Your MVP Organizer’s House Party Toolkit includes:
- MVP Pre-Party Call Guide
- Organizer’s Timeline and Party Planning Checklist
- Tips for a Successful House Party
- Fundraising Tips
- Supply Checklist
We hope the information in this toolkit will help you create a fun & welcoming house party for people to build relationships with each other, learn & be moved to engage in giving to organizations leading critical organizing & voter work – and hopefully also move them to want to do their own house party!
Welcome to the MVP Organizers Community! Let’s Build Bigger Waves and WIN Together!
MVP Pre-Party Call Guide
About 4 weeks before your party, you’ll have a call with MVP to kickstart your party. Follow these steps to prepare for your call:
1. Download and complete your Organizer’s Spreadsheet
The Organizer’s Spreadsheet was designed as a one-stop shop to keep track of all your house party deets! Here are some questions for you to consider as you complete your Organizer’s Spreadsheet:
- Who were the people that came to mind that moved me to want to host an MVP house party?
- What kind of environment do I want to create for them to feel what I felt when I decided to get involved? Consider the location, how you want to set up your living room or porch for people to mingle, what kind of food and drinks you want to have for people, etc.
- Who are going to be my house party sidekicks (volunteers and co-hosts)? Who are your friends or family that are super excited for you to be hosting this house party and really want you to succeed – and are awesome cheerleaders and social butterflies? You’ll want to recruit at least 1-2 people to support you in making sure your plan is implemented the day of the house party. These are people who will mingle with your guests, be on the lookout for those who show more interest than others, and really, be the person you can lean on for support in organizing the party.
2. Choose a date to host your house party
- We recommend Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays around 5:30 or 6:00pm.
- These are usually work days which increases the possibilities for people to be in town and to want to do something meaningful and chill after work while still getting home at a decent time.
- We recommend a Saturday or Sunday light brunch around 11:30am or 12:00pm.
- People usually prefer to attend a weekend house party early on Saturday or Sunday to start off their day and while still allowing them to make weekend plans.
3. Write some bullet points on your Story of Self
Share your passion! Why are you hosting this house party?
Think about the time that moved you to get involved. What was the story you heard & connected with that moved you to write your first check? How has this experience been transformative for you?
You want your guests to put themselves in your shoes and consider what it might be like it for them to get involved in this community of giving & hope that you are inviting them to join. What’s in it for them? Why should they care?
Your Story of Self will be shared as part of the presentation at the beginning of the MVP Slideshow that we will be getting to you and should take about 3 mins.
4. Think about your fundraising goal
How much money do you want to raise at your house party? Think about your guests and their potential level of giving – and then up it a little bit! Do you think 20 people can all give $100, raising $2,000 overall? If so, stretch that and see if you can double that goal to $4,000! Now is the time to step up take our country back. You will be surprised what people can do if you just ask.
How much do you want to commit yourself? We encourage hosts to make a donation pledge and share it with your guests. This allows to create a sense of community and uplift your own commitment to this work. It can also work as a way to get people to match/multiply your donation.
Organizer’s Timeline & Party Planning Checklist
4 Weeks Out
- Download your organizer’s spreadsheet to compile all the info in the steps below
- Select a date to host your event
- Start thinking of who to invite and list their info in your spreadsheet
- Figure out where to host
- With your venue capacity and potential guests in mind, set fundraising goal
- Have your MVP organizer group or one-on-one call with your spreadsheet handy
- Send out a save the date using our template
2-3 Weeks Out
- Send out your invites using our template
- Do a round of follow-up emails and/or calls to those who don’t respond. Tell them why this is so important to you! If they care, but can’t make it, ask for a donation you can announce at the party!
1 Week Out
- Start gathering your supplies and materials
- Do final round of calls to folks you really want there who haven’t responded
24 Hours Before
- Use our pre-made email reminder template to remind your guests about the upcoming festivities
- Prep the venue and make sure the setting is ready to host your guests
Day Of – Party Time!
We suggest that your party lasts 2 ½ hours. This gives people time to arrive, mingle, nibble on food and get drinks before you gather everyone together.
Sample Run of Show:
4:30 – 5:30pm – Finalize set-up & preparation.
6:00 – 6:30pm – Guests arrive and sign in (signing in is very important for follow up!)
6:00 – 6:30pm – Guests mingle and eat, drink.
6:30 – 7:00pm – Program (Use slideshow)
- Have volunteers help take pictures of presenters.
- At the end of the program, take a group photo in front of the last slide.
7:30 – 8:30pm – Hosts makes sure everyone has signed in. Guests return to mingling.
8:30 – 9:30pm – Goodbyes & clean-up
24 Hours After
Tips for a Successful House Party
Make sure to email invitations to your guests with enough lead time to get your house party on their calendars. We suggest letting people know at least 2 weeks prior to the event, ideally 3-4 weeks.
Send a reminder to your invitees the day before the event date. Better yet, call or text your friends to remind them!
Make sure to get everyone’s name as soon as they arrive to the house party and check them off on your sign-in sheet. If they didn’t RSVP and aren’t on the sign-in sheet, make sure to get their full name, email and phone number.
Take pictures! We suggest pictures of the presenter and one group photo. Anything with action and people having a great time is super helpful! Share these pictures on social media and send them to [email protected]!
Keep an eye out for guests who seem very interested, who express wanting to support and anyone else who is especially engaged – make a point to try to talk with them individually. Make sure you have at least friend you’ve recruited to help you do this!
Make a strong pitch – see the “Fundraising Tips” section below.
Follow up after your party with the most promising people – including those who could not come. Follow-up is arguably the most important part of an event. See below for sample follow-up emails.
Let the MVP team know if there are people we should follow up with.
“Tonight our goal is to raise $X.”
“I am pledging to donate $X today and I hope you’ll join me.”
“Think about how much you want to give and then add 20% more.”
Get people to make a donation pledge at your house party. There are two ways we can do this:
- Best Option: Write a check!
- Second Option: Have a laptop set up for them to donate directly to the Wave 2018 Fund (for those who don’t have checkbooks!)
- Third Option: Have them take out their phones and go online at the same time to donate (for those who don’t have checkbooks!)
Share the urgency of the moment: “What we really need is for people to give what you can right now so it can get to the groups in time to impact the election.”
“If you are writing a check – you can give it to me and we’ll send it in.”
“I know you share my values of a thriving Democracy where all people are treated equal. There are people who are literally risking their lives everyday for whom racial justice, gender justice and civic engagement are not separate in their daily lives. They are the people at the forefront of the work you have just learned about. Let’s give all that we can towards organizing and building a United States that is dignified for all of us.”
Ideally you want to do a go-round with closing thoughts on how people want to support and get involved.
What does MVP do to support me hosting a house party?
MVP has created this toolkit with step by step guidelines, timelines, templates, checklists and logos to guide you in hosting your own house party Additionally, you will do 2 scheduled calls with an MVP staff person – one before the party and one after the party – so all of your questions get answered and you feel totally prepared for your party. We are here to help you be the very best MVP Organizer House Party Host!
Will an MVP representative come my house party?
While we would love to, probably not! MVP’s team is based nationwide and working hard to raise money and support organizing throughout the country. Given this, it is not likely that an MVP representative will be attending your house party.
However, if the house party is expected to raise $15,000 or more, we will do our best to coordinate to have an MVP representative to attend the house party, if helpful for the host.
How many calls do I have with MVP regarding my house party?
You will have 2 scheduled calls with MVP regarding your house party. The 1st call will take place about 4 weeks before your house party after your complete all the items on MVP Pre-Party Call Guide. This will maximize the efficiency of our 1st call and ensure that by the end of the call you are a confident MVP Organizer ready to host your house party!
The 2nd call will take place 24-48 hours after you have sent the after party email to those who attended and those who missed the house party. During this 2nd call we will debrief the party and take note of updates on donation pledges, specific people to follow-up with, anyone interested in hosting their own house party, and feedback. You can also contact us between these calls with any questions.
Where does the money raised at my house party go?
The money raised at your house party goes to MVP, who regrants it (100% – we take no cut!) to organizations doing work on the ground in key 2018 states and districts. Checks should be made out to: “Movement Voter Project”
All MVP donations are c4, and thus not tax-deductible – and this is the most helpful way for us to receive donations as it allows organizations to do direct elections work. However, if someone needs to give a c3 donation, they can make the check out to: “Tides Foundation / Movement Resource Project”
While checks are by far the preferable way to collect donations, if people can’t do that while at the party, you should have a laptop or tablet set up for them to be able to donate using a unique donation link we will create for your house party that will go to the collective WAVE 2018 Fund from which the money goes directly to the groups working on critical 2018 races.
But again, the best way to raise money is to get a check in hand that day/night!
Here are all of the details:
Checks Payable To:
Movement Voter Project
Movement Voter Project
c/o William Wimsatt
37 Kensington Ave
Northampton, MA 01060
Bank: Amalgamated Bank
Account Name: Gamechanger Networks
Routing Number: 026003379
Account Number: 151022071
Checks Payable To:
Tides Foundation / Movement Voter Project
PO Box 29903
San Francisco, CA 94129
Bank: Wells Fargo Bank
Address: 420 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA 94104
ABA Number: 121000248
SWIFT Code: WFBIUS6S
Interested in making a large gift or multiple gifts and want custom advising?
MVP staff will work with you to:
- Offer advice about opportunities and needs
- Help you create a strategic giving plan to fit your priorities
To learn more about what is and is not tax deductible, go here.
If people are not able to come to my house party, can I ask them to make a donation online?
Yes! If people are not able to attend your house party they can absolutely make a donation by sending/giving you a check, mailing it to Movement Voter Project (37 Kensington Ave, Northampton, MA 01060), or giving online. We can also create a unique link for you to use for people to give online, so we can track it back to your house party.
What is the general criteria for groups we fund?
We support local groups in key 2018 – 2020 states that BOTH turn out voters AND are building toward a larger movement for change on all of our issues. We talent scout and vet groups in each state where an extra $10 or $100,000 will make the greatest difference for moving progressive change in 2018 AND long-term. We recommend progressive community-based voter engagement groups that are: Year-Round: Organizing 365 days a year to develop leaders, fight for communities, move policy, and win progressive political power at all levels. Collaborative: Play well in the sandbox with others. Locally-Driven: Generally not affiliates of large national issue organizations that are already household names (i.e. Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood, etc.). We love these national groups but people already know how to donate to them. MVP’s role is to highlight local groups that are not well known beyond their local communities. AND we recommend 501(c)3 non-partisan groups that organize: Communities of Color: The best local organizations that get out the vote in communities of color, organize permanently beyond the election cycle to create a more Reflective Democracy representing the true diversity of the American people.
What is the vetting process to identify groups to fund?
We are committed to funding groups who are working at the intersection of community organizing and electoral politics. The groups we fund are:
- In key electoral states working on federal, state, and/or local races;
- Implementing targeted overlay strategies that both push the needle on electoral races and build local infrastructure;
- Focused on getting out voters in historically marginalized communities;
- Focused on issues of racial, economic, and voting justice;
- Under-resourced for the amount of work they need to take on to make catalytic change.
MVP’s team has decades of experience in the progressive movement and thus have both long-term and new relationships with groups on the ground. Over the past 2 years MVP has undergone a vetting and referencing process that includes:
- Engaging over 100 funders and intermediaries about the groups in our lists;
- Consulting with 15 state advisors who are experts in the organizing, civic engagement, and electoral ecosystem of their state;
- Working with key players (i.e. community leaders, funders, donors, political stakeholders, etc.) and cross reference information with each other, state funders, and intermediaries;
- Identifying emerging groups and key players in states to understand their evolving civic engagement ecosystem;
Once groups have been identified for potential funding, the MVP team reviews their plans, strategy, and budgets – and makes informed decisions about grantmaking to each individual group.
What is the reporting process for groups that have received money?
MVP’s team works closely with all of the groups we fund. We are in constant communication with the groups, assessing their immediate needs and challenges – and highlighting their success stories in order to build momentum for their work. On an on-going basis, groups submit updates to us, including qualitative and quantitative indicators of success and challenges.
For the Host(s):
Food and Beverage: