Throwing a holiday bash? Why not simultaneously raise some cash...for a cause

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This time of year many of us get invited to parties or fundraisers that cost a dime or two to attend. Don’t feel bad if you are not one of these people!!! Personally, I don’t know how the heck I get on these lists!

Along with the donation (ticket) comes getting together yet another appropriate thing to wear on a winter’s evening. Will it snow? Will the room have high ceilings and be heated enough? It’s bothersome that you don’t always know how much of the ticket price is going towards food and beverages. When that someone inflicted with whatever or has survived some travesty gets up to speak, am I the only one who has felt odd wearing heals with blow-dried hair?

Now don’t get me wrong, these functions are necessary and great, but I just feel more inclined to give when I’m more engaged than is possible in pumps. Plus, we are all overscheduled during the holidays, so there comes a date when getting dressed up just doesn’t feel so fun. We want to stay home and sip hot cocoa in front of the gas fireplace like they do in Swiss Miss commercials.

{Please note that I would prefer my hot cocoa spicy and spiked by Jacques Torres www.mrchocolate.com}

What we all do love is getting together with our friends just because and especially when dressing up is not a must-do. Doesn’t it feel better to give when you are not pressured by a beautiful letterpress invite?

I have a few ideas that have worked! One - keep it simple! Give friends the opportunity to learn a bit about an organization or cause that you are passionate about, rather than asking them for money. Spreading awareness can be just as powerful as spreading cash! Sandy was tragic for many but at least we all know global warming is real. Okay I admit that analogy did not make sense –thank you for letting me get it in there….

Maybe your friends can mosey on over to a nook to educate themselves in their own time, donate what they can, sign up to volunteer or do nothing at all without anyone knowing! This just sounds more effective and appropriate, no?

The holidays are all about giving. If you are throwing a party anyhow and you are comfortable with the idea of standing up for a cause, so then spread a little love. You do not have to alter the true purpose of your party or give the organization or charity anything near top billing. In my book spicy chocolaty petit-fours should come in first place, right in front of something hot and cheesy and not so good for you. You don’t need tax deductible whatever forms and in many cases someone from your chosen organization or charity doesn’t even need to be present, although you of course need to connect with them beforehand.

If giving is not top billing, then you don’t even need to mention it in your invite! If the party is with people other than your closest friends you will want to look into ways of receiving payment by credit card. More information on this below… Here are some low key and tasteful roads you can take without asking for money outright….

-Donation box in the corner away from your front door with some literature available for people to read at their leisure.

-You can host a small silent auction with donations that you or your event planner sought out locally from places that your friends and family will probably spend money at anyhow. Try your favorite local restaurant or spa. It is best you get to these places before Thanksgiving but it does not hurt to ask at any time.

-You can provide literature on one or a few causes with “how to give” instructions that they do not need to follow through with right then and there.

-If you plan on giving goodie bags to your guests upon departure, include some information in there.

If you do want to make your cause more of the focus of your party, then you really must make it clear in your invite. Try and find a guest speaker and above all get up to speak yourself! Tell your friends how you feel about this organization and why you chose to shed light on them this holiday season.

Below are some ways you can get assistance with taking your home party to the next fundraising level, while still not going overboard planning anything close to an exhausting gala.

www.Readysetauction.com can help you arrange for guests to make bids from handhelds while at your party. Before party’s end, you close the bids and guests know who will be walking away with what auction items. You can also create a short and simple website with auction items listed, beginning the bids the moment the invitations hit their mailboxes.

www.charityauctionorganizer.com can arrange for you to have pads or another computer for guests to place anonymous bids from while at the party.

www.online-donation.events.org can help you have guests make donations while at your event. This is also an option where guests can make donation or bid on an auction item or both. This company and site I have worked with before. It is very user friendly.

The above options also allow guests to choose if they want to donate anonymously or not.

These are just a few easy ways to handle your event at home. If you are working closely with an organization they’ll be able to lend a helping hand.

Happy holiday partying!