The Presentation at Your House Party
One of the most effective ways to raise funds to support the work of Equal Justice USA (EJUSA) is to ask face-to-face. A house party is a celebratory way for you to do that with several friends, family members, and colleagues at the same time.
You don’t need to give a long speech – the entire program (including a video, speaker, or discussion) should be less than half an hour. Your part of the presentation should be less than 10 minutes. Speak from your heart and your experience; tell people why you care and why you give. That is the best way to convince them to join you in giving.
Goal of the presentation:
To get new people involved in EJUSA’s campaign, to find new contributors, to get current donors to give again, and to get people to take an action (such as letter writing).
Who should make the presentation:
The presentation at your house party will be most effective if it comes from you: in other words a current donor, who is also a host or sponsor of the party. Loaning your home, fixing the food, and giving generously of your time is an important contribution in itself. But, in order for the guests to give money, you must also be willing to say that you give money to the project and that you want everyone who agrees with you to do the same. If you or even someone else in the room is giving a particularly generous amount, consider sharing that with the guests, challenging them to match or double it.
What to say:
(Contact EJUSA for help preparing!)
Allow people to mingle for about half an hour. Then call them together to start the program.
1) The Welcome (1 minute)
Thank everyone for coming. Everyone is busy these days and it is a wonderful testament to you and the cause that they have taken their time to come. Appreciate their initial commitment.
2) The Issue (5 minutes)
Tell people why you care about the death penalty and EJUSA as an organization. You can also take a moment to go around the room and ask people why they chose to come.
Questions you can ask yourself when thinking about what to say:
- Why is this issue important to you?
- Why do you support repeal of the death penalty?
- How do you feel about the work of EJUSA?
- Why do you give to EJUSA?
- Why are you hosting a house party?
- Who is your audience?
- What do your guests already know about EJUSA or the death penalty?
- How do you anticipate they will they react as they learn more?
- What will inspire them?
- What do your guests have in common?
- Are they opposed to the death penalty or at least concerned about how it is applied, or do they first need to learn more about the issue?
- Are they active in or contributing to similar causes?
- What is EJUSA?
- What is our mission?
- What are our recent victories?
- How do we go about our work and which states are we currently focusing on?
- Why is it important to respond now? Is something specific going on in your state – a recent exoneration, a spate of executions, or a bill that you hope will pass? If not, you can draw on national momentum – other states have recently ended the death penalty and it’s time to make your state the next in line!
3) Feature (up to 20 minutes)
Show a video or introduce your speaker. Allow for questions or discussion and do a quick action such as writing to a local lawmaker.
4) The Pitch (1-2 minutes)
Now that people are inspired, ask them for something concrete!
Some questions to ask yourself when thinking about what to say:
- What exactly do you want from your guests?
- What is the minimum amount you hope each will give?
- What is the total fundraising goal for the party?
- Does anyone in the room work for a company that matches their employee’s gifts?
- Would they be interested in giving a gift of stock?
- Are there things besides giving money that you would like people to do?
- Do they know other people who may be interested in hearing more about this organization?
- Would they be willing to throw their own house party?
- Would they be willing to do a letter-writing campaign to their friends?
- Would anyone want to consider volunteering in addition to making a monetary gift?
- What benefits will you and your guests receive for giving money to EJUSA?
- Becoming an EJUSA insider and receiving regular updates about the death penalty and the campaign?
- Putting your opposition to the death penalty into action?
Have someone go around the room collecting checks and thanking people on the spot. Pass around sign up sheets for them to register for our newsletter, host a house party, letter-writing campaign or volunteer. Have a person tally the total raised, so you can announce it at the end.
5) The Close (1 minute)
Thank everyone for coming. Invite them to stay, mingle and ask you questions. If you don’t know an answer, take down their information and question and tell them that an EJUSA staff member will get back to them. Ask everyone to visit our website www.ejusa.org and encourage everyone to join you in making a firm commitment to becoming more involved in this important cause!
For an abbreviated example of an introduction and pitch, see our sample pitch!