Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Turn Your Holiday Event Into a Charity Ball

Charity as a sign for advertising, business and charities

Author: Whitney Hollingshead

Are you hosting a holiday party this year? Are you looking for a way to give to those in need this season? Perhaps you should consider turning your holiday party into a charity ball this year.

You may be thinking that a charity ball sounds like a lot of work and that you certainly can’t pull off this kind of event last minute. The great news is that with a few simple changes to your existing party plans, you CAN pull off a holiday charity ball, even last minute.

Redefine Charity Ball

First, let’s rework the common definition of charity ball. When you hear the name “Charity Ball” you may be picturing formal attire, dancing, festive punch, and expensive tickets. The common charity ball may also include an auction or additional opportunities to donate to a specific cause. The key to remember here is that you don’t have to throw a ball or even host an auction. Rather you can use the purpose behind a charity ball as your inspiration. In other words, use the party you have already planned with the added purpose of contributing to a great cause.

Choose a Charity

You can choose any cause, group, or family that has a meaningful connection to you. Sit down with your spouse, children, or any other party co-host and discuss people or organizations that you would like to help. For example, if you are having a small party, you could focus on a local family that recently lost their home to a fire. If you are hosting a larger event, you could focus on the local children’s hospital or cancer center. Choose a cause that gets you really excited. Whether large or small, your contributions really can make a difference this season.

Set a Donation Goal

Next, we need to redefine the definition of “donation”. Most people think of money when they hear the word donation; however, donations can include a larger spectrum of possibilities. For example, instead of asking your guests to donate money, ask them to bring canned food for the local food bank, or gently used clothing for a clothing drive. If you know a community center that needs more tutors, use the party as a time for your guests to sign up to tutor.

As you determine what type of donation will be associated with your party, don’t forget to think about your guests. Choosing canned goods, items, or time is a great option if you have guests who are on a tight budget.

Depending on your cause, a money donation may be the best option. If this is the case, considering asking your guests to make a voluntary donation, instead of requiring a specific amount. Guests who want to contribute more to the cause may do so, while guests who do not have a lot of money to spare can contribute what they can and still attend. Make sure you also keep the process of giving and processing donations very confidential.

Once you have decided on the type of donation to collect at your party, set a donation goal. Your goal should be reasonable, but also inspire extra effort from your guests.

three women showing thumbs up

Inform Your Guests

Add all of the necessary information about your cause and your donation goal to your invitation. Make sure your guests have plenty of advance notice and that all information on the invitation is easy to read and follow.

Have you already sent out invitations to your event? You can send a simple email to your guests telling them that you have decided to use your party as a way to help a specific cause. Tell your guests why you have chosen your specific cause and explain to them how they can help in connection with attending your party.

Busy on Christmas day

A Real Charity Ball Last Minute?

If you are reading these suggestions and thinking that a real charity ball sounds like a lot of fun and that you can easily turn your existing party into a real ball, here are a few tips to help:

  • Choose a venue with a lot of open floor space. A warehouse, large garage, or office building lobby may provide the perfect amount of space. Ask around to find a space you can use last minute at no cost or a reduced rate.
  • Ask friends to help with decorating by bringing some of their Christmas decorations from home to the venue the day of the event. You can quickly set up the directions to create a festive atmosphere.
  • Don’t forget the music! Ask musical friends to provide live music or make sure that you have a sound system and speakers to play music. If you do not have audio equipment at your chosen venue, consider renting from local sound experts like Performance Audio.
  • Ask your friends who cook well to donate their time, talents, and ingredients to providing food and drinks for the event.

With plenty of floor space, festive decorations, sound equipment, great food, and guests dressed up in their very best, you can pull off the perfect last minute charity event!

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