Intimate Fundraising Events – Parlor Meetings, Political Fundraisers and Investment Parties

Great ideas often lead to big things, but somewhere along the way investments and fundraising are often required. Non-profits, political causes, and commercial startups all need cash to expand and grow. Although many groups may dream of a mega grant or super venture capitalist, support from small donors and individual investors are often the foundation from which all things grow.

One of the most successful ways of attracting these individuals is through small gatherings. These “house parties” are a popular and successful way to raise money for nonprofits, political functions, and business ventures. Although the reasons for these gatherings are always to raise funds, the purpose for the money creates subtle differences in the structure and style of the events.

Let’s take a look at all three types of events and see how they vary.

Nonprofit events are called by many names including a parlor meeting, house meeting, house party, or round up. The purpose can vary from funding for social programs or religious organizations, support for the arts, humanitarian outreach, environmental awareness or assistance for dozens of other charitable causes.

• These small charitable parlor meetings are usually hosted by two or more people commonly referred to as co-chairs.

• Successful house parties need two or more months advance notice.

• As a practice, the host does not ask for money. Instead, one of the co-chairs or the featured speaker will speak about funding needs and the benefits of supporting the organization or cause.

• One popular way to increase donations is to offer matching dollars. This is a popular incentive. A major funder agrees to make a specific donation as long as his or her amount is matched by other supporters.

Political Fundraising can be focused on a single candidate, group of candidates, or local political party. Small group fundraising accounts for a significant amount of dollars for both minor and major candidates.

• Political house parties usually begin with a committee led by a chair. In most cases, all the members are responsible for bringing in guests.

• The purpose should be defined. There can be more than one goal, but each goal should be very clear.

• Unless it is a general fundraiser, a target audience should be defined at the beginning. Food, location, and activities should be geared to target audience.

Investor Meetings also go by several names including networking house parties or Angel events.

• Although these small parties are often held in homes, informal settings in business or prestigious locations are also OK.

• Incentives, perks and well known speakers are often used to attract attendees.

• A few commercial groups are available to organize events.

Although the three types of small events have some differences, successful events share many of the same elements.

1. Prestigious location – Private homes are fine, and sometimes the best choice. Setting the event in a prominent neighborhood or in a notable home can attract guests and set a financial tone.

2. Organizers set a realistic financial goal with a specific amount they plan to raise.

3. The budget should be set in early planning and should be paid for in advance. (Dealing with last minute fees or unpaid bills creates a negative atmosphere.) A flawless event reflects on the organization, candidate, or company.

4. Leadership should be clear and defined. Jobs and roles need to be written down and understood by all members of the team.

5. Time management is very important. If the event is listed as two hours, don’t run over time. Running overtime makes potential donors angry.

6. Aggressively Market target audience. Make sure to budget for marketing campaign which may include personal contacts, mailed invites, direct mail, and entertainer contacts.

7. Thank you letters (or calls) should be sent to all attendees who attended parlor meetings or investment parties, whether they immediately invested or not.

How to Print Remittance Envelopes for Non-Profits, Fundraisers, Foundations or Churches

Remittance envelopes are a specialized envelope designed for returning donations through the mail. All donation envelopes come with a large back flap, and are available in two styles and several sizes to meet your needs. The fronts of remittance envelopes look just like standard envelopes, and are usually printed with your organization’s address in the middle, FIMs, and sometimes with business reply or “stamp here” copy. While these envelopes are very versatile, their unique flap design can make printing on them quite tricky. Read about the types of fundraising envelopes below, and do not hesitate to call your printer for help setting up your remittance copy.

Non-Perforated Remittance Envelopes

The non-perforated or “non-perf” remittance envelope have a large flap that is meant to be closed over the back of the envelope. When closed it will nearly cover the back of the envelope. Since this flap acts as the closing flap, it is gummed at the end. The flap is large so that you can use this space to collect information or take orders from your donators and contributors, and the information will be neatly sealed with the envelope. But care must be taken not to push the print copy too close to the edges of the flap, especially the gummed edge, as anything printed or hand-written there will be ripped off when you open the envelope to take out the donation. The same goes for the back of the envelope, should you choose to put copy there. Where the gum hits, the copy will be ripped off the envelope upon opening. That said you still have plenty of room to collect information such as the donor’s name, take orders for any gifts they are eligible for with the donation, etc. Non-perforated remittance envelopes are more economical than perforated ones, simple to use, and work well for most fundraising purposes. They are available in several sizes, from 6 and 1/4 up to #9.

Perforated Remittance Envelopes

Perforated remittance envelopes look just like their non-perforated counterparts, except the long flap tears off at the perforated line just above the top of the envelope, creating a short flap to close the envelope. The detached flap piece can then be filled out by the donator with dedication, gift, or subscription information, and placed safely inside the envelope. With the perforated flap, you can print more copy and have your copy come nearer the edge of the flap, as there is no gum to work around. Perforated envelopes are best if you need to collect a lot of information or if it is important to have visible printing on the back of your envelope. Perforated envelopes are available in 6 and 3/4 and #9 sizes.

Remittance Envelope Templates

Before finalizing your print copy, you may want to ask your printer for a template for your size and type of envelope. With standard envelopes, measurements provide enough information, but with remittance envelopes, there are many curved edges, tapers, and of course those gum lines that you need to avoid. Ask what tolerance your printer prints to for these envelopes. If you put something close to the edge, it may end up getting cut off.

A Final Note

Remittance envelopes for non profits are complicated to print, but with the help of your printer and the pre-press department, you will be sure to end up with a quality product that serves your fundraising goals far better than a standard envelope. And remember, when ordering envelopes to send out your donation requests, always make sure to order the next size up from your donation envelope size.

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