Before the event:
Plan ahead. Start planning 6 weeks ahead of time so that you’ll never feel like you’re in a rush. If you’re hosting a PNHP speaker, make a list of everyone that you would like to invite, and then double it. Don’t forget to include people you know from your place of worship, neighborhood association, and any civic organization. Decide if you would like to include other entertainment, food, or beverages.
Send out an invite about a month ahead of time. Invitations can be sent by regular mail, email, or even Facebook, depending on your audience. It’s important to include basic information about the event, including RSVP information, food or drink offerings, the time and date, and directions to the house. If working by email or Facebook, it’s a good idea to send out a reminder message 2 weeks before the event.
Call up the people that you still haven’t heard from a week before the event and personally invite them. The time and effort of a phone conversation can make all the difference for the event.
During the House Party:
Have a table set up near guests that has 2-3 informational handouts, a sign-in sheet, pens, and name tags (if guests are unlikely to already know each other).
Once everyone has arrived, introduce the speaker (if you’re the host) and ask people to sign in. If you’re the speaker, try and present the case for single payer in less than 20 minutes and give some time for people to ask questions. Be sure to mention “action items” people can do to advocate for single payer in their communities.
After the talk, consider asking for money. Either the host or the speaker can do this. It’s a great practice for building up our efforts. When people contribute money to a cause, their chances of donating again, volunteering in the future, and talking with their friends and family about the issue dramatically increase. See the PNHP handout on fundraising for more information.
Compile all the sign-ins for the event and send them a quick thank-you note (ideally via email). This is also your chance to say anything you may have forgotten to add during the event. Add the sign-ins to your local chapter list and then send the list to the appropriate national group, either PNHP or Healthcare Now. We’ll add them to our lists and follow-up with them.
Complete all your follow-up work, such as sending more information, or answering lingering questions. This is the hardest part of any event, and the easiest to forget. The main purpose of a House Party is to build for the future, and following-up is essential to get — and keep — new people involved.
For a PNHP speaker, information, or assistance, please contact Emily Henkels at firstname.lastname@example.org, (312) 782-6006.