Host a Fundraiser with Family Equality

Looking to become more involved with Family Equality? Hosting an in-person fundraising event for our organization serves two special purposes: Raising funds and making friends! 

Both goals are critical to the work of Family Equality: We can’t fight for LGBTQ+ families across the country without committed, connected outspoken changemakers on our side. By hosting a fundraiser, you can share with your community exactly why you’re passionate about this work — and how they can help make history. 

Ready to get started? Use this resource as your go-to guide for hosting a successful fundraising event. 

Planning the party

So, you want to host a fundraiser for Family Equality! That’s great news. The first step is to let us know you’re interested by filling out our form and sharing some basic information about how you envision this event. 

After receiving your form, Lisa Van Ness, our Director of Executive Support, will send you a link to your special event page, which you can use to invite friends and family to join you via email or social media!

In every stage of the event-planning journey, Lisa will be available to remotely assist you. Every week leading up to and after the party, she’ll provide you with RSVP and donation updates, and she’ll be your point of contact if any additional needs arise. 

Note: Staff attendance at events is based on the following donation tiers:

  • The president & CEO will attend the event, if available
  • Family Equality leadership team member, board member, or staff member will assist on-site
  • Family Equality will work with hosts on logistics related to the event
  • Our Vice President of Development, board member, or other member of the leadership team will attend the event and speak on behalf of the organization
  • Family Equality will work with hosts on logistics related to the event
  • Local staff member and/or board member will attend the event, if available and geographically located to the event
  • Family Equality will help promote the event to area supports and work with hosts on some logistics related to the event
  • Hosts will manage the event without Family Equality representatives on-site
  • Family Equality will help promote the event to area supports and work with hosts on some logistics related to the event

Note: Emeritus board members may be able to attend and assist with events. 

Creating a host committee

This is a family affair! While it’s possible to do everything yourself, co-planning with a supportive group provides access to more resources and a larger guestlist (plus, it’s more fun!). 

Consider inviting folks to be a part of the host committee if they…

  • Know a lot of people who might be interested in Family Equality’s mission
  • Might attract more attendees because of their intellectual, social, or professional influence

The primary role of host committee members is to introduce our organization to people in the community by inviting them to attend the event. Conducting this outreach should be easy, and we’ll provide a direct link to the event page which will include information about the event, our work, and RSVP and donation opportunities. Host committee members don’t always need to attend the event — they’ve made a difference by spreading the word and getting more people involved! 

Getting the party started with a gift

A matching challenge through a lead gift is a great way to get guests to donate in higher amounts. While a lead gift is not required for hosts and host committee members, it is highly recommended! 

Providing food and drink

Hungry people are hangry people who aren’t typically inspired to be generous! To encourage everyone to give, consider providing delicious food such as finger foods, light hors d’oeuvres, and easy cocktails. If you’re serving alcohol, be sure to have plenty of non-alcoholic drinks available as well. 

After the event, you can submit a statement summarizing any event expense as an in-kind donation. In return, we’ll send an in-kind acknowledgment letter that you and your tax planner can use to receive tax benefits. We ask that you keep a copy of all receipts to back up the in-kind statement in case the IRS requires proof. (You do not need to send us the receipts.) 

Conducting outreach

This isn’t just a fundraiser — it’s a friendraiser! In other words, this event is a great opportunity to connect new people to our work in the hopes that they will become long-time friends and supporters of Family Equality. 

As you encourage your networks to attend, consider the following: 

  1. Share a story. If people feel personally connected to our work, they’re more likely to attend, and if people feel personally connected to an issue, they’re more likely to donate. 
  2. Let folks know what they’re getting into. When sending out invitations, make sure people understand this is a fundraising event. Be clear that donations are expected, and encourage everyone to make a donation of some size. 
  3. Be patient. Don’t get discouraged if RSVPs don’t come flooding in at first. We find that there’s always an uptick in registrations around ten days before the event. 
  4. Ask for support. Are there corporate or local businesses that might be interested in helping make this event a success? They might be interested in offering monetary donations and/or in-kind food, beverages, party favors, etc. Don’t be shy — include these folks in your outreach by using our sample sponsorship email template
  5. Get personal. Send out personal email invitations to friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, allies, and more! Our sample attendee outreach email template might help. 

Making an ask

These events are so meaningful for Family Equality. They allow us to reach more people and share important news about our work. The more people know how this climate impacts your family and families like ours, the more opportunity we have to change the tides. 

To that end, we encourage hosts to make an official request for donations during the event. Because your friends and family are personally connected to you, they will be more likely to donate if you’re the one asking them to. As you develop your talking points, consider: 

  1. Balancing hard facts with compelling stories. 
  2. Sharing why Family Equality is important to you. 
  3. Telling your own family-building story.

If you can make your audience feel your passion and the importance of our work, you’ll be sure to inspire them to make a donation! 

Looking for a place to start? Our sample run of show and key talking points might help!