House parties typically involve someone in the campaign or organization – think board member or active volunteer – hosting a one to two hour party at their house to raise money and recruit volunteers and allies to the cause. People are encouraged to bring their check books (you can have people pay at the door). The host and a member of the campaign typically speak – and the core message is give money we need it. Every effort should be made to keep costs low; serve snacks and some wine, not a three course meal. People usually give in these situations because their friend – the host – invited them, and not because you are giving them things. If they wanted a good meal they’d go to a restaurant. An important thing to remember is that the host is responsible for most of the work, especially logistics and RECRUITMENT! Another important thing to remember is you need goals; eg, we plan to recruit two people to do another house party and we intend to raise $2000. You get the drift.
Some groups seriously kick arse at house parties, like well-run ballot initiative campaigns. These groups are awesome at raising lots of money in a short period of time, and smoothly integrating organizing and fundraising goals. Other movements and groups could benefit by adopting this approach. Check out CRENO campaign’s guide to Planning a House Party for more details.