Join the Fun… Host a House Party!

What’s a house party?

A house party is a fun social gathering of friends, family (both yours and VICPP’s) and neighbors who are committed to racial and economic justice or are interested in learning more about the issues facing low-income families in Virginia, and what they can do to help. Basically, anyone who wants to have a good time while learning something new is welcome!

The event includes time for people to visit informally with Kim Bobo, Executive Director and one another. When possible, we’d also like to have a special guest, such as an elected leader or prominent religious leader. There is about a 45 minute presentation that includes the special guest talking about how important public policy advocacy is for Virginians, Kim talking about the vision and direction of the Center and a request for support done by the host or a party guest and Q/A time. If it is possible to get someone there who falls in the healthcare coverage gap to talk about his or her experience, it will increase interest in our work on healthcare expansion.

As a supporter of VICPP, it is also a great opportunity for you, our gracious host, to share your own story and encourage others to join you in your commitment to racial and economic justice. All that, while helping raise awareness about and support for VICPP’s programs and campaigns.


Who can host a party?

Let’s put it this way: You say “I’ve got a venue”, we say “WHEN?!”  If you’re reading this, YOU can host a house party.


How big are the parties?

Attendance to house parties can be anywhere between 10 and 100. The host provides VICPP a list of his or her personal invitees and VICPP will pull its own list of friends in the area. Ultimately, the host will decide who ends up in the final invitation list.


How much does it usually cost to host a party?

It really all depends on the number of people and the type of food you decide to serve. You can make it as inexpensive (and we can help you think of ways on how to do that!) or as extravagant as you wish. Although, we’d really rather you not spend too much – agreeing to host a party is generous enough! *All house party expenses will be counted as an in-kind donation*


What is expected of the host?

There are a few things we ask of our gracious hosts:

  • Provide names of friends and neighbors to invite.

  • Call or email friends to strengthen the invitation.

  • Recruit a volunteer to help with sign-ins.

  • Set up early so you can welcome guests.

  • Provide refreshments, food and drink, and all paper supplies.  We recommend you keep it simple so it is easier to recruit future hosts.

  • Provide a basket for contributions.

  • Welcome guests to your home and introduce the Special Guest and Kim.

  • Make the “ask” or allow someone else to do so.

  • Help guests with any special needs.

  • Have fun.

  • Debrief with Kim to improve future parties.


How much money am I expected to raise?

There’s no minimum and, most definitely, no maximum fundraising requirement. Although raising money is important, the biggest value that a house party brings to VICPP is the opportunity to make new friends and allies in the struggle for justice in Virginia.


Where does the money go?

Proceeds from house parties go into VICPP’s General Fund, which supports all our educational and organizing work.


What’s a typical timeline?

Planning for a party usually begins two or three months before the event.

Three months before the party:

  • Pick a few dates and see what will work best for Kim and your proposed Special Guest. Confirm the date as soon as you can.

  • Decide the type of event you wish to have (e.g. lunch, dinner, coffee and dessert, hors d’oeuvres).

  • Figure out how many people your home can accommodate and make a goal for how many people you’d like to participate. The VICPP office will prepare a list of the people in its database who live in the vicinity of the party. Hosts should review this list and add their friends, family and colleagues. The average is that 10 percent of your guest list will attend, so you want a good sized list of people to invite.

  • Figure out if there will be a Special Guest and who it will be.

Two months before the party:

  • Finalize the guest list and develop the invitation. Decide on a reply mechanism, such as calls to the host or a mail-in reply card.  Include a way for invitees to contribute to VICPP prior to the event or if they can’t attend the party. The VICPP office will prepare the invitations.

One month before the party:

  • Mail the invitations at least four weeks in advance (can be done locally or by VICPP staff).

  • Send special email invitations to friends (even those who received hard-copy invitations).

  • Call or talk personally with people about coming.

  • Figure out refreshments.

  • Confirm the program and all speakers.

  • Create a facebook party Event page (VICPP can help).

The Day of the Event:

  • Set out (or cook) refreshments.

  • Kim and the hosts should arrive at least one hour before the event. Other staff and volunteers may arrive earlier at the discretion of the host.

  • Review guest list to identify which individuals Kim should be sure to meet, review program schedule.

  • Set up a check–in and literature table to help greet guests. VICPP will provide nametags, check-in sheet, donation cards and envelopes and organizational literature.

  • Arrange for someone to take some photos of the party.

The party typically lasts about 2 to 2-1/2 hours. Allow about 30 – 45 minutes for guests to arrive, eat and greet. The program including questions should run about 45 minutes. Allow about 30 minutes for people to visit and leave following the presentation. Ideally speakers, hosts and staff/volunteers should stay after the guests leave to debrief.

After the Event

  • Send photos to Neill Caldwell,

  • Process contributions and send official thank you letters (VICPP will do this).

  • Send personal thank-you notes as you’d like (host).

  • Send letters with contribution cards to people on the invitation list who did not attend. (VICPP will do this, although the host may want some names removed.)


Other questions?

If you have additional questions or have creative party ideas that you’d like to discuss, please contact Kim Bobo at 773-391-8844 or