Five tips for hosting a backyard political fundraiser

Many of us completely revamped our home’s outdoor spaces during the stir-crazy months of mid-2020. But now that you have that gorgeous patio all set up, what are some ways you can use it, aside from your standard summer barbecue?

If you love entertaining and want to become more involved in the political process, hosting a private fundraiser for your favorite candidate can be a great way to do both. Here are five tips to ensure your backyard fundraiser goes off without a hitch.

1) Rent a canopy

If you’ve ever hosted an outdoor event before, you know not to place too much trust in the ten-day weather report. Even if the forecast looks clear the day of your event, it’s important to have a canopy in place for your guests to shelter under. 

Trethowans
Trethowans

Many commercial tent manufacturers offer additional outdoor event necessities such as lights and folding chairs, and most companies offer party packages that will help you save on rental fees.

2) Have plenty of seating available

When envisioning the garden party of our dreams, we often imagine guests in bright colors chatting in groups or strolling around admiring the landscaping. However, having places where attendees can take a load off is important, especially when it comes time for the candidate to make her speech. Most backyards don’t have enough seating to accommodate more than a few guests.

Renting chairs through a local company is often an easy and affordable way to ensure there are enough seats for everyone. If you’re on great terms with your neighbors, you might also consider asking to borrow their patio or lawn furniture. Arrange the chairs so that everyone has a clear view of the platform or podium where your candidate will speak.

3) Be intentional about the guest list

When deciding who to ask to come to your fundraiser, make sure you invite people who are very likely to donate money to your guest of honor. This obviously includes confirming that all of your guests support the candidate, or at least support your candidate’s political party. It may even be prudent to ask guests to pledge their donations as part of their RSVP so the candidate has an idea of the contributions they can expect.

Additionally, make sure to keep the guest list small. This will help you stay within the $1,000 budget commonly required of in-home events for candidates. Most privately hosted political fundraisers have about 15 to 20 invitees.

4) Have a parking plan

Parking in residential neighborhoods is often limited. The last thing you want is an angry neighbor interrupting your candidate’s speech because one of your guests has parked in their usual spot. 

It may be wise to hire a car service to transport guests to your house or ask them to find alternate transportation. You can also check in with your neighbors ahead of time and let them know some extra cars will be parked in front of your house for a few hours.

5) Offer plenty of snacks

While most political fundraisers only last about two hours, you still want to make sure you have food available for your guests. A sated and satisfied guest is more likely to donate generously. Besides, it’s standard to serve alcohol at political fundraising events. 

Offering your guests tasty treats to go with their beverages is the best way to ensure no one gets too intoxicated to pay attention to the candidate’s speech.

Make your backyard fundraiser a slam success

Yes, hosting a political fundraiser at your home can be intimidating. People expect a level of professionalism when attending these events, but it’s easy to make people feel both impressed and comfortable at your home.  

Leave nothing to the last minute; instead, give yourself plenty of time to plan and prioritize these five tips.

Photo by Lee Myungseong