Planning Your ACLU of Indiana House Party
Sign up to host a house party
Sign up to host a house party by emailing us. When you sign up to host a house party, we will provide you with the following: template invitation, sign-in sheet, and background material on the issue for discussion. Below is some handy information to make your house party a success.
Name tags: It's easier to make new friends when you know each other's names.
Refreshments: Think about making your party a "potluck."
Donation options: Your attendees will often want to donate to the ACLU. Have available our giving envelopes or a computer with our giving page open.
Set the important details:
- Your Goal -- Are you trying to bring attention to an issue, raise money to protect civil rights, celebrate a victory or all of the above? It will be important to message your goal when you invite your guests.
- Location -- Is your home the right size and configuration for the party you envision, or should you ask a friend to host? Many restaurants, bars and coffee shops also have back rooms available for free or for a small fee.
- Date & Time -- Be sure to check to see if there are competing events among your friends or in your neighborhood.
- Contact Information -- Always include contact information in any invitation or promotion.
- Suggested Donation -- Consider including a suggested donation in your invitation, so that your house party has an immediate impact on civil liberties. The ACLU of Indiana can provide you with collection envelopes, and we strongly suggest you have a computer available for people who wish to make a donation online.
Promote your party
Getting people to your event is just as important as planning the program. Social media is effective for announcing your event to a wide audience, but it's not always the best way to get an accurate head count of who will actually attend. When hosting a small event for a group of friends and neighbors, we strongly recommend you consider sending personal e-mails and making follow-up phone calls. Mailed invitations also work well. However you decide to make your invitation, be sure to include the "important details" listed above.
What's your program?
Your program will depend on your goal, but below are some common best practices for any house party. Depending on your party's time and location, the ACLU of Indiana may be able to send a representative to speak. Please contact us to see if a speaker is available.
- Have on hand a few pre-planned topics or questions. -- You can use a question or idea as a way to start a discussion, or to refocus a discussion. If you need any ideas regarding what questions or topics to discuss, please contact us and we will help.
- Call on people. -- Give each person a chance to speak and graciously limit the length of their comments.
- Stick to a time limit. -- If you hit your time limit and the group is still talking, ask for one last question. There may be people at your house party who want to leave on time, but do not want to appear rude by leaving when the party is still ongoing. If people wish to continue the discussion, they can do so after other people have the chance to leave.
- Have educational materials available. -- The ACLU and ACLU of Indiana have an abundance of materials online available for download. We may also be able to supply you with educational materials and help you think of other appropriate learning tools, like relevant short videos or books.
Follow up -- it's important!
- Thank guests for attending. -- Send out thank you cards or make a phone call to thank your attendees for taking the time to defend civil liberties. Please send the sign-in sheet to the ACLU of Indiana as well, so we can extend our thanks to your attendees.
- Provide answers to questions left unanswered. -- If your guests have questions you are unable to answer during your house party, be sure to follow up with them. If their questions are too complex to answer, or you feel uncomfortable doing so, feel free to contact us and we will assist you.
- Remind attendees to get involved with the ACLU of Indiana. -- Let attendees know that it is important to follow up on the issues that were discussed at the party. The best way to do that is to sign up to be volunteer advocate and/or sign up to receive ACLU emails that include action and event alerts.