The Vote.org guide to throwing an epic friendraiser
Subtitle: Throw party. Drink alcohol. Save democracy
Yesterday I explained that you can help increase voter turnout this year simply by throwing a friendraiser. There were some questions. Here are some answers..
Question: What is a friendraiser?
Answer: A friendraiser is a chance for you to use those party throwing skills you cultivated in college to (a) throw a great party, (b) see all of your friends, and (c ) raise some money for a great cause that you care about. If you’re nervous about asking your friends for money, don’t be! They see you asking them to support something that’s important to you. That’s what matters most.
Throwing a friendraiser is easy! We’ll walk you through it.
First, decide what type of party to throw.
As far as we are concerned, this is the hardest step. Should you throw a raging keg party? A quiet dinner party? A sassy cross stitch party? Really, there are so many great types of parties. Pick the most fun idea and go with that.
Second, pick a date.
As soon as possible is the best time to throw a party. This weekend would be great, actually. The impact of donated dollars diminishes as we get closer to Election Day. If at all possible, try to throw your party before National Voter Registration Day (September 27, 2016).
Here are some election-related dates for you.
- Monday, Sept. 26, 2016 — First presidential debate
- Tuesday, September 27, 2016 — National Voter Registration Day
- Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016 — Vice presidential debate
- Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016 — Second presidential debate
- Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016 — Third presidential debate
Third, invite all of your friends.
Set up a Facebook event, use Google calendar, send emails/texts/carrier pigeons, etc. Really, whatever floats your boat. Just remember to be upfront about the fact that you’ll be asking them to support Vote.org at the party.
(In case you’re curious, the Vote.org team always uses Google meeting requests to schedule parties, and we are a notoriously fun group of people.)
Fourth, set aside time at the party to make a short pitch.
Don’t worry, we have some words for you (below), but you should make it as personal as you can. People love that shit. Do you care about what the outcome of the election is? Why? Why do you think more voting will make a difference? What was it like the very first time you ever voted? Really, people are there to support Vote.org because YOU support Vote.org. Tell them why.
Fifth, have people verbally commit to donating. (Optional but epic step)
Social validation is a really great motivator when it comes to donating. So what you want to do is line up a couple of friends beforehand who you know aren’t shy about going first. These people are plants (in a good way) Then after everyone has stated why voting is important to them, you start asking people to commit to donating. Your plants pipe up with some low-level amount of money, just to get things started. DO NOT LET YOUR PLANTS IMMEDIATELY DONATE $1000 OR THEY WILL FUCK EVERYTHING UP. (Seriously, I was at a fundraiser recently where the plant did this and we were all like, “Homie, really, you had ONE job to do and you opened with $1000?! Way to kill momentum.”)
Here’s how this would work at my party:
- Me: “I’m glad you could all make it to my friendraiser. Vote.org is on track to run one of the biggest Get Out The Vote efforts in the country. Let’s help them by raising some money. Who’s with me?”
- Toby the cat: “I’ll chip in ten dollars!”
- Mona the cat: “I’ll chip in ten as well!”
- Human friend: “Well if the cats are doing ten, I’ll do twenty!”
Sixth, guide everyone to the nearest laptop(s).
We use ActBlue for fundraising. Here’s the URL for our fundraising page:
If you want to know how many people donated because of you and your AWESOME PARTY you can add a refcode (short for referral code). Here’s how that works:
Important things to note:
- Vote.org is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity. All donations are fully tax-deductible.
- Actblue sends automatic “thank you” emails and receipts, so people are good come tax-time
Also, put out a jar and drop a $20 bill in it before everyone gets there. Some people still use cash, apparently. Print out Vote.org’s logo and tape it on the jar. Or, get creative:
Last! But important!
- Post friend-raiser, send a thank you email to everyone for attending.
- Make sure to include a link to the donate link that you made (above) in the email. This way anyone who forgot to donate at the party (or who is inspired to donate again, it happens!) can still kick in some dollars.
Now sit back, relax, and know that you’ve done more than 96% of people to increase voter turnout.
Tips on how to make the pitch at your party
- First, ply everyone with alcohol.
- Second, tell everyone what inspired you to host a friend-raiser for Vote.org. Do you care about the outcome of the Presidential election? Why? Why? Why do you think more voting will make a difference? What was it like the very first time you ever voted? Really, people are there to support Vote.org because YOU support Vote.org. Tell them why. Here’s what long-time Vote.org supporter had to say recently: “I will never forget my first time voting. I was a nervous 18-yr old, accompanied by my mom, and I voted for Bill Clinton. My heart was going to burst out of my chest when I submitted my ballot. It was a big day. I’ve been watching the attacks on voter access the past few years, and part of the reason I support Vote.org is that it makes voting easier, not harder. That’s the way it should be. Every voter should be able to feel that heart-bursting feeling.”
- Third, tell attendees some basic stuff about Vote.org and how you’re connected to the organization. You might want to mention that Vote.org helped 5.2 million people vote between 2008 and 2015, and is on track to more than double that number in 2016. If you know someone who currently works (or volunteers) for Vote.org, describe your personal connection to this person.
- Fourth, remind people that the clock is ticking! Tell them exactly how many days there are until Election Day.
- Finally, ask if anyone has any questions or is ready to make a pledge. (THEN WINK AT YOUR PLANTED DONORS)