How to Set Up a Host Committee for Your Nonprofit Events
Events are a critical component of fundraising and outreach. Most nonprofit events are an “all hands on deck” affair that requires everyone within a nonprofit to work together. Some nonprofits even have an overall event planning committee and dedicated volunteers who help plan and set up for the event.
However, while event planning is critical if you want the event to go smoothly, you also want results from all of your efforts. That is why your organization should recruit a “host committee.”
What Is a Host Committee?
A “host committee” is different from a traditional event planning committee. Instead of people who are actively planning, scheduling or setting up for the day’s or evening’s events, the host committee uses its networks to make sure the event is a hit. Host committee members may choose to:
- Encourage their friends, family or colleagues to buy tickets
- Collect auction items from local businesses
- Make vendor connections for door prizes or event catering
Of course, there are countless ways a host committee can make your charitable events better than ever. Think of a host committee as the actual host of a party; someone who invites the best guests, knows whom to call for the food or decor and can connect you with people that make the event a total success.
Because a host committee can increase the funds received at an event or get more media attention, finding and recruiting the right individuals is vital.
Who to Choose for Your Host Committee
A genuinely useful host committee will not include paid marketers or professional event planners. Instead, they should be highly engaged members of your existing team, donor base or volunteers with connections and the willingness to reach out.
Your host committee can range from just a few people to dozens. The more people on your committee, the more impact they can make collectively on the success of your event.
You can find host committee members almost anywhere, including:
- A board member or chairperson within your organization
- Volunteers who are highly engaged in the community
- A donor who has connections to local businesses
- A donor or board member who has extensive contacts in your ideal donor demographic
- Volunteers who know vendors or venue owners
- Local or national celebrities who frequently advocate for your cause
Once you have located individuals you would like to join your host committee, it is time to recruit them.
How to Recruit a Host Committee
Seek and connect with individuals who would make excellent host committee members. However, do not just ask someone to be on a host committee. A formal invitation is the best way to recruit committee members.
In a host committee invitation, it is essential to include:
- Complete information about the event and your organization (date and location)
- Information about the purpose of the event (fundraising for a specific cause)
- Examples of how a host committee member could contribute
- A date to respond or connect with your team
- An “advance” thank you for letting them know you are excited to invite them
- Your name/contact person and contact information
Make sure that potential members know their involvement will be recognized and appreciated and that they can make a significant impact by joining.
If you are wondering how to draft your host committee invitation letter, copy and paste the template below and insert your information in each of the brackets.
Dear [Insert Name]:
I am writing to let you know about an exciting event that [Your Organization Name] is planning for [Month] in [Insert City].
In [Month + Year (if different than the current one)], [Organization] is bringing the [Event Name] to [City] to increase awareness about [cause/social issue/problem your organization addresses] and to build support for [programs/initiatives/efforts]. [Add relevant information about the event/goal/theme].
The event will be held in [City] at [Event Venue (if you have it)] on [date and time].
[First Name], we would love your help to make this event—and others just like it—a success. If you would like to be a part of this event, as well as future events, we would be most grateful if you would accept this formal invitation to be part of our host committee.
There are a few simple ways to get involved:
- Share your name, or your organization’s name, as a member of our host committee
- Invite your colleagues, friends, and neighbors to purchase a [table/ticket] to our event(s)
- Join us for the event
- [Insert specific request based on the person’s standing, connections.]
We’d also love it if you considered hosting your own table and inviting friends and colleagues to an evening of fun. Your generous support will help us spread the word about [cause] and make an impact.
A member of [Organization] will be contacting you within the [Insert timeframe] to discuss the details of our host committee and to discuss your involvement, should you be interested.
We look forward to working with you to make [Event Name] and future events a success! Thanks for your generous consideration and support.
[Position in Organization]
After You Have Recruited Your Host Committee
Once you have invited your selected committee members, you will receive some acceptance letters or calls. However, before you get into the details of the event or what you would like them to do, schedule a short meeting with the committee. Without asking for anything from them, let them:
- Get acquainted with one another
- Discuss how they are involved in your organization
- Review materials or presentations about your cause/work
- Brainstorm ideas about how they would like to contribute
From there, you can let them know your fundraising goals, and how you would like to see them work together (inviting contacts or reaching out for auction items). They may also split into “sub-committees” if you have a large group
Of course, it is not the job of the host committee alone to plan and execute your event. A host committee should work with your volunteers or event planning committee to sell tickets, make sure new event sponsorships are claimed, auction items are plentiful, and that the night will be a hit for the attendees.
Recognizing Your Host Committee’s Efforts
When the event is over, your host committee members should be some of the first people you thank, both at the event and with a written thank you the day after. The more you engage your host committee, the more they will be willing to host in the future.
Find the people within your organization or community that could help you host your next event. They could make a massive difference in the amount of money you raise and the programs you can support.