Recently Jacqui and I met Bryan Sergeant, an enthusiastic whirlwind of energy behind new fundraising service Dinner4Good. We were so impressed, we pretty much signed Dogs Trust up on the spot.
The idea behind Dinner4Good is that you have a dinner party (or tea party, barbeque or any other type of foodie hosted occasion) and instead of bringing a bottle or gift, guests make a donation to a charity of the host's choice. Dinner4Good's website does all the donation handling, Gift Aid - which means an extra 28p per £1 to the charity if you're a UK taxpayer - and even the invitations. All you need to do is throw a great party.
Here are some ideas we've been bouncing around the office for making your event go with a bang:
- Come Dine With Me: In these credit-crunchy times, more people are cooking at home and inviting friends over anyway. Why not take it a step further and mimic popular competitive dining TV show Come Dine With Me, making it into a competition? Instead of marking friends out of 10, you could give them a donation of £1 for every point, competing to earn the most for your chosen charities.
- Themes: Themes could be anything from clothes, to decor to foods from around the world. If you're organising a Dogs Trust themed party, get creative with cheap and cheerful decorations. We used (new and unused!) dog bowls for nibbles at our Dogs Trust Honours reception to great effect. Or if you have a bone-shaped cookie cutter, you could make some excellent shaped finger foods.
Another option could be to have the do for your canine friends too - have a picnic in the park with your walking group and bring along a few extra homemade treats for the four-legged members of the group. The extra effort has got to be worth a few extra pennies in donations...
- Monthly challenges: If the first party is a roaring success, why not turn it into a regular event with the host chosing a new charity every month? It's cheaper than going out, just as much fun and you can know that while you're enjoying yourselves you're helping animals - or people - all over the world.
If you do host a party, let us know how it goes! We'd love photos and blog posts to inspire others with.