As a host for a meet and greet event, you are generally viewed as a supporter of the guest candidates. You do not need to overly promote the candidate during the event. Your goal is simply to provide a casual environment to support discussion, learning, and relationship development related to supporting your candidate(s) and the topics that are meaningful to their campaigns. Be aware of the candidates’ platforms and their backgrounds enough to know why you are supporting their candidacy.
- Set the date and mail invitations. Ideal attendance is 15 to 20 people. Typical ratio of invitees to attendees is 1:4, so send out ~ 60 invitations. Invitees should be your neighbors and friends who live in the township who are eligible to vote in the primary. The local Democratic Committee will assist with information on registered Democrats in the area.
- Call your guests to follow up –The more the merrier, so make calls and encourage folks to join the festivities. Your personal contact adds that “personal touch” to draw invitees over. Reminder calls a few days in advance of the party boosts attendance tremendously.
- Provide light refreshments (food and drinks) – Think of food appropriate for the time of day, e.g., appetizers for early evening, dessert for after dinner. Provide a mixture of drinks, e.g., coffee, water, soft drinks or wine. Have bottled water for candidates.
- Provide plates, cups, napkins, utensils.
- Decide where candidates will stand to speak.
- Decide where coats will be placed, if appropriate.
- Prepare the restroom.
- Consider having a doormat outside during inclimate weather.
- Keep paper towels and seltzer water on hand for spills or drops.
- Organize the room for standing guests, but keep seating available.
- If a small dining room is needed, it’s OK to raise hanging lights and move the table to the side.
- Extra or side tables or delicate items should be moved out to avoid damage, bumping, or tripping.
- Set the stage – Set out food and beverages. Have a table for campaign materials and places for most of your guests to sit.
- Enjoy being the host or hostess – Make people feel welcome. Introduce folks to each other and to the campaign staff. Speak from your heart about what motivates you to support the candidate(s). Introduced her to your guests as you would a friend.
- Personal Enthusiasm! The best way to gain advocacy from your guests, is to demonstrate your own dedication and enthusiasm for the effort. Passion and commitment are infectious! Every time you talk to your guests let them feel your commitment to the candidate(s).
- Make the call to action – After the candidate(s) have spoken and engaged in a broad conversation about issues and the campaign, ask for volunteers and contributions. The campaign will supply you with appropriate materials.
- Follow up with a simple thank you – Attendees will receive a thank you from the campaign. An added thank you note from you, too, is a nice touch.
T-0:30 Candidate advance team arrives with bio materials, signs, sign-in sheets, nametags, pens, markers, etc.
T+0:00 Guests Arrive and mingle, Candidate(s) arrive
T+0:30 Host introduction of speakers (keep it brief)
- Be sure to thank guests for coming
- Remind them of the little envelopes for donations
- Express your interest in having candidates meet the community
- Provide a very brief bio of the candidate(s)
T+0:35 Candidate speeches
If there are multiple candidates, they will go in order of office rank, lowest to highest, with each candidate being granted increasing time, but the overall time should be kept brief to allow for questions.
T+1:00 (max) Guest questions
T+1:30 (max) Final candidate thanks guests for their time and attention. They should also implore guests to get involved in helping by contributing or volunteering.
Guests should know to begin departing within a short time. If they don’t, it’s OK to remind them and thank them for coming.