If you missed the first half of these tips on Monday, click here to go read that and then come back.
If you insist on just starting with today’s post, I’m also cool with that. It’s your internet. I just write the best support-raising related posts in it.
As I said on Monday, there is a special brand of awkwardness that comes from being a missionary guest at a Christmas party. It’s an entertaining mix of small talk, high calorie foods, and response cards.
That’s actually a good segue back into list mode. Let’s do this.
Response Cards-timing is key.
When I went to group functions to raise support, I often used a response card with basic name/email/phone number/level of interest in giving to my ministry questions printed on card stock with some killer “I printed this on my way out the door without changing the toner in my printer” branding. This gave people a way to respond without an awkward “I see that hand” moment at any point during the proceedings. It also freed me up to hard-sell the need for support without offending people or manipulating emotions.
There is, however, an inverse correlation between the likelihood you are going to get anything of use on a response card and the responder’s current felt need for gingerbread. Keep that in mind during any holiday-themed support raising events on the calendar. The less they feel the need to walk across the room and cut “just one more little piece,” the more likely you are to get more than just a first name and an email address that doesn’t have an @ symbol on the response card. To alleviate this problem, pass the gingerbread around, then chase it with a stack of cards and pens.
Go Easy on the Sausage Balls.
This one is admittedly personal, but I’ve got a real weakness when it comes to any combination involving sausage and cheese. That’s not normally a problem (please don’t link me to anything regarding the health risks of sausage. Ignorance is tasty, tasty bliss), but when you’ve got to give a presentation involving public speaking, take it from me: moderation is key to sausage success.
(as an aside: among the quotable nuggets of wisdom I thought I’d write when I started a blog about financial support, “moderation is key to sausage success” surprisingly didn’t make my pre-game top five.)
Save the 13 sausage balls and accompanying stomach cramps for the ride home. And open a window.
Bolt before the Unwrapping Begins.
If you hear nothing else from me this holiday season, hear this: There’s nothing in the world worse than being the only person at a party with no gift. Except perhaps making somebody pretend they brought you a gift, by going to the master bedroom and wrapping the clock-radio.
You really, really want to make your exit from this affair before any gift-exchanging transpires. If somebody sneak attacks the gift portion of the event, and you somehow get stuck, consider yourself the kid with headgear at a seventh grade social dancing event–your options are few, and unattractive.
The first option is to become the official wrapping paper collector. It’s not a great choice, but we’ve already covered the fact that you are all out of great choices. My go-to in this situation is to make it a basketball-esque game with the person receiving the gift, and have them ball up the paper and toss it toward the “hoop” made from holding a large trash bag open. Move the bag to make cocky people miss. It’s a classic move guaranteed to make strangers laugh, at least once.
The only other option you’ve got here is to become the dishwasher in these situations. Make a “Jesus washed feet, the least I can do is wash a few dishes” joke. You’ll get some sympathy laughs, but (more importantly) an excuse to not be in the room any longer. Exit immediately, wash dishes and punctuate with eating sausage balls.
These tips have been fun. I think I’ve got some more in me, but that’s all for now. I reserve the right to continue (continuing) this post later.
In the meantime, here’s a question to spur conversation: what’s the strangest gift (non-gag) that you’ve ever received at a party? Comment below.