Hosting a Benefit

A benefit event can be a fun and educational way to raise funds for your advocacy efforts and spread your message of justice. A benefit can be anything from a simple by-donation movie night with potluck, to a full-fledged, all-night bash with live music, dinner, auctions, and activities for the kids'.

The Coalition is fortunate enough to work in a 4,500 square foot church in the center of town, built in 1924 and renovated in the seventies. We have a ready-made venue (which we filled on two occasions with a live band and well over a hundred folks!), and for your own local needs, see if a local church. community club with facilities for rent, will offer up space to a worthy cause at little or no charge. In 1998, we rented our county fairgrounds and had over 500 people for an all afternoon through evening event with food and music. Weather permitting, an outdoor event, picnic area can also be place where you can gather a group for fun and fundraising.

Our first step was lining up some dedicated assistants. We had a team of four core volunteers for both benefits in 2007, with many others pitching in along the way. At our first meeting we decided party themes, and what activities we’d have to raise money. We contacted a local band, The Planetary Refugees and made sure that our date was an open date for the musicians willing to donate their talents and time.

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One volunteer supervised food donations and assistants for a home-cooked, healthy dinner by donation. Another volunteer organized the auctions, which also entailed finding donations of collectibles and services from local individuals and businesses. Another volunteer planed games for children and adults, and another was in charge of decorations and anything left out -- one of the most important position to have. Every volunteer was involved in getting donations of food, auction items or cash. We are fortunate that artisans in our area our generous to progressive causes of all kinds.

Lots of items we auctioned were handmade or expensive items that people didn't need anymore, from ornate pottery, and jewelry, to a wooden baby cradle. Gift certificates from local stores and homemade cakes and pies -- even a truckload of firewood was donated.

Once time and place were set, auction items coming in, we began to focus on publicizing the event to everyone in the community. We designed and distributed one-sheet flyers, mailed them to local members and put them up in places where people gather. Public service announcements went to our local radio station, and newspapers.

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Finally, at both 2007 benefits, we set up informational tables, and a little time to remind folks why we gathered in the first place -- because "There is no justice in the war on drugs".

Enjoy a 5 minute benefit video that might inspire you and your imagination, and if you have any questions about hosting a benefit, we'd be glad to try to answer them.

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