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Hosting A Fundraising Event

By Hosting a fundraising event you can have a great time with your friends and coworkers and make a big difference in the lives of families in Vietnam at the same time.

Some examples of successful events include:

  • Bowling tournaments
  • Casino nights
  • Dances
  • Auctions
  • Bake sales
  • Singles events
  • Themed dinner

Consider partnering with your favorite local club or bar. Many times they are happy to work with groups who want to have parties that will ensure they have a great turnout. If you have it on a normally slow night many clubs will bend over backwards to encourage you and your 50+ friends to come. Below are some additional ideas on different fundraisers along with what the Vietnam Learning Association can do to help you make them a success.


Dinner Party

This is the easiest for most people. If you have a good sized home to host it in (or even an apartment if you don’t mind being cozy) you can host a fundraising party in your home. It’s no different from having a big birthday party. Except that along with encouraging your guests to bring food and drinks you have a suggested donation amount and you set a goal for the night.

The goal might be as modest as building and supplying books for the children’s area of a library (About $1,000), up to building an entire small library ($20,000). Invitations, either Evite or paper will include information on the VLA and what a difference the help will make.

Try including the following:

    • Music by Vietnamese artists

    • Posters of some of the people and places where the libraries are being built

    • Vietnamese food and drinks (though we recommend steering clear of the “snake wine”)

    • Even a slide show on your tv or a friend’s projector showing images from Vietnam

A party of 200 people can easily have funded a library by the end of the night. You can collect all the names of the donors and they’ll be put on a metal plaque on the front of your library! When is the last time you woke up after a night of heavy partying and thought, “Oh man, I think I funded a much-needed community resource! Does anyone else remember that?!” Rather than whatever other unfortunate thing you might have done.

Consider making it a by-invitation only singles night. Women especially like singles parties organized by women and where the men who will be coming are friends and coworkers of people involved in the planning. People who have been pre-screened. This can also be a nice occasion for a Vietnamese American oriented event.  If you go this route, consider encouraging people to list their MySpace profiles or Match.com IDs with their Evite RSVP. That way people can get to know a bit about each other and even communicate before the event.

What the VLA Can Do:

  • We’ll give you the template or artwork to customize your Evite invitations along with attention getting text about the organization.

  • We’ll take your information and create your paper invitations for you and email you the finished version for printing.

  • We can supply slide shows either of information on the org, or just pictures of the country and the people you’ll be helping.

  • We’ll help you advertise the event on our website with maps and any information you want your guests to find easily.

  • We can suggest easy menus for food or drinks to serve.

  • We can supply easy to print donation cards for people to fill out credit card information, and tell you how to enter it later into Paypal.

  • We can provide prizes if you have games that people will be playing. Tee shirts, baseball caps, and mugs.

  • Help write singles questionnaires that you can attach to your Evites so that  people have to answer certain questions that will help everyone get to know each other better.

  • In general we’re happy to get on the phone and help you brainstorm for the event.

Large Dinner Parties

If you have access to a hall or bigger space for a party, in addition to the ideas above consider the following:

400 guests can easily fund a large library ($40,000, complete with books).

If you’re in an area with Vietnamese bands or musicians consider having one or two play the event and donate their time for a good cause.

Local restaurants will often donate food for fundraisers. If you ask for one dish in a large amount from 4 or 5 different restaurants you can easily provide a large amount of food. As a point of reference you should count on 1.5 8 oz drinks per person, and one standard large aluminum food tray (you know the ones everyone has at weddings) will feed 50 people. Remember that these donations in food are tax deductible.

Need flower arrangements for tables? Florists also can receive a tax deduction on the merchandise they donate for a fundraiser.

If you get a club or large bar to host the party ask them to donate a percentage of their profits for the night to the VLA. This is also tax-deductible.

Try to get a local business or radio station to sponsor the event. It’s great publicity for them and they also get a tax write-off. Being able to “deliver” a large group of young-professionals for a social event is worth a lot to many companies and entertainment industries.
For large events you’ll want to make sure you “make the ask” and collect their donations before everyone gets too “happy”. Provide envelopes so they can donate with more privacy and put someone who won’t be drinking in charge of the envelopes. If you’re at a bar or club, ask to store your donations in their safe for the night.

Another way to handle the donations is to sell “tickets” ahead of time which include the donation amount. Then you can give a list to the club or bar of people who have pre-paid and you don’t need to worry about collecting donations. This can be a nice way to handle a fundraising concert.

What the VLA Can Do:

  • Publicity – Remember that a fundraising event for a non-profit is eligible for Public Service Announcement time on the radio. This time is free and we can help you write a spot for your local radio station and submit it. For large events, or events in clubs this can be a great help in increasing turnout.

  • Help with drafting and sending letters to businesses, restaurants, etc.

  • Personal appearances. Our senior leadership team is willing to travel to present at large events. But we need to work carefully with your group to ensure the event meets our criteria for a personal appearance.

Philanthropic Tourism

Ok, this may be a bit beyond what most people are thinking of planning, but group trips are becoming more and more popular. They help cut down on the expense of hotels, allow you to get better deals on airfare, and give you someone to talk to who speaks the same language as you.

If 10 people fly coach rather than business class to Vietnam, the cost difference can fund the construction on on large library.

Consider getting a small group together (with at least 2 people who are fluent in conversational Vietnamese) to travel to southern Vietnam.

The costs of staying in cities like Ca Mau are ridiculously low by western standards. Your group can travel down to the areas where the library they will fund will be built, and meet the people they will be helping.

Many expats still have family in the south and this can be a terrific way for a group to reconnect with relatives they haven’t seen in years. But to do so with the support of your friends. Then travel up to Ho Chi Minh City and enjoy a few days of more “western” comforts, like ice, before coming home.

The thing to keep in mind is that giving to the VLA is a theme you can apply to any social event, and that by doing so you add a layer of meaningfulness to whatever it is you’re planning.

Please fill out the following information and forward to events@vietnamlibrary.org to help us work with you on your special event. We need to ensure we have all the correct permissions in place for each town we fundraiser in. It’s not a problem getting them, but they do need to be in place before donations are collected.

Download instructions and form in Word .doc format

Fundraising Event Details

Name of Event:

Location of Event:

Date of Event:

Time of Event:

Sponsor of Event:

Contact Person:

First Name

Last Name

Street Address:


State - Zip code:

E-mail Address:


Description of Event:

Have you sponsored an event such as this before:

How will the event be publicized:

How will funds be raised:

Projected Revenue:   

Projected Expenses:

Signature of Event Sponsor:


Please retain a copy of this form for your records. Mail / Email to:

Vietnam Learning Association, 20 Bromfield Rd, Somerville, MA 02144; events@vietnamlibrary.org

Vietnam Learning Association
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Tel: 508-579-4036 • email: info@vietnamlibrary.org
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