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How to host a successful dinner party in support of women survivors of war

On 7th September 2016, Dahs and Emily hosted a unique dinner party, and it went on to raise just under £3,500! Read this blog written by Dahs Chae and Emily Franca to find out exactly how they did it. 

The Inspiration

Emily and I are passionate about empowering women, and changing the world one woman at a time. The seedling for our first fundraiser came following a coffee morning I had with Nicola Casey, Senior Philanthropic Manager for Women for Women International - UK. Although I was familiar with the charity, it was my first time hearing about their work directly. Women for Women International operates in places where it is more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier and so the involvement of the charity working in these regions is inspiring in itself. My next thought was immediately, 'How can I get involved?' and so the idea for the first Women for Women International #SheInspiresMe dinner event was born.

The hosts Emily Franca and Dahs Chae.

The Planning

Emily and I teamed together to bring the seed idea to fruition. Working in a bank and a law firm, events planning is not something we do for our careers. We knew we wanted to organise something that would really engage our friends and colleagues. 

To organise this, we had to be commercial, and we had a target of fundraising £2,000 in order to be able to support four women in total – the primary objective of this event. We brainstormed ideas and decided on a dinner for around 50-60 people to take place after summer, allowing for about six weeks planning time!

With maximising profits, and minimising costs at the forefront of planning, we approached Megan's Café on the Kings Road, a delightful restaurant that offers an enchanting garden space for private parties. With the date and idea confirmed, we sent out a 'Save the date' to our friends and colleagues – it was important to put the event in people's diaries as early as possible!

Dahs gives a speech to welcome her guests.

Then came the bulk of the planning; the additional details of how to raise as much money as possible on the evening. We decided to have a raffle; in order to secure top raffle auction prizes, we prepared a short business plan to provide to businesses. We got in touch with Nicola to help us arrange for a guest speaker to come to the event, and we secured Zuhal Sultan, Iraqi pianist and activist who contributed to Women for Women International's Share cookbook. With a high profile biography, many of our guests were excited to hear from her.

We also created additional details such as dinner party games and ‘Change for Change’ envelopes, as small touches can make all the difference, and we were determined to make the event the best we could – and the secret to it all was working together as a team!

The amazing location: Megan's Cafe on the King's Road.

The Highlight

Our fundraiser dinner was a real success and feedback from our guests was extremely positive and encouraging. The venue looked beautiful, the food went down a treat, the prizes were very well received and a lot of money was spent on the auction. Most importantly though, we were delighted by the reaction that the charity received and people were thankful for being given the opportunity to be introduced to Women for Women International and be able to hear first-hand from Zuhal, who gave a truly inspirational talk. Inspired by Zuhal’s Date and Walnut Cookie recipe from the Women for Women International Share Cookbook, we baked a few hundred cookies to give out as goodie bags at the end of the evening.

Preparations all finished at the #SheInspiresMe event.

The Achievement

Altogether we were able to raise a huge amount – just under £3,500, which smashes our target as we can now support nearly 7 women! We also had an online JustGiving page for people who were unable to attend. .We loved organising this event and the satisfaction from it was immense, so much so that it has made us want to organise another one in the future, but bigger and better!  ​

Zuhal's date and walnut cookies were given to each guest.

No matter how big or small, we would be so grateful if you hosted a Share Event to raise money to sponsor a woman survivor of war. Whether it's an intimate gathering, or a big party like the one planned by Emily and Dahs, if you would like to raise funds having a dinner party with your friends, we have created an easy-to-use toolkit to help you plan the event. 

It is filled with recipes by renowned chefs and programme graduates, advice on planning your events, and information on how your support will impact a woman's life. Click below to get started. Good luck!