Culture

Find Out How to Host a Dinner Party That Will Change Your World  

by Zara DeGroot

June 10, 2015

We’re teaming up with our friends at Sambazon for 100 days of little ways to change our world. Follow along for the next 100 days of action (and giveaways) on Instagram @Sambazon and at www.sambazon.com/100. And don’t forget to tell us @GOOD about how you’re changing your world with the hashtag #100Startswith1.

#100StartsWith1

Champion: Jerri Chou

Action: Start a conversation about social change over a meal and share your successes using the hashtag #100StartsWith1.

Jerri Chou thinks conversations over food have the power to change the world. “They say that the medium is the message. There’s something human about breaking bread together and it’s special, and it’s something that can be part of the inspiration for change,” she says. 

Chou founded The Feast in 2008 with a mission to call people to action to do good and create communities of influence. Conferences happen twice a year. The Feast Impact East is happening in Brooklyn in October 2-4, 2015, and The Feast Impact West will be in San Fransisco in April 2016. In addition to the biannual conferences, The Feast Worldwide was established in 2012 to expand its reach internationally. 

“When you [gather over a meal], you create an opportunity to relax, be human, and realize there is something greater than yourself, which is really special,” says Chou.

Guests enjoy a dinner hosted by The Feast in Chicago last fall.

Every Feast event is centered around a new topic of discussion focusing on an important global concern—Chou says that the group likes to do this by asking a big question that guests will answer over the course of the night. Each meal offers an occasion to motivate and influence others to do good in their communities.

Chou likes to select a guest of honor—a celebrated individual who is well-versed in the theme of the evening—to help attract interesting attendees and cultivate the flow of the evening’s conversation. It’s important to tightly curate the guest list—to ensure that every individual in attendance has a unique background or point of view. “We are inviting people to share that one special thing they have to offer to the world and apply it toward something big and important… Over the course of the evening, guests get inspired by each other, share their unique perspectives, and collectively seek change.”

Jerri Chou's Tips For Hosting Your Own Feast

The Feast challenges you to host a dinner of your own, then share your successes with the hashtag #100StartsWith1. A feast focused on social change can be grand and complex or small and simple—either way, Chou has a few tips to get you started.

Getting ready for your dinner takes just a few steps. Download The Feast’s How to Host a Dinner Toolkit, and follow along with these tips:

  • Get an idea about the sort of dinner you’d like to hold. How many people would you like to invite, and which kinds of topics would you like to explore?
     
  • Find and book a venue. If you’re getting a few influencers together over drinks and appetizers, someone’s apartment might work well. If you’d like to bring together 50 big names, you might want to book a gallery or other type of venue more suited to the occasion.
     
  • Choose a good co-host. Find someone in your community who has the power to bring people together, with expertise in your topic of the night, who can help moderate the conversation. The Feast started out doing a lot of cold calls, and it worked out fine. Reach out to your mayor’s office, local artists, community organizers, or professors—you’d be surprised who will say yes. Your dinner will give them a platform for their personal cause. 
     
  • Invite your guests. Use this template to help you draft up an invitation to be sent over email, and change it to suit your purposes. You can use it as a guide when setting up an invite page on Facebook, Eventbrite, or MeetUp, as well. It’s helpful to send out a reminder for the event the day before, and to follow up by text message or phone to give your invitation a personal touch.
Interacting over a meal at a dinner thrown by The Feast last month.

What to do the night of your dinner: 

  • Invite each person to introduce themselves. Ask them to share the unique perspective—we call it a superpower—they are bringing to the table.
     
  • Introduce the topic of discussion for the evening. Your guest of honor should speak to this for about 10 minutes or so. 
     
  • Invite everyone to use their superpowers to tackle the evening’s topic over dinner. It helps to keep a list of prompts in mind. If you’d really like to keep the flow of the evening moving, have fun with this interactive game for creating the perfect world.
     
  • After dinner, ask everyone to come up with one action to take in the next few days. You’ll be talking about really lofty dreams and goals all night, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. By giving everyone an actionable to-do list, you really will start to change the world. Actions can be super big or super small (like hosting another dinner). 
     
  • Post about your successful dinner on social media. Tell us about the awesome actions people are going to take, post pictures from the night, or share any particularly genius quotes. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #100StartsWith1

For more information about The Feast, visit their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles. 

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Find Out How to Host a Dinner Party That Will Change Your World