Guide on How to Throw the Perfect Fundraising Gala

December 5, 2016
6 minutes

A fundraising gala is a classic type of event that has a more formal nature to it than other types of fundraisers. These are one of the most popular types of events for fundraising that nonprofits make use of regularly.

Everybody gets dressed up to wine, dine, and celebrate. Raising money and building relationships are two key elements of a fundraising gala. You have the incredible opportunity to compel and persuade your corporate supporters, major donors, community leaders, and board members to continue supporting your nonprofit's mission.

Tips to Create the Perfect Fundraising Gala

To throw the perfect fundraising gala, you are going to have to put in the effort. Throwing a gala can be a stressful and time-consuming process. Extensive planning will be necessary if you want your event to be as seamless as possible. 

Gala fundraisers are a wonderful opportunity to build strong, lasting, and meaningful relationships with people that align with your mission and want to support it financially. Here are some tips to help you create the most successful fundraising gala possible that will help your fundraising soar to new heights.

Design a Program Focused on Your Goals

Goals are the blueprint for your gala. They will ensure that your event is a stellar success. Always keep your goals in mind while you plan your fundraising gala. When you know what you want to achieve with the event, you will have an easier time reaching your goals. Design your program in a way which encourages donors to contribute to your campaign.

Choose a Theme

When you have a specific theme for your gala, you give it more personality and make the overall experience more enjoyable. A theme will also help speed up your planning stage. When you can narrow your focus on what sort of decorations to get, what type of food to order, and where the venue location should be, you will have more time to focus on the fundraising aspect of the event. 

There are many types of themes to choose from. Some popular ones are the following:

  • Black & White Color Scheme
  • Masquerade
  • Casino Night
  • Hawaiian
  • Broadway
  • Holiday Celebration

You can either go with one of these favorites or come up with your own theme related to your cause.

Auction Off Products & Experiences Related to Your Cause

The auction is one of the most important aspects of a fundraising gala. A silent auction is especially popular. Sometimes, nonprofits give away things that are unrelated to the actual cause. If you want to strengthen the commitment donors have to your cause, auction off products and experiences directly related to the work your nonprofit is doing. You have a high chance of converting donors into devoted and lifelong supporters. Turn every part of your gala into something that exemplifies and reinforces the commitment of donors.

Create and Stick to a Budget

Making sure that you have a budget that you stick to is crucial if you want to make the fundraising gala worth all of the planning that goes into it. Your budget for the gala should include estimated costs, actual costs, and a projected fundraising total. Itemize every aspect of the gala. This will allow you to know exactly how much money will be spent on the fundraising event. Keep costs under budget in case you have unexpected costs arise. 

If you notice that you are probably going to be over-budget, it is better to know earlier than later as to whether you need to seek out corporate sponsors. If you have already hosted a fundraising gala previously, you could use that event's financials to estimate how much you are likely to raise in your upcoming gala. 

Manage Your Event Digitally

Managing your event can be much easier these days than it used to be thanks to event management software. In fact, Funraise offers an Events and Ticketing feature that's second to none. Going digital will free up more of your time to focus on ensuring your attendees are provided with the best possible experience. You can outsource several tasks to an event management program. Some of them are:

  • Registrations
  • Payments
  • Providing schedules
  • Sharing information about the gala
  • Seating arrangements
  • Analytics tracking
  • Reports

Event management software like Funraise's will even help your future events become more seamless and streamlined. You can even take digital management of your event to the next level by creating a responsive website specific to your fundraising gala. You can also have a simple mobile app created for your event.

Save money on printed promotional materials and invitations. Promote the event on social media to further harness the power of the digital age.

Have Exciting Fundraising Ideas

Having engaging and exciting fundraising ideas will help increase the amount of money you raise at your fundraising gala. There are a few popular ways to raise money at a gala. Some of the most popular ones are auctions and raffles.

Auctions, usually in the form of a silent auction, are really successful at raising money. Everyone loves incentives beyond supporting a good cause. This is what makes an auction so popular. Auctioning off products and experiences makes the gala an exciting one. Besides silent auctions, there are also live auctions and online auctions. Whatever type of auction you decide to go with, you will have pros and cons to consider.

Raffles are sometimes incorporated directly into a fundraising gala. Raffles will be successful if they are clearly noticeable at your gala. Your dedicated event staff should be encouraged to help sell as many raffle tickets as possible. Make multiple announcements about the raffle tickets being available. Encourage people to buy multiple raffle tickets.

Host That Perfect Fundraising Gala

Fundraising galas are a well-entrenched fundraising event for nonprofits everywhere. Avoid simply repeating the same event year after year. You want your event to keep people involved, engaged, and donating to your cause. Remind your guests why they care and support what you are doing so you can keep them as lifelong supporters.

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