Tips for a Successful Fundraising Event
Planning a fundraising event or gala comes with a lot of responsibilities. You’ll no doubt want it to be a blowout success, so you’ll need to outline the items you feel are the most important to your guests.
We’ve crafted a list of details to help you on your way!
Pick the Perfect Gala Venue
Even on a limited budget, you can find an event venue that is perfect for your special occasion.
Before you start your search, make a list of things you’ll need the venue to have and ask the venue coordinator to help you with the specific items you’re looking for.
Top considerations include:
The number of guests you plan to invite
Weather conditions for the time of year (Indoor vs outdoor venues)
Location convenience and parking
What the venue offers in regards to food
Entertainment set up, stage areas, equipment provided on-site
These all-important questions will be essential when creating your gala location checklist.
Set Your Event Goal
Duh! Well, not really. This often gets lost in the details of everything else that comes with planning an event. As galas are usually fundraising dinners or semi-formal events for donors, this may revolve around the charity.
With this in mind, think about the type of people who will attend and what they may expect.
Is this an exclusive corporate bash to celebrate an achievement?
Is this event 21 and over?
How accommodating would the venue be if age is a factor?
Will you be selling tickets or holding an auction or raffle?
You’ll want to communicate these expectations to your guests and your venue. Make sure to include details like these on the invitations.
Deciding on Food & Drink
Determining what kind of event you’re hosting, the level of formality and budget you have to work with will help you narrow down what type of catering you’ll want.
Consider if you want guests to mingle (cocktail catering) or if you’d like it to be a plated, seated service. Keep in mind this will require appropriate seating arrangements.
Personalizing some aspects of the food can be a memorable touch. Work with your caterer to bring a personalized touch to the evening’s feast.
Your entertainment should match the gala’s theme. For example, if you’re aiming for a fancier, classier affair, it may be better accentuated by an excellent jazz band than a DJ.
Here are some items to consider when choosing entertainment:
Cost – A smaller band will be less expensive than a larger one.
Accessibility – can your venue accommodate the size of the group you hire?
Speakers – if you hire a speaker, ensure their content or perspectives match the event’s tone.
*Pro Tip - Ask the venue team for a list of local entertainment they might have used for other functions. They will be happy to help recommend.
Sponsors & Volunteers
Securing the funds for a gala can be a fundraiser in and of itself. You will need a budget to get everything you need including decorations, music, food, etc.. Volunteers can be a big help from the start.
Asking people who are passionate about your cause to raise money for the gala or help decorate the venue can take a lot off your plate. Enthusiastic helpers could also make the calls to guests, local businesses and companies willing to sponsor the event.
An important note: when reaching out to volunteers or sponsors, try to work with people who have supported similar fundraisers in the past. You can also recruit new sponsors and volunteers most likely to be interested in the cause you are promoting.
If you’re shopping for venues, catering, entertainment or more, our team at Captain Anderson’s Event Center in Panama City Beach, Florida is prepared to help you! We have many local recommendations to make your event a success. To tour our event spaces, or for general inquiries, please call us at (850) 691-5653. We can’t wait to help you plan your fundraiser or special event!