Are you planning a gala fundraiser for a charity or nonprofit organization? Whether it’s your first time planning this type of event or you’re an experienced pro who’s looking for some fresh tips, read our article below for some great gala fundraiser ideas to help your event be successful.
If your event is for a charity or worthy cause, don’t be shy about the seriousness of the need for help. When inviting your established donors and other guests, include links or a video to explain every detail about the cause you’re raising funds for. Don’t wait for them to attend the event—provide them with the story first.
Allow Plus Ones
It’s just a fact: people don’t like to attend events alone. Reports have shown that guests are 65% more likely to attend an event if they can bring a plus one. Although this may make you feel like you have more mouths to feed and will need more venue space, consider the fact that plus ones mean more opportunities for donations, as well as more opportunities to grow your donor support base. This is one of the most overlooked gala fundraiser ideas that helps make an event successful.
If you’ve been planning and organizing fundraising galas for a while, this tip is probably very familiar to you. However, it bears repeating since volunteers can help out immensely before, during, and after an event. If your organization doesn’t already have volunteers, or you simply need more, you can ask at churches, schools, or on websites such as VolunteerMatch.org.
Choose An Exciting Venue
When it comes to gala fundraiser ideas, this may not seem important, but it is! Have you been hosting your events in the same small, underwhelming hotel ballrooms each year? Remember: just because a venue serves food and can actually hold all your guests doesn’t mean that it’s ideal. Choose a venue that’s dazzling and exciting—one that will make your guests look forward to attending. The venue you select should make your guests feel important and appreciated, and should give your event the beautiful backdrop it deserves.
Employ Help From Relationships
When planning a fundraising event, consider all the organizations, individuals, and businesses that can help with your event. Whether you ask them to donate monetarily or with a specialized product or service they provide (such as flowers or centerpieces), make sure your “pitch” to them sounds personalized to them. Proposals should not all sound the same from business to business—otherwise people will think you’re insincere. If they agree to donate to your event (whether with money or with their product/service), be sure to include their name as a sponsor in the event programs, on your website’s event page, and anywhere else you’re displaying sponsorship.
Consider A Theme
Depending on the issue you’re raising donations for, a themed gala event may not be appropriate. However, if etiquette allows for a theme, many guests enjoy attending events that incorporate some fun! Your theme can be as classy as you like—or as whimsical. And it may also be a great opportunity to snag more donations. For example, if you’re raising funds for an organization that works to keep kids in school and you choose a Great Gatsby party theme, have some of the kids who have benefitted from the organization to perform a scene from the book as entertainment. There are lots of possibilities for fun entertainment that ties into a theme.
Be Creative With Donations
Your gala’s main point is to raise funds, and sometimes it’s good to offer something instead of just accepting donations. Silent auctions and raffles are always great ideas, as well as selling artwork by local artists.
Put Together A Video Presentation
If an image is worth a thousand words, a video is worth ten thousand. One of the best gala fundraiser ideas is to include a video. A professionally-made video to not only present the subject of your fundraiser but to also cement in the request for donations is often a great segue into the donations after the speakers have wrapped up. A good video can cost anywhere from $500-$2,000, however, some companies will donate a video for free or at a discount if you’re a nonprofit with a cause they believe in. The video should present the issue at hand, and should include testimonials from people whose lives have been changed because of the organization you’re raising money for.
Hopefully these gala fundraiser ideas will help you during your planning! If you’re also looking for an amazing event venue to host in, check out our photo gallery. As one of the best banquet halls in Los Angeles, Imperial Palace has hosted many corporate gala fundraisers that have been very successful. We know the in’s and out’s of everything to do with these types of events. To check our availability or to ask any questions you may have, simply contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!