Hosting a gala event is a big job. There are so many small details you and your committee need to keep track of, it might be worthwhile to hire an event planner. Of course, you can only do so if your budget allows. If you're able to hire an event planner, it will give your committee more time to focus on the fundraising aspects like selling tickets and sponsorships or the silent auction.
Of course, marketing your event throughout the community is just as important as anything else. Reach out to the local newspaper, TV stations and radio stations for pre-coverage, and don't be shy about asking for favors.
And when it comes to favors, ideally, you'll get every piece of your silent auction donated, so 100 percent of the profits will go to your cause. However, if you're having trouble finding people or businesses to donate their goods and services, offer them a compromise. If the vendor can provide you a significant discount, you might be able to purchase some items for the auction, knowing you'll make your cost back. There's always a win-win in there somewhere.
Finally, don't forget to take care of your volunteers. Whether they're helping wrap silent auction baskets, setting up for the event or working the event night, make sure they feel valued. Sandwiches and cookies donated from a local shop can go a long way. A follow-up e-mail detailing the successes of the event and how they contributed will go even further to ensure they sign up to volunteer again next year.
- Byran, Sharnell. "Tips for Creating a Fund-Raising Gala for the First Time." Philanthropy. com. Feb. 9, 2005. (Feb. 3, 2012) http://philanthropy.com/article/Tips-for-Creating-a/52535/
- Kennedy, Alanna. "How to Plan a Fundraising Event." American Association for Cancer Research. Oct. 18, 2007. (Feb. 3, 2012) http://www.aacr.org/home/survivors--advocates/information-about-support-groups,-clinical-trials,-financial-help-and-fundraising/how-to-plan-a-fundraising-event.aspx
- Lewis, Ed. "The Cornerstones of Successful Fundraising: Marketing & Communications." Center for Nonprofit Management. (Feb. 3, 2012) http://www.cnmsocal.org/resources/fundraising-and-marketing/the-cornerstones-of-successful-fundraising.html
- "Putting on the Ritz at a Fundraising Dinner." Fundraising Insight. (Feb. 3, 2012) http://www.fundraiserinsight.org/articles/fundraising-dinner.html