Nonprofit organizations every year host a charity gala dinner where united people take part in meaningful conversation while having a meal. Usually, this type of event involves food, entertainment, and sometimes include raffles or auctions. It’s a night of dining, toasting, winning, and celebrating an organization and establishing lasting relationships. It may seem like a prom, but it’s the adult version of it.
Not only do galas boost your nonprofit’s reputation, but it also strengthens relationships with donors and recharge fundraising efforts for your next cause. To help you achieve that, you must use the right strategy in place in order to pull off hosting a huge event like this. So keep reading!
1. Identify the Purpose Behind the Event
Of course, when you’re doing an event, there is something you aim to achieve, right? So, outline your purpose first because this will help you and your team plan accordingly. The cost of preparing for a fundraising gala can be notably high, this is why it’s crucial that you gather support for your cause and ignite some interest within the community.
The very first step of the planning process is setting a goal for your organization, deciding who or what will benefit from the fundraiser, and figuring out what guests can expect to support with their donations and auction bids.
2. The Basics Matter
If you’re hosting the event, it’s your responsibility to make sure that supporters and donors have a wonderful time at your gala event. Your guests won’t want to experience a hassle check-in. If you want, you may ask for the professional help from an events management company. You need people who will wait for guests at the check-in and greet them, review and take tickets, provide essential information, and guide them to their table.
Why is this so important? Well, if your attendees are frustrated or confused, most likely they will not pay attention and appreciate the stories you’ve created. Get the basic rights. Ensure that everything is in their right place.
3. Don’t Make the Fundraising the Main Focus of the Event
Although the major purpose of your gala is the fundraising event, it shouldn’t be the main focus of the evening. A gala event is not only about coming and contributing to a cause. It’s about the celebration of your progress. What you can do is to present the problems you’ve worked with and how their donation has helped your organization overcome them.
The difference that your loyal donors have helped created must be shown in the event. If they see that their efforts are not wasted and their commitment is working to your cause, it will lead to more donations and they will continue to remain as your donors.
4. Pick the Right Fundraising Method for Your Gala Dinner
The most effective and common type of ask for a gala dinner is through a raffle or silent auction. You can do both actually! These are the usual fundraisers that make your guests excited and involved in the event. Here are some considerations you need to keep in mind first when deciding on a fundraiser.
Raffles. This is a simple contest in which you need to sell plenty of tickets to your supporters and a person is drawn randomly as the winner of a grand prize. Raffles are hassle-free fundraiser, and it doesn’t require too much preparation and cost. In order to succeed, you need to sell as many tickets as you can, which means you must have a lot of people to attend and participate. You must be able to persuade guests to purchase multiple tickets. You can arrange volunteers from the table to sell tickets, and boost the raffle multiple times.
Auction. If it’s a charity auction, your nonprofit raise money by getting bids for auction items and selling them to the donor who puts the highest bid. Auctions provide you with the chance to mingle with guests, allow them to socialize, and be big on the item that they like. It also attracts and generates interest in your event. Know which type of auction is ideal for the event, choose from live auctions, silent auctions, or online auctions. You can create a list of the pros and condos before you finalize which one to go for.
5. Advertise Your Gala and Auction Items
Now that you know the basics and crucial elements for hosting a successful gala auction, the next step is for you to tell your supporters about your event. Send some event invites out to all your donors and supporters. Include some personal notes to make it more real. Making it more personalized will boost attendance at your event. Schedule various text invites to your guests with the event details, schedule, where the proceeds will go, and the bidding rules.
Before the event, you can send them a quick text message that includes a link to an information page on your website. The text must get them to start placing bids before the event. And during the event, make sure that your donors are updated on the program and continually remind them to bid on items. After the event, don’t forget to send them thank-you texts when they get home or the next morning to show them your genuine appreciation.