Planning a formal fundraising gala

As nonprofits face the task of planning a formal fundraising gala, they need to think strategically about how they are going to make this event a success for their organization. There are a lot of different ways planners can prepare for the event, but making sure the foundation is laid correctly for a great night is important. Here are a few basic tips for a successful fundraising gala:

1. Remember the mission
A big, formal gala can be a fun and exciting event and planners can often get lost in the preparation process without keeping the event mission focused. The mission and cause are the main purpose of the nonprofit and need to be a central part of the gala as well, says the Nonprofit Fundraising Journal. Regular meetings with planners and volunteers will help keep the event on track and representative of the real reason behind the night.

2. Plan decorations ahead of time
Try to plan out the decor of the venue and leave only a few details to take care of that night. The more details that need to be added at the last minute, the more the budget is going to be blown out of proportion, and people will be more stressed leading up to the second guests arrive. Good party planning requires preparedness and organization.

3. Personal calls go a long way
Fancy and tasteful event invitations are always important. But follow-up phone calls to donors can also give it a personal touch and let them know that they are truly valued, according to AZCentral, an online nonprofit source. Giving donors the extra effort can pay off in terms of event attendees, but also donations down the line.

4. Reserve early
Most venues, especially in urban settings, are notorious for booking events months in advance. Make sure to secure a location for a big gala with plenty of time. Trying to find a place that will hold a good number of people at the last minute is never fun and won't be easy to do. Planning ahead will be key with these important details.

5. Show appreciation for attendees
Always say thank you afterwards both at the event and also with a personal letter in the days following. Stewardship and acknowledgement letters are very important parts of the process and make it worth the while for attendees. Don't skip out on this one - make the time for valued supporters of the organization.

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