Secret Ingredients of a Successful Fund Raiser – The Gala Event

Posted on Jun 27, 2013 in Fund Raising, Nonprofit

Spring is in the air and with it comes the onslaught of Gala events. I have found the following ingredients to be necessary in order to create a successful fund raising event.

  • A dedicated committee… With a dedicated and passionate group of like minded folks, the sky is the limit on how much you can raise! Without a dedicated committee, fold your tent now. You will save your organization and yourself lots of aggravation.
  • Make a budget and stick to it… but always include 10% as a contingency fee. Just like home projects, things always end up costing more than you planned!
  • Guests to invite…while this may seem fairly obvious, it isn’t if you have ever sat at a Board meeting when members did not want to send pricey invitations to their friends, relatives and coworkers!
  • Know your goal…is it “friend raiser” or “fund raiser?” While everyone who puts on an event desperately wants to cover their costs and raise money, some events have as their goal to expand organizational awareness in the community. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, that truly is a valid reason for an event!
  • When your goal is “Fund Raising,” set a financial goal based on past experience and level of commitment of Board and Staff. Having a mutually agreed upon goal is the challenge that will bring out the best in everyone and have people stretching for those last dollars!
  • Get your community involved through local corporate sponsorships and provide them recognition in your newsletter, on your website, and/or at your event. Show them that you really do understand “partnerships.” They are not ATM machines.
  • Work your network, including Board & Community, to get as much donated goods and services as possible. This will keep your costs down significantly.
  • Remember, it is not about you…it is about your donors and the work that you do on their behalf!
  • Finally, the night of your event…have fun. It is too late to stress anyway and it will all work out in the end!

Denise Sheppard is a development consultant who loves helping to raise money for worthy causes. She provides mentoring for new development staff; writes grants; and thrives on being part of a team who is organizing a fund raising event. She can be reached at denisesheppard@comcast.net or 617.755.6001