Putting on a gala dinner is often a proven fundraising strategy, provided you get the details right and know how to entertain your guests as well as raise some money for a good cause.
If you have never organized a gala dinner before or have limited experience, it can be a daunting prospect. There are numerous details to consider from getting the theme of the event right to sourcing the catering equipment and supplies you need from someone like Tiger Chef.
In line with your mission
You will normally want to create an event that is appropriate and aligns with your mission, which means that you have to select the theme and invite guests appropriate to your cause.
If you are raising money for military veterans for example, anyone attending that event would expect to be rubbing shoulders with people who have dedicated their lives to serving their country and they would expect a theme for that event that reflected that deep connection.
It is always vital to recognize any local community ties that you may have if you are creating an event that has a focus on their needs and support, or even if it is a wider cause, local support and involvement is often the key to a successful charity event.
Budget is so important
It goes without saying that there is a great need to budget very carefully when you are planning a charity gala dinner.
Many industry professionals tend to suggest that your number one priority should always be to start off your plans by establishing a firm budget for the event, then work everything else around that figure.
It can be almost overwhelming when trying to create a budget on a larger scale than you may be used to, with so many considerations to account for, such as food and beverages, and all of the attached costs which includes paying for catering staff, bartenders, waiters etc.
Catering is probably one of the biggest expenses and alongside this, there is the cost of the hire of the venue and any entertainment that you want to line up for the night.
Do check with the event that you are considering about their costs and also their rules, as you might find that some venues insist on you using their recommended caterers, which will obviously limit your budget options to a certain extent.
Get the invitations right
If you want to be successful in getting the right level of financial support and some strong attendance figures for your event, you need to get the invitations right.
There are a number of key elements that need to be included in your invitation. These include clearly outline the purpose of the event itself, and what level of formality they can expect, as people need to know if it is a black tie or not.
Be sure to give specific details about the events lined up and what time dinner is being served, together with information on any entertainment or special events that you have lined up for the evening.
Get all of these components to align and you should be on your way to creating a successful event.
Ellie Woods started who own catering business several years ago. She likes to “pay it back” to her local community and does a lot of the catering for charity functions in her area.