For charities hosting an elegant gala is a great way to connect with larger donors and make them feel engaged with your cause. To ensure a non-profit event maximizes its fundraising potential, consider these four fundraising ideas.
1. Provide a pre-event networking session to recruit a broad and committed audience.
Providing an opportunity for your supporters to meet each other and make meaningful connections will make them feel more connected to your organization and more likely to recruit others to your cause. Set up your networking event two to three months before your gala. Your networking event will create anticipation for the main attraction, as well as providing you an opportunity to enhance your attendees knowledge on your charity. You can make the event even more valuable by inviting a notable guest speaker. Send out formal invitations to your entire network, and post the event across all social media platforms to maximize exposure. This pre-event encourages individuals to go out and fundraise on behalf of your organization in the days and months leading up to your event.
2. Sell tables to encourage increased attendance.
Selling tables is an obvious and traditional method, but still a significant part of fundraising for a charity gala. Selling full tables encourages major donors to invite their peers to attend as their guests. This increases your organization's reach and boosts other fundraising opportunities like the an auction or raffle. Holding your event at a top New York venue like Guastavino's makes it easier to encourage individuals to purchase full tables and ensures your guests will have an amazing experience on event night.
3. Recruit corporate donations to increase total dollars raised.
Securing corporate donations is an important part of fundraising for your charity gala. It is a win-win for both your organization and the corporate donor who can align with your mission to improve their community reputation. Corporate donations can extend beyond a monetary contribution. You can reach out to companies and ask them to contribute to your auction or supply their products as door prizes. Developing a long-lasting relationship between a corporate donor and your organization is vital. You can turn their one-time contribution into a recurring donation year after year with strategic partnerships.
It is essential to establish sponsorship levels when seeking corporate donors. The following is an example from a non-profit gala (a casino night) held previously at Guastavino's.
Ace: $100,000- Includes company logo on premier (Craps) gaming table, name associated with event in press and website; 20 guest tickets and $1,500 casino money; full-page, color, prime placement ad in event program journal.
King: $75,000- Includes company logo on top tier gaming table; 15 guest tickets and $1,000 casino money; full-page, color, prime placement ad in event program journal.
Queen: $50,000- Includes company logo on top tier gaming table; 10 guest tickets and $500 casino money; color, prime placement ad in event program journal.
Jack: $25,000- Includes company logo on gaming table; five guest tickets and $500 casino money; color ad in event program journal.
Spade: $15,000- Includes company logo and name at check in; four guest tickets; black and white ad in event program journal
Heart: $10,000- Includes company logo and name at check in; three guest tickets; balck and white ad in event program journal.
Diamond: $5,000- Includes company logo and name at check in; two guest tickets; balck and white ad in event program journal.
Clover: $2,500- Includes company logo and name at check in; one guest ticket; black and white ad in event program journal.
In the example above, the non-profit hosted a casino night to engage their supporters. Below are event highlights of a similar night, CareOne's Queen of Hearts Ball and Casino Night. (Images courtesy of Radar Online.)
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4. Host an auction to engage attendees.
Auctions are events within events, and they pair well with many charity galas. The first decision that you will have to make when it comes to your auction will be to determine what type of auction you are going to have. Silent? Live? A combination? To collect items for bidding, gather a team of volunteers, staff and board members to reach out to their network of contacts. Experiences and one-of-a-kind items go over best. Think trips to exotic destinations, a golf outing with a professional athlete, or a dinner for two made by a celebrity chef. Items like these perform well during big live auctions at formal events. Once you have a list of your auction items, promote some in advance as a teaser. Anticipation is an auction’s best friend.
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