No one plans a fundraising gala with the purpose of walking away empty handed. Without the right mixture of entertainment, asking and entertaining, even the most well-intentioned affair can fall short of fundraising goals. As a business or non-profit hosting a fundraiser, expect your fundraising gala to be an investment—an investment that raises funds for your cause if you follow these fundraising tips:
- Don’t be shy. Your guests are attending a fundraiser. They expect to be asked, and you won’t raise funds unless you do. But you can’t push too hard for donations either. It’s your job to find the right combination of asking and entertaining that make the gala successful.
- Coordinate a silent auction. Leverage your professional and personal connections, and the connections of board members and volunteers, to solicit items and gift certificates for silent auction packages for your guests. Make sure your packages are appealing visually even if you don’t have all the items to display, and that the silent auction tables are in a prominent location for the guests to find. Have your emcee or entertainers make announcements about the silent auction.
- Tie your gala entertainment into your fundraiser. Use your emcee or entertainer to make announcements about your auction or other fundraisers. If you have a unique fundraiser that will take place on the stage, have your emcee or entertainer officiate the fundraiser.
- Show your guests the impact they can have. Use displays, slideshows and videos to show what their dollars support. You can also have a beneficiary of your services describe their experience on stage, or tape and edit their testimonial into a video.
Guests who are enjoying themselves tend to give more. Choose a theme appropriate for the evening, and get plenty of entertainers to make the night entertaining and memorable. Don’t feel confined to booking one entertainer or that you have to locate the talent yourself. Contact a talent agent for entertainment recommendations and booking. They have a diverse group of entertainers to choose from, years of experience to draw on and the expertise to make your fundraiser a success.