01. FIND A PURPOSE BY PICKING A CAUSE
Before diving right into planning the biggest charity gala of the year, it’s important to define a purpose. Are you supporting a certain cause? A nonprofit? Knowing the reasoning behind the event will allow you to cater your plans and establish those details. You want your promotional strategy to be the most effective in order to ensure your event will be successful and ultimately, profitable.
02. SET A BUDGET + DEFINE A GOAL
Though your event or gala’s true purpose is to fundraise for a cause, expenses still come into play, especially depending on the scale and scope of the event. Setting a budget at the forefront of your planning process will take away the stress of not knowing when the party budget is running low. This will also help determine details of the run-of-show; will it be a seated dinner, or a beverage-only social function? Defining a fundraising goal is a helpful way to engage your crowd and encourage people to donate.
03. TARGET AUDIENCE
Who will attend your event? There may be a certain demographic that is your intended audience. With this information, you can then take promotional measures that will be most effective depending on the crowd. Formal events may need to have a minimum age defined (for example, 18+) or may be family friendly. These details will hone in on exactly who is going to be on your guest list.
04. FIND A VENUE + VENDORS
Now that you’ve defined some of the major concepts behind the event, it’s time to find a place to host it. You must keep in mind that the venue will be one of the biggest costs in the event planning process. With a charity gala/fundraising event, it’s possible to get many elements sponsored or donated. It is always best to be transparent with your vendor outreach and keep an open mind when asking for sponsorships. Some vendors might be interested in partial sponsorships as well, so be flexible when searching for others to support your cause. JULEP’s founders from Snake Oil Cocktail Company have many years of experience participating and supporting major charity galas, including causes like Voices for Children and Rady Children’s Hospital.
05. MARKETING, MARKETING, MARKETING!
The details are decided. The plans have been made. The next step: spreading the word! Utilize channels that make sense for your target audience. For example, put a bigger emphasis on Facebook advertising over Instagram advertising if your crowd is more active there. Social media, email marketing, physical flyers, and paid advertising (if budget allows) are a few of the many promotional methods to help market your fundraising event.