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  • Writer's pictureJohn Wendelken

Planning and Support for Fundraisers/Galas

Updated: Apr 7, 2020

When planning your Fundraiser/Gala you need to think about several options from the charity you choose to the date you select. Everything needs to tie together in harmony so that your fundraiser is as successful as it possibly can be. Below is a walk-through step by step planning process which will help you understand from beginning to end the vital parts to planning a fundraiser that will exceed our goals!

1. Form A Committee

To ensure that your fundraising event runs smoothly, you’ll need to divide your tasks between committees. Each committee will hold a major role in the planning of your event, and they should work together to coordinate plans. Your committee will hold the following roles:

The committee will be in charge of the behind-the-scenes planning before the event. Major tasks will include taking care of event logistics, such as venue and catering, and preparing the planning calendar.

The committee will manage fundraising for your event. From recruiting donors to purchasing crowdfunding software, the host committee should help your organization fulfill your fundraising goals.

The committee will be in charge of executing the event, ensuring that all staff and volunteers are accounted for and in their proper place.

Determine your subcommittees ( if needed). Once you have your main committee in place, you’ll need to determine which subcommittees you’ll need to pull off specific aspects of your event. You’ll need to form:

Theme and decorations.


Advertising and marketing.

Social media management.


2. Determine Your Goals

Before you can rush into planning your fundraising event, you need to know what you’re aiming for and which tools and resources can help you get there. To do so, you need to determine your goals. Your goals will direct the course of your event.

Begin Asking Questions. Asking questions will help your organization assess your needs and create reasonable goals:

What is the purpose of hosting this event?

What do we hope this event will improve in our organization?

Determine your fundraising goals. Your fundraising goal will be the amount of money you want to raise for your organization. To determine how much you should ask for:

Assess your need. How much does your organization need to accomplish a specific task (Ex: we need $10,000 to give to a family to cover medical expenses)

Assess your ability. Though you can and should aim higher, you want your goal to be realistic based upon your donor base. Think of this realistically and make sure you are not overthinking and trying to reach a goal that you can never attain.

3. Choose your Venue and Your Date:

Determine your date and venue six months ahead of time. That will give your donor audience enough time to plan to be in attendance.

4. Create a Schedule: To ensure that everything gets done in a timely manner and nothing goes “undone” you’ll want to create a schedule that delegates all the tasks to your committee

List your tasks. Write out all the tasks that you’ll need to complete for your event to succeed.

Create a detailed, accessible timeline. Now that you know what you need to accomplish, schedule each task to a timeline on your calendar. Ensure that everyone can access your timeline so that your entire team is on the same page.

5. Arrange for a Live Auctioneer, Guest Speaker and/or Entertainment

Determine your Live Auctioneer, guest speakers and entertainment well in advance (at least several months) so that you can highlight them in your advertisements.

Hire a Live Auctioneer. Choose someone who is energetic, enthusiastic and accessible to work with even during the planning period. You’ll want someone who can go on this journey with you to understand your goals, the items that will be listed for auction and how to tap into the pulse of your donor audience to raise as much money as possible.

Book entertainment. Depending on the type of event you’re hosting, you’ll need entertainment, such as DJ.

6. Delegate your Volunteers/Committee

As you near the date of your event, ensure that a schedule is in place to take care of the event logistics. Recruit enough volunteers to manage all aspects of your event, including:

Set-up. Volunteers will help set up the event before it occurs. Volunteers should begin work at least two hours in advance of the start time.

During the event. If you’ve purchased event software, you may have trained staff on hand to manage the technical aspects of your event. Volunteers should be trained to answer questions, direct attendees, and support your event efforts. Provide them with uniforms or t-shirts so that they stand out from the crowd.

Clean-up. Once the event is over, you’ll need volunteers to help deconstruct the event space and clean up. Make sure that you have enough volunteers to cover this shift; you don’t want to be moving tables and equipment while understaffed.

7. Meet and Set up several calls with your Live Auctioneer

It is vital that upon hiring a Live Auctioneer that he/she stay engaged in the planning process from beginning to end Schedule to meet with your Live Auctioneer in person and don’t be afraid to ask for more than one in person meeting Calls with your Live Auctioneer should happen weekly leading up to your event Keep our Live Auctioneer informed of all silent/live auction items that you are accumulating so they can understand each item and develop a script on how they are going to sell the item(s) to your donor audience

8. Create a Follow Up Plan

Process payments quickly to all donors so that they receive their won items in a timely manner

Evaluate your budget and make sure your expenses are paid

Within 24 hours after the event, post an update to social media that shows how much your donors raised for your cause. Include a photo from the event itself. You can continue to update social media with photo galleries, so that supporters can tag themselves and their friends.

Send Thank you Notes to all of your supporters and donors


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