Getting the Most out of your Gala
Whether you are a startup or a national non-profit, galas are a great way to raise funds and awareness about what you do. Galas allow for you to showcase your services and thank the many faces who have helped to make it possible.
Our team at Catering by Seasons loves working with you to support these efforts, making the most out of your gala.
Here are just a few tips for planning a gala event from our event managers:
1. Decide your budget and stick to it!
Are you looking for the “wow factor” with stunning design, elegant food and first-class entertainment for your guests? Or are you more interested in a DIY celebration with intimate details? Remember when planning for your gala, you should budget time and miscellaneous expenses as well. How many hours are you budgeting for DIY centerpieces? How much will the initial supplies cost? What is the estimated return? Could we sell more tickets by offering more of a “reward” for attending? Where are the hidden costs?
Meticulous records of expenses, volunteer hours, guest counts and fundraising details will help you along the way.
2. Be donor-centric
This may seem like a no-brainer, but there are so many ways to focus on your donors. It is about much more than saying, “Thank you.” What have you accomplished this year that would not have been possible without your donors? Is there any way to showcase this at the gala? What are your donor demographics? Their interests?
If your donors, for instance, are environmentalists committed to your earth-friendly cause, then a glamorous gala or prestigious golf tournament may not be the right way to go. Show them something they haven’t seen before, perhaps with a farm-to-table menu at an outdoor venue or an invasive species dinner at a memorable location.
Always try to entertain your guests in a way that is new and exciting.
3. Where are you going from here?
You may have tons of great news for your donors and supporters, but don’t forget to share your dreams of the future. What do you want to accomplish in the next year? The next 5 years? What do you need in order to do so?
You want to get your guests motivated and excited about your ambitions. Show them that the journey isn’t over.
4. Leave with a positive note
Favors, leave-behinds and even hand-written notes are an important and appreciated gesture for your guests. Share your thanks for their attendance and for their continued support of your organization.
Favors can be a great way to stay fresh in their minds. Thoughtfully crafted gifts that they can keep are a great option.
If you are planning a gala for your organization, contact us on our website or at 301.477.3515 to speak to an Event Manager. Our team will lead you through many of these questions, helping you to find the resources to pull off a show-stopping gala celebration.
I can’t say enough great things about our entire experience planning our daughter's Bat Mitzvah with Glynis Keith, Catering Manager, with Catering by Seasons.
Stefanie was such a huge help! Everything was smooth, she helped us find ways to cut costs and advocated for us with our venue.
Alberto is the best catering manager ever!! Everything about working with Catering by Season, from the planning, communication, to the execution was phenomenal!