First things first, to ensure that nothing goes undone when planning a gala, you’ll need to create a schedule that delegates all of the necessary fundraising tasks by committee, subcommittee, and individuals. You will need everyone’s support to be successful!
ITEMS TO INCORPORATE INTO YOUR EVENT PLANNING TIMELINE FOR BEST FUNDRAISING RESULTS
8 to 12 months out
__Establish event goals. Your event goals and objectives pave the way for most of your decision-making. It takes time to properly articulate goals that are both achievable and agreed upon by the whole team.
__Determine your fundraising goals: Your fundraising goal will be the amount of money you want to raise for your organization. You may have an overall goal for your organization as well as individual goals for individual fundraisers.
- Assess your ability: As an organization that is just starting larger fundraising events, it is important to review past events and campaigns but also the annual donations and major gift trends.
- Calculate a challenging yet reasonable amount: Based on the current database, aim for $100,000 as a gala fundraising goal and $50,000 for a reception-style event.
- Determine your stewardship goals: In addition to raising funds, events are great for prospecting NEW donors. Each new event should result in a minimum of 10 prospect meetings for future gifts.
__Determine the event budget. Creating a reasonable budget for your event can ensure that you plan accordingly, cut unnecessary expenses, and further your cause.
__Launch your committee and establish fundraising goals.
6 to 8 months out
__ Begin communications. Send an electronic save the date to your community and begin gala announcements on a regular basis.
__ Send solicitation letters. Actively solicit your donors and potential sponsors for the event. The goal is to be at 65% of your sponsorship goal before the invitations are sent.
__ Solicit silent auction item. Begin procuring silent auction items with a silent auction committee. Track your progress on a monthly basis and report progress to the committee.
3 to 5 months out
__ Send invitations. Whether it’s via snail mail or digital messaging, sending invitations at least 12 weeks before the event gives attendees plenty of time to confirm their participation.
1 to 3 months out
__ Launch an online auction. 2-3 weeks prior to your event day, launch the online auction and announce on all communication channels.
__ Thank your supporters! Be sure to share exciting elements of the event, thank supporters, and celebrate the event with your community.
__ Follow Up on Night of Fundraising Activity. Email live auction winners with details, invoice supporters who have not yet paid, and deliver silent auction items in a timely manner.
__ Review your ROI. Your fundraising ROI is a measure of how much money you raise for each dollar you spend on fundraising. This includes the cost of staff time.
As always, we want our amazing non-profits out there to be successful. We believe in you! You can do it! And if you need help, Toast of the Town is here to support you in that success!