How to Host the Perfect Gala or Fundraiser

Barrington's White HousePrivate Events

As we head into the giving season, you may be planning a special party. Here at Barrington’s White House we love to host galas and fundraisers, and we thought we’d share a few tips on creating an amazing event.

1. Select a Unique Venue

A big part of the draw of a gala or fundraiser is a unique venue that has interest all its own. People want a new and different experience. Maybe that’s a museum, a garden or a stately mansion. By selecting a venue that has interesting structural features, artwork or outdoor spaces, you also limit the amount of decorations you’ll need to supplement the décor.

2. Pick the Perfect Theme

Choose a fun theme that you carry out in your invites, posters, publicity and decorations. If using a movie theme, have guests dress as their favorite star and decorate with movie posters. Use décor that fits into your organization’s mission, such as crayons and paper for a children’s charity. Center a theme around your venue. For example, if hosting your event at Barrington’s White House, a grand theme works perfectly with the mansion’s stately porch, flowing staircase and handcrafted oak detailing. Or if your venue is a beautiful library, try stacking books under your centerpieces to give them a little lift and add to the effect.

3. Enjoy Festive Food

Food is a great way to entice guests to get involved. Selecting fun appetizer stations encourages mingling and provides guests with an experience. Tie the food into your theme, such as French food for a Paris theme or a BBQ for a Cowboy theme. Try unique extras like a trendy signature cocktail or a gourmet coffee station to make the event even more memorable.

4. Add Star Power

Invite a celebrity guest who can offer signatures in return for donations. Find a dynamic speaker to present a timely topic of interest to your guests. Or, have a live artist paint the evening as it’s happening, then auction off the painting to raise funds. Adding the “celebrity” factor will generate lots of excitement.

5. Go Digital

Marketing efforts aren’t the only way your fundraiser can benefit from the digital age. Use your venue’s A/V system to set up live social media feeds, allowing guests to see their posts from Facebook, Instagram and Twitter on the screen throughout the night. Additionally, a TV showing the amount of money raised during the evening can show guests the impact of their donations. And using Facebook Live to show the world what they missed at your event is a guaranteed way to get more guests next year. With a little bit of technology, you can provide entertainment and show guests how much their contributions mean to your cause.

Galas and fundraisers are always a wonderful evening, but with a little bit of strategy, you can elevate your event to new heights. To learn more about hosting a gala or fundraiser at Barrington’s White House, visit our Private Events page


Written by Kelsey O’Shaughnessy Podgorski



A Toast to Hope

Jill Funt of Kaleidoscope


Barrington’s White House is a unique wedding venue and event venue located in the heart of downtown Barrington at 145 West Main Street. This meticulously restored 1898 mansion hosts cultural and community events, and is also available for rental for weddings, corporate meetings, non-profit fundraisers and family celebrations. Visit