Jill Funk

How to Host the Perfect Gala or Fundraiser

Barrington's White HouseCommunity Events, Fundraising, Private Events

Make your non-profit gala or fundraiser a night to remember! Here are 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 it’s 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 vintage 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.

Horses on Main Event

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.

wedding and reception venue at Barrington's White House

Wild Asparagus Catering

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 Social!

Use social media before, during and after the event! Generate excitement leading up to your event with Instagram and Twitter with some clever, intriguing posts so people won’t want to miss it. Publicize as an event on Facebook and consider sponsoring your ad to extend your reach. Share a few set-up shots the day of. And at the event itself, harness your social tools, like Facebook Live, to share all the fun! You can even track the donations as they happen. And after, remember to thank your guests and share some special photo memories. It will remind them of their wonderful night and get them thinking about next year!

A Toast to Hope Gala

Make your gala “the place to be!”  It just takes a little strategy and planning and a touch of imagination for a night they’ll be talking about long after the celebration is over.

To learn more about hosting a gala or fundraiser at Barrington’s White House, visit our Private Events page and call our Hospitality Manager, Jennifer Salvatore, at 224-512-4115