Fundraising Gala Event Ideas for Nonprofits

Fundraising Gala Event IdeasIf your organization is planning to host a charity gala, you may be looking for creative fundraising gala event ideas. A gala fundraising event can be an excellent way for your group to raise money while bringing community members together for a worthy cause. But does a charity gala sound boring and stuffy? A nonprofit or fundraising gala event can be whatever you want it to be. Think of a creative theme, and plan an event that will create a fun and exciting environment for your guests in addition to accomplishing your financial goals. Don’t forget to keep your mission in mind, as mission driven fundraising efforts are important to the credibility of your organization.

The following fundraising gala event ideas were created to help nonprofits, schools, and community organizations brainstorm the best way to raise funds for your cause through hosting a fundraising gala event.

Fundraising Gala Ideas and Themes for Nonprofits

There are many different opportunities for creating unique gala fundraising events. Think about who your audience is, and what would be appealing to them. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when determining your event theme. The more creative you are in your planning efforts, the more appealing your event becomes. We’ve listed a few gala ideas for nonprofits below, but have plenty of additional fundraising event ideas for you to read about.

COVID UPDATE: Even if your organization is hosting a virtual gala during COVID, adding a fundraising theme can add to the fun. Ask supporters to dress up at home and send them a party box with wigs, costume jewelry, masks, and more to make it easy. This will make them feel more connected to your cause and that they are participating in the event, rather than just watching a presentation.

Fundraising Gala Event Ideas

Fundraising Gala Costume Balls

Add a twist to your fundraising gala event and invite guests to come in costume. Whether the costume has a theme, such as Hollywood Stars where guests come as their favorite classic actor, or a Rock Star Ball where people dress as their favorite singer or band. Include entertainment to support your theme – showcase old movie clips or invite local bands to perform. Tie in decorations and food and beverage offerings to support your theme. Perhaps this event calls for a five-course fine dining experience presented by a reputable chef and paired with fine wines. (After all, you are catering to stars.) Create fun activities that make people feel famous such as a red carpet upon arrival, hired impersonators, and photographers acting like paparazzi mingling throughout the event snapping photos of guests. Some fun charity gala themes to consider include:

  • Dance with the Hollywood Stars
  • 60s Hippie Gala
  • 70s Disco Ball
  • 80s Big Hair Ball
  • Vegas Night with Charity Poker and games
  • Black & White Gala
  • 1920s Themed Ball
  • A Medieval Gala
  • Masquerade Balls

Fundraising Gala Event IdeasFundraising Gala Reality-Show Themes

Take a look at what is currently popular with your target audience and plan a themed gala event based on a TV Reality show. For example, a school may consider hosting a fundraising gala event modeled after one of the more popular reality shows today. Perhaps an “American Idol” or “Dancing with the Stars” themed event? Change the title of your event to reflect your mission. If your organization is raising money for wildlife conservation, perhaps you want to title your event “Dancing with the Tigers”? Structure your event similar to the show where you pair influential community members (i.e. the Mayor) or local celebrities (i.e. a pro-football team hero) with professional dance instructors. Serve dinner and drinks while dancers perform. If it’s a school event, perhaps a local pizza parlor would be willing to donate pizzas for the event. 

Add Additional Revenue Boosters to the Charity Gala

You’ve already sold the tickets, but what are some ways to boost your revenue at the event? Guests will enjoy engaging in contests and indulging in food and drinks, while mingling with others. This is an important part of making the fundraising gala fun for attendees and can be a significant source of additional funds. Auctions, raffles, and contests are the way to go here.unique fundraising ideas for galas

Include a charity auction where guests can bid on art, vacation packages, gift certificates and baskets, autographed items celebrities, and more. Check out our one of a kind vacation packages for a big-ticket item. Taking your auction online and allowing mobile bidding and Text to Bid will make it easier and more productive.

Start an Online Fundraising Auction

Similarly, volunteers can reach out to local businesses to donate prizes for a fundraising raffle. Sell tickets online and at the door and announce winners between each set of performers to keep attendees engaged throughout the duration of the event. 

Now for the contests! Make sure to advertise contest prizes in your invitations and on your fundraising website to motivate people to participate. Ask businesses to donate prizes and host a contest to award prizes to attendees with the best costumes or best dancing moves. 

Manage Your Fundraising Gala Online

Be sure to get a strong team in place and allow plenty of time for planning the gala. One of the most important considerations when planning a fundraising gala event is how to successfully manage and track the money raised for your cause. DoJiggy has a powerful event management software system for nonprofit fundraising events, such as fundraising galas. With DoJiggy Events, you can easily manage the entire life cycle of your charity gala including:

  • online event registration
  • event promotion and marketing
  • sponsor registration and sponsorship management
  • online donations and product sales
  • detailed financial reporting
  • and day-of-event operations, such as registration.

Create a fundraising event website where you can share information about your organization’s mission and all the details of the gala event including event theme, date, location, directions, entertainment, prizes, and more. Allow people to register online or make online donations directly if they are unable to attend the event. Promote your event throughout the community. Send press releases, create event flyers, and start an online conversation throughout your social networking channels. Start to create a buzz for the upcoming event. We hope you can use these fun gala ideas for nonprofits to make your fundraising gala the best ever!