Fundraising Gala Event Ideas and Themes
Bring the Fun and Raise More with a Charity Gala
We Have the Best Gala Event Ideas for Nonprofits
If your organization is planning to host a charity gala, you may be looking for creative fundraising gala event ideas. A gala fundraiser can be an excellent way for your group to raise money while bringing community members together for an evening of fun. But does a charity gala sound boring and stuffy? A nonprofit or fundraising gala event can be whatever you want it to be. Add a twist to your fundraising gala event and invite guests to come in costume. 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. 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. Don’t forget to keep your mission in mind, as mission driven fundraising efforts are important to the credibility of your organization.
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.
Create the Ambiance
Find a costume theme that will resonate with your supporters – 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 member. Next, include entertainment to support your theme – showcase old movie clips or invite local bands or dancers to perform. Tie in decorations and food and beverage offerings to support your theme as well. 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.
Fundraising Galas Through the Years
So what are the best charity gala themes? Ask supporters to pull out the vintage wardrobe, and your guests will instantly be in the mood to celebrate. Some fun charity gala themes based on the decades include:
- 1920s Great Gatsby Themed Ball
- 60s Hippie Gala
- 70s Disco Ball
- 80s Big Hair Ball
- A Medieval Gala
Travel Gala Themes
Everyone loves to get dressed and feel like they are traveling somewhere exotic, even if they don’t leave their own neighborhood! One popular idea for fundraising galas is to create a theme based on a city or location. Here are some examples that your supporters will love:
- Vegas Night with charity poker and gambling tables
- The City of Light, Paris, is always a popular themed gala and boasts the best food and wines
- Paris can also lead to a Moulin Rouge gala where dancers are a staple of the experience
- New York City-themed galas that feature the Big Apple’s architecture are another popular city theme
- Hawaiian luaus are fun, more casual events that feature great seafood and tropical drinks
Gala Reality-Show Themes
Take a look at what TV Reality shows are popular with your target audience and plan a themed gala event based on a reality show. For example, a school may consider hosting a fundraising gala event modeled after 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 fundraiser.
More Fun Gala Theme Ideas
- Masquerade Balls and Black & White Galas are classic themes that always work well
- Boots and Bandanas themes – who says galas have to be stuffy? These outdoor galas can be a great success with less hassle
- Christmas or holiday galas make great holiday fundraisers
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.
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.
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 planning committee 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. 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 promotion
- online donations and product sales
- detailed financial reporting
- and day-of-event check-in.
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 and on social media. Send press releases, create event flyers, and start an online conversation throughout your social networking channels. Creating a buzz for the upcoming event is easy with the right gala theme. We hope you can use these fun gala ideas to make your fundraising gala the best ever!