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Planning a Fundraising Gala? 8 Event Planning Steps to Take First

Whether you work for a nonprofit and are entertaining the idea of hosting a fundraiser or you’re a seasoned pro at raising funds for a good cause with events, you’ll want to keep reading. As the premier go-to event planning partner for countless brands and organizations in New York City, we at EMRG Media are sharing the insights you need to curate incredible fundraising events and charity galas. Today, we’re diving into the first phase of event planning and sharing the first steps to take when you’re considering a NYC fundraising event.

1. Decide on a Fundraising Event Goal

As fun as it sounds, don’t pay to have a big soiree and party just for the sake of a good time. You’ll want to establish some goals for your NYC fundraiser. Sit down with your team and define what a “win” would look like with this event. Include goals for:

  • Number of attendees
  • Funds raised
  • Sponsorships and donations

2. Collect and Review All the Feedback

Get ideas and feedback from others before moving forward with any event plans. Talk to existing supporters of your nonprofit about your initial thoughts on hosting a fundraising event and see what they say. Get insights and assemble valuable suggestions that will only help your event planning efforts. 

3. Determine Fundraising Event Budgets

Hosting a big, fancy, red-carpet fundraising gala is going to cost some. So, you’ll need to realistically plan a budget for your charity event. Carve out all the costs associated with pulling off a brilliant event. From there, you can explore ways to get financial support, like donations, sponsorships, and trade services. Consider event elements with price tags, including:

  • Venue reservation 
  • Hotel accommodation
  • Catering services
  • Event entertainment
  • Photography 
  • Guest speakers or celebrity appearances

4. Identify Your Target Audience and Ideal Event Attendee

Your next order of business when planning your NYC charity event involves identifying your target audience. Who’s the ideal event attendee, and why? Know who you’re catering your event to so you can customize event aesthetics, decor, marketing, and more. Don’t forget to include businesses and community organizations in your target audience discussions.

5. Narrow Down a Few NYC Venue Options

With some ballpark guest number estimates in mind, along with your tentative fundraising event date, start looking at suitable New York event venues. You’ll want to narrow your search to the top few choices. And be sure to visit each layout to visualize your event taking place there. Don’t book a venue until all your questions have been answered, including these:

  • What is your availability and capacity?
  • What are the reservation costs, and when are the final payments due?
  • Do you have in-house audiovisual equipment?
  • Do you have/require the use of your in-house catering?
  • Can you describe your parking and/or hospitality arrangements?
  • What timeline are we allowed to have for setup and tear-down?
  • Have you hosted fundraising galas here before?

6. Create a Timeline and Estimated Itinerary

With the basics in mind, you can carve out an event timeline. Create a schedule of tasks to accomplish, marketing to launch, and event day to-dos in the weeks leading up to your charity event. You can also tentatively schedule an event day itinerary, outlining timeframes for guest arrivals, meal service, entertainment, and more.

7. Develop a Fundraising Gala Marketing Strategy

With your date, venue, event theme, and core details laid out, you can begin developing a marketing strategy to attract guests, sponsors, and supporters to your event. Follow your schedule so that you give yourself enough time to reach your target audience before the event. Consider creating a dedicated fundraising gala website and leverage all the best promotional tools to spread the word, including:

  • Social media
  • Press releases
  • Email marketing
  • Direct advertising
  • Newsletter announcements

8. Just Let EMRG Media Do All the Fundraising Gala Planning for You

When you’re charged with putting together your organization’s fundraising gala or charity event, start with this series of first steps. Laying the groundwork with these considerations will allow you to finish out the event planning process with ease. But if it’s still a bit overwhelming, you don’t have to plan your event alone. In fact, you can trust EMRG Media to take the reins and make your fundraising gala a brilliant success! We have decades of experience planning big-name charity events and private fundraising initiatives alike. And we know all the right elements to include and steps to take to make it a memorable and successful experience. Contact us today!