Getaway2Goal! Maximize your on-site gala fundraising

Getaway2Give is launching a new series called Getaway2Goal! This series will feature “pointers”: curated tips and ideas from:

  • Development directors and executive directors from our charity partners
  • Philanthropy associations, resources and publications
  • Auctioneers and team members at other cause-related companies
  • Members of our G2G team who are former development directors
  • And YOU! 

You’re a week out from your gala and ticket sales are a little down. Maybe the weather prediction is lousy, maybe your hometown team made it into March madness, maybe your community causes had an “Oops” and scheduled 5 galas in one weekend. Whatever the reason, you’re worried you might not make your gala fundraising goals.

Here are some great pointers to increase your gala fundraising on site, the evening of the event.

Pointer #1: Make Gala Fundraising Galariffic

Throw in some streetmosphere or entertainment themed around your gala fundraising items. If you’re auctioning off a trip to Cuba–have a “Havana Selfie-Corner” with a few Buena Vista Social Club entertainers playing next to a classic car you borrowed from an auto club (in exchange for a few free tickets to the gala for their owner). Offering a climbing adventure? Grab some climbing gear and have two volunteers dress up as snow bunnies, have some ski hats and skis as props and create another selfie corner. Have summaries of the auction packages given out at these selfie corners so people can make plans to bid high!

Pointer #2: Ask for money

We know this may seem obvious, but we recently attended a gala where there were at least three opportunities during the program event where people were visibly moved by the stories being shared. And nobody asked for money!

As professional fundraisers, we can’t be squeamish about “not wanting to look greedy” during gala fundraising;  our missions depend on our fearlessness.

But if you’re a little hesitant to make a direct appeal, at least use moments immediately following those mission tales to remind people of the opportunities they will have to donate. A statement like: “It is so important to our mission–and to Timmy’s tale–that we meet our fundraising goals tonight. And we have dozens of ways you can do this, like through our live auction which will take place between dinner and dessert!” will help remind people to be present and ready to bid when fundraising opportunities occur.

Pointer #3: Ask EVERYONE for money

Remember, companies often use their “tables” to reward employees and customers, so many of your attendees may have paid nothing to get into your fabulous affair. However, they may not be as well-heeled as your CEOs and high-value donors. And they are likely to be younger donors.

At each event, make sure you have some opportunities for lower-ask donations in every part of your fundraising efforts. Raffles are a great way to do that. Also, as our friends at Greater Giving note, you have to reach younger donors on platforms they know and understand; make sure they have an easy digital way to contribute during the evening.

And they want to know how their dollars are going to be of use. So make an announcement that “$900 means a dose of life-saving surfactant for a baby with underdeveloped lungs, so if 45 of you give $100 right now, we can save five babies’ lives right now!” These instant mini-fundraisers can counter lagging ticket sales pretty quickly!

Pointer #4: Surprises and anticipation

There’s nothing like building up a surprise event to keep everyone excited about the evening. So you might want to seek out a super-special item to auction off, but not tell people exactly what it is. Use hints throughout the night to keep people intrigued. For example, let’s say you choose to offer a special culinary adventure to Italy like our Royal Retreat as your surprise offer. Play an Italian-themed song during dance-time for one hint. Do a special between-appetizer-and-dinner “toast” to the big surprise–a shot of icy Limoncello for everyone. At a March of Dimes gala event in Orlando, a “Stomp” style flash mob  with clanging pots, pans and “chefs” (okay, professional dancers disguised as chefs!) rallied the guests to boost excitement for a foodie-lovers’ trip. And make sure to use multiples to make the surprise an opportunity for more than one attendee. Think of how great it would be if not one, but four of your donors and their partners get to go on this Italian adventure!

Pointer #5: Add a last minute package

Getaway2Give is your go-to for on-demand auction items. We can create a suite of packages for every taste from easy-beach to bustling-city to amazing sports ventures, and incorporate them into your event in less than a day if you need to add to your fundraising options! And don’t forget, if donations are lagging, you can “sell” your Getaway2Give packages to multiple donors–why just sell one, when you can have three or four times the fun(ds)!!!!

Add trips like these to your event. Raise more $$$