Category Archives: fundraiser gala

Tips for a Better (and More Fabulous) Fundraising Gala

red carpet entertainer with guests at masquerade themed charity galaThe recipe for a fabulous gala is different for every event. We’ve seen it, experienced it, and planned it. A successful gala has a unique atmosphere with its own feel. It’s up to you to create that atmosphere and push it over-the-top with these tips (and expert advice that can make it a reality).

Choose the right venue.

The right venue is an essential part of gala success. There are several factors in your decision, including location, adequate spaces, and event needs (other criteria for the right venue are listed here). Screen your venues carefully, and look for a venue that fits your practical and décor needs.

Create the ultimate entrance.

Showgirls, human statues, paparazzi. Atmosphere starts at the door—or should, if you use décor and entertainers to welcome your guests. Once you have a general idea of your gala theme, talk to a professional entertainment agent to decide how to incorporate the right entertainers into your event entrance.

Allow for plenty of time for socializing.

Networking is what your guests want at a gala. Give it to them (just like a customer, your guests are always right!). Include plenty of time in your event timeline for mingling, and entertain them while they socialize. Ask your entertainment agent for ideas that fit with your theme, such as celebrity impersonators, entertainers serving snacks, and main stage acts.

Use entertainers in creative ways.

Entertainers don’t always just need to entertain. Instead, hire entertainers that can fit the practical needs of your event as well. Use your entertainers to welcome your guests, serve food, and improve your guests’ experience.

Be inventive with your fundraising.

Fundraising doesn’t need to be a “one size fits all” part of your event. Use imaginative ways to fundraise, and be open to creative ways. Use technology or your main stage act to play a part of your fundraising efforts (like making them your emcee for a contest!). If you need ideas, don’t hesitate to ask your entertainment agent for unique ideas that fundraise and entertain.

Fundraising Gala Planning Checklist

mardi gras fundraising gala masksIs your non-profit considering hosting a fundraising gala? Or do you have a donor who would like to host a fundraising event for your organization? Though planning and executing a fundraising ball takes a huge amount of time and effort, a successful fundraising ball is a unique way to interact with donors and raise funds for your cause—if planned correctly, step by step, with a clear goal in mind.

Ask questions

Don’t rush out and book a venue, or set a date. You need to sit down and ask yourself valuable questions about the crowd you expect, what kind of event they would appreciate, your goals, and what you expect to gain from your event. What kind of action do you expect from your attendees at your fundraiser? Are there other ways you can leverage the event?

Another factor to consider is volunteers. If you need to keep your expenses low, determine whether you have a volunteer base that you can draw from to work at your fundraising ball. Another option is to book a hall that provides staffing, or to start recruiting early (the earlier the better).

Plan your event

Once you define your goal, it’s time to set your event details in stone:

  • Budget.
  • Date.
  • Venue.
  • Decor.
  • Food.
  • Entertainment.

Select your date and book your venue as soon as possible. Once you have these important details confirmed, contact an entertainment agent to book your entertainer. The best acts’ calendars fill up quickly, so act promptly. Hiring an entertainment agent has a few benefits, most notably that an agent can choose the right act for your expect guest demographic. The right entertainment can make or break your event, and reaching your goal.

If you are serving food at your event, determine the amount of your budget designated for appetizers or dinners. For a less expensive option, consider holding your event after dinner and serving hors d’oeuvres and after dinner drinks. If you are serving alcoholic drinks, consult your insurance representative about your event liability coverage.

Draft a promotion plan

Promote, promote, promote, but don’t feel you have to (or should) be the only party promoting your event. Leverage your network, and ask your board members to do the same. Reach out to potential supporters with an integrated multi-channel approach that fits the guests you are trying to attract.

Use social media, save the dates, email marketing, networking, and media for outreach. Ask your board members to sell a certain amount of seats or bring in a specific number of sponsorships. Most importantly, put your promotion plan on paper so your efforts are clearly written out and specific tasks can be designated.

Explore your fundraising options

Don’t be shy about fundraising at your gala. Your guests expect to be asked, and you won’t raise funds unless you do. But you can’t push too hard for donations either. Find the right combination of asking and entertaining to make your gala successful.

Ask for sponsorships and funds prior to the event. Kick start your fundraising before the event begins. Sell tables at your event, if applicable, and sponsorships to local businesses. If you have any honored guests, ask a local corporation to sponsor a table for the guest of honor.

Coordinate a silent auction. Leverage your professional and personal connections, and the connections of board members and volunteers, to solicit items and gift certificates for silent auction packages for your guests. Make sure your packages are appealing visually even if you don’t have all the items to display, and that the silent auction tables are in a prominent location for the guests to find. Have your emcee or entertainers make announcements about the silent auction.

Tie your gala entertainment into your fundraiser. Use your emcee or entertainer to make announcements about your auction or other fundraisers. If you have a unique fundraiser that will take place on the stage, have your emcee or entertainer officiate the fundraiser.

Show your guests the impact they can have. Use displays, slideshows and videos to show what their dollars support. You can also have a beneficiary of your services describe their experience on stage, or tape and edit their testimonial into a video.

Create a dynamic event atmosphere

Guests who are enjoying themselves give more. Choose a theme appropriate for the evening, and hire plenty of entertainers that make the night entertaining and memorable. Don’t feel confined to booking one entertainer or that you have to locate the talent yourself. Contact a talent agent for entertainment recommendations and booking. They have a diverse group of entertainers to choose from, years of experience to draw on and the expertise to make your fundraiser a success.

4 Entertainment Ideas for Your Next Charity Event

ice bar for charity eventsA charity event, especially a fundraiser, is all about creating the perfect atmosphere for your guests. That atmosphere can be created in every different aspect of event planning: venue, décor, food, entertainment…even with an ice bar. From the moment your guests enter through the reception doors until the end of the program, your goal as the charity event planner is to create an over-the-top, enjoyable and entertaining evening that compels your guests to contribute to your worthy cause. You can enhance that experience with entertainers that fit with your charity event theme (we’ve got a few ideas for themes here) or can build your event around these entertainment acts perfect for your event:

Jazz musicians

1379383_394910730612040_353052573_nMake your guests feel like they are stepping into an old jazz club. Find the perfect venue for your night of jazz, and book entertainers such a jazz duo or singer that can make your guests feel like they stepped back in time. Discuss refreshments with your caterer that complete the feel, and find décor that gives your venue a dark jazz club vibe. If you have a large venue, talk to your entertainment agent about other options for entertainers that can give areas of your event their own unique feel (such as by your silent auction tables, or if you want to create multiple jazz lounges where you can talk with your guests).

Piano bar

Are you holding a smaller gathering? Create a piano bar themed event (or rent a room at a piano bar). Hire a pianist and singer that can charm your guests in your cozy setting. Talk to your venue or vendor about cocktails appropriate for the evening, and a meal or appetizers appropriate for your theme. Invite a guest of honor, either the head of your charity or an acquaintance touched by the cause, and give them a place of honor during your piano-bar themed evening.

Dinner and a show

NICEAwards-C068.JPG MR_240_161Want to give your guests a night out together? Coordinate the ultimate night out for your guests, with show girls as greeters, a red carpet (and red carpet treatment), appetizers, cocktails, a fantastic dinner, and a show they won’t forget. Depending on your audience, choose an entertainment act that keeps their attention throughout the night, such as a comedian, play, show band (3 musicians, 30 instruments, WOW!) orchestra or mentalist. Decide what kind of event you want—and who you hope to attract—when deciding on your entertainment, or discuss your vision with an experienced entertainment agent who can give their recommendation and handle all the details. If you want to have a semiformal evening with a comedian or other act, hire a caricature artist to up the level of fun, and give your guests a memento of a fantastic night for a great cause.

Masquerade ball

If you want a one-of-a-kind event that your guests never forget, go all-out with a masquerade ball in a ballroom that leaves your guests awe-struck. Set the theme with your invitations and promotional pieces, and back them up with a beautiful event with lights, masks and feather décor. Complete the event atmosphere with entertainers and an unforgettable main event.

Need any more ideas for your charity event? We’ve planned and attended quite a few (okay, a ton) in our 25 plus years of business. Contact us. We’ll work with you to bring your vision alive, and create the atmosphere you and your guests want and sets the stage for a successful charity event.

Why should I use a booking agent for event entertainment?

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Contact one of the top booking agents in Chicago for your event.

With the internet and mobile technology, it seems everyone is looking for shortcuts to achieve results—even for locating entertainers for their wedding, fundraisers, galas and company parties. In the world of event planning, they want memorable entertainment that wow guests and they want it quickly and easily. The answer is a booking agent. Why? Why would you want to use a booking agent for your corporate events, weddings, festivals, fundraisers and galas?

  • It’s convenient. With just a short conversation, you can give them information about your event and guests. They use their extensive experience to coordinate entertainers, and all the details, that make your event memorable.
  • They think about you and your guests. An experienced booking agent can match you with entertainment that fits your guests’ demographic. Your booking agent can connect you with the entertainer suitable for the age group of your crowd, creating a wonderful atmosphere with entertainment appropriate to their tastes.
  • Your booking agent can select characters and entertainers that take it over the top. You only have to make one call, and the booking agent can book all the acts you need and handle all the details that come with hiring entertainers. They’ve also seen what works and doesn’t work, and good booking agents only hire the best entertainers for your wedding, company holiday party, fundraiser, etc.

The best part: hiring a booking agent won’t take long. They won’t take up any more of your time than needed, while still getting the vital information they need to find the entertainer(s) that fit your event and crowd. Remember, these are professional booking agents with years of experience. They won’t waste your time, just use every second of the conversation to match you with quality entertainment. Speaking of wasting time, don’t waste your time trying to take on the entertainment for your event yourself. Contact a booking agent today, one of the top agents in the Chicago area with years of experience.

Must-Have Fundraising Tips For Your Next Gala

home_splash1No one plans a fundraising gala with the purpose of walking away empty handed. Without the right mixture of entertainment, asking and entertaining, even the most well-intentioned affair can fall short of fundraising goals. As a business or non-profit hosting a fundraiser, expect your fundraising gala to be an investment—an investment that raises funds for your cause if you follow these fundraising tips:

  • Don’t be shy. Your guests are attending a fundraiser.  They expect to be asked, and you won’t raise funds unless you do. But you can’t push too hard for donations either. It’s your job to find the right combination of asking and entertaining that make the gala successful.
  • Coordinate a silent auction. Leverage your professional and personal connections, and the connections of board members and volunteers, to solicit items and gift certificates for silent auction packages for your guests. Make sure your packages are appealing visually even if you don’t have all the items to display, and that the silent auction tables are in a prominent location for the guests to find. Have your emcee or entertainers make announcements about the silent auction.
  • Tie your gala entertainment into your fundraiser. Use your emcee or entertainer to make announcements about your auction or other fundraisers. If you have a unique fundraiser that will take place on the stage, have your emcee or entertainer officiate the fundraiser.
  • Show your guests the impact they can have. Use displays, slideshows and videos to show what their dollars support. You can also have a beneficiary of your services describe their experience on stage, or tape and edit their testimonial into a video.

Guests who are enjoying themselves tend to give more. Choose a theme appropriate for the evening, and get plenty of entertainers to make the night entertaining and memorable. Don’t feel confined to booking one entertainer or that you have to locate the talent yourself. Contact a talent agent for entertainment recommendations and booking. They have a diverse group of entertainers to choose from, years of experience to draw on and the expertise to make your fundraiser a success.

Need Ideas for a Theme for your Fundraising Gala?

SexyStilts2_240_299Whether you are a non-profit coordinating a fundraiser cocktail night or a business hosting a fundraising gala for your local charity, the key to a successful night is entertainment. From the moment your guests enter through the reception doors until the end of the program, fundraiser galas are most successful when the guests are entertained throughout the evening. From the décor to the program, your goal as the fundraising gala planner is to create an over-the-top, enjoyable and entertaining evening that compels your guests to contribute to your worthy cause. You can start that experience with a theme that guides your party planning, and gives your guests the entertainment you strive for:

Retro/vintage party. Plan a 80’s evening with uplighting and celebrities circulating throughout your venue from the time period. For the main entertainment, have the entertainers do a skit or hire a band to sing 80’s hits. Want to get even more retro? Bust out the poodle skirts and ice cream sodas for a rockin’ good night. Hire a band to play the classics while your guests circulate with celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and James Dean.

Mardi Gras. Invite your guests to a costume party complete with entertainers that set the stage for a fun evening. Treat them to a night of jazz music and outlandish décor that makes your guests feel like they are in the midst of a huge party.

Casino night. Set up a roulette wheel and bring on the Vegas entertainers. From showgirls to dealers, make your evening a memorable night where everyone is willing to put their money down for a good cause. Complete the night with dice décor, poker chips and playing cards.

Hollywood red carpet. The experience starts at the door with this fundraiser theme. Have your guests walk the red carpet through the flash of the paparazzi cameras and enjoy the benefits of being a star, if only for an evening. Hire “celebrities” like Marilyn Monroe, Britney Spears and Elvis to circulate with the crowd.

Take your fundraising gala theme to the next level with multiple entertainers throughout your venue. You don’t have to locate those entertainers on your own. Contact a local, experienced booking agent who can recommend entertainers appropriate for your event and theme, and can coordinate the entertainers and schedule.