For many nonprofits, a gala might seem like a must-have. You’ve been doing it for years, it makes your board happy, and all the other organizations are doing it. However, galas can be complicated, tedious-to-plan affairs that cause a big drain on staff resources.
Such complex events can be stressful. Through gala revenue may seem like a high number at first glance, after taking into account staff time and stress, some organizations wonder whether it’s worth it. Luckily, there are several ways to simplify a gala for higher revenues by taking advantage of the digital donation opportunities you already have in place:
- Consolidate your “asks.” When planning a gala, it’s easy to think that adding more gimmicks and activities for attendees with raise the revenue. However, adding so many components to the event can drain volunteers and staff. Instead of adding on a raffle, a wine pull, and a bunch of other games, try to focus on one or two “asks” throughout the night. If you have a board member or constituent ask people to pull out their mobile devices and donate online at a strategic point during the night, you will likely be able to raise just as much money.
- Consider a matching donation. This is an easy way to simplify a gala. If you have a major donor or board member who donates a certain amount to your organization annually, ask them if they’d consider offering it as a “match.” You can market this to attendees as a way to make their donation go farther, and it may encourage attendees to stretch their giving more than they would have otherwise.
- Encourage digital registration. We all know that selling tickets beforehand is a great way to encourage attendance at an event. Digital registration allows attendees to do just that and makes your check-in process easier as well.
- Use peer-to-peer fundraising. Nonprofit veterans know that the best way to have a stellar gala is to raise much of the money beforehand. In addition to sponsor donations and ticket sales, peer-to-peer fundraising encourages individuals to give gifts before the big event. This simplifies the event in several ways, including the gift of security so that your board, volunteers, and staff are not scrambling at the last minute to try and achieve your donation threshold. Peer-to-peer fundraising also encourages people who cannot attend the event in person to give to your gala revenue total.
- Track donors digitally. Many nonprofit professionals have found themselves in the bittersweet situation after a gala of trying to figure out where the money came from. When donors give digitally, you can generate an easy report that shows where every penny came from. No longer will you be trying to read messy handwriting on the back of raffle tickets or attempting to decipher what someone wrote on a donation envelope after they had a few glasses of wine.
- Use technology to reach and thank donors. Galas typically require a lot of follow-up, especially in terms of donor cultivation. You want to thank donors promptly and effectively. Using technology to send thank you’s and updates to gala attendees and donors is a way to make life easier for all of your staff and volunteers. Furthermore, this technology can extend past your gala so that information about donors is collected in the same place throughout the year.
When you simplify your gala, your biggest event of the year can also be the most profitable. Using a digital fundraising and donor management platform like Process Donation can transform your gala from the event you dread to your organization’s proudest annual fundraising moment.