01 Mar Planning the Perfect Gala
A gala is one of the more formal events that FMP puts on, and they range from 150 people sit down dinners to over 700 people award ceremonies. We have worked at countless venues in Boston and outside the city, including the Boston Harbor Hotel, the Boston Park Plaza, the Sky High UMass Club, the historic and private Harvard Club, and more. FMP Productions takes pride in our attention to detail and making sure things run smoothly so our clients can enjoy themselves, along with the attendees, at the gala.
Theme & Supporters
In a crowded space how do you stand out? That is the first question you need to ask when planning a gala. How do you engage your supporters and donors and entice them to not only want to go to the gala but further their commitment to the foundation?
Our suggestion is to create a theme that directly ties back to who you are and what you do. Work on finding opportunities for you to highlight the amazing work you have been doing in a fun and creative way. It is important to understand your supporters and create an event that they are excited to attend year after year. At the event your speaking program takes attendees captivation to the next level by providing the ability to sell exactly what you do as a foundation. This is your time to utilize the undivided attention of your attendees and find a way to touch every individual. A good speaking program will sell your mission and has the ability to attract long term followers.
The speaking program and theme work together to achieve the same goal; to engage your supporters and further their commitment to the foundation.
Sponsors, Ticket Sales, and Promotion
Selling events are hard, especially a charity gala. With there being hundreds of galas each year just in your city alone, how do you make yours be the one that people want to contribute to? What content is going to make supporters choose your gala over the others?
Properly selling and promoting your event is key to success. In order to sell sponsorships and tickets, your promotion needs to be well thought out, meaningful, and grab the viewers’ attention. Well executed promotion has the ability to not only excite your current audience but reach a whole new demographic of potential sponsors and attendees. With a formal event, costs quickly add up. Receiving sponsorships allows you to maximize your profit for the event and use that money towards your mission, rather than the event itself. Two ways to approach this are by creating sponsorship levels or having a company sponsor a specific aspect of the event. When approaching sponsorship packages, it is important to remember to be creative with entitlements and provide as quality value to the sponsor without impacting your bottom line. Ticket sales are equally as important because people must come to your event to make it enjoyable. Promoting these sales effectively requires an understanding of the purpose of the event and who your target market is. Organizing a strategic promotional plan will help enhance your sales, both for tickets and sponsorships.
Day of Operations
Congratulations! You have successfully promoted your event. You have chosen a phenomenal theme that attracted great sponsors and groups of attendees. Now what? What final steps have to be taken to make sure the event goes flawlessly?
It is now time to consider the day of coordination for the event and all of the important details ensure a flawless event. First, you must coordinate all details with the venue and meticulously review the BEO. It is important to properly schedule your staff and vendors so that no detail is overlooked. Try and schedule time prior to the start of the event to review the full schedule with your staff and ensure everyone knows all of the important details.
Your first responsibility with guests is registration. The process of this can vary depending on your event and what information is required from and for the attendees. After registration, it is important to stick to the schedule you have put in place to ensure it is executed properly. While hosting an event and being responsible for all the operations, it is very easy to get caught up in distractions in the moment. Knowing your schedule and having your staff be comfortable with their schedule and responsibilities will help things run smoothly. Having strong communication with the venue, vendors, and service staff throughout the evening is important to ensure everything runs smoothly.
FMP’s Favorite Part
So, why do we do it? Because, genuinely, we love it! Everything from the preliminary promotion to the day of details. We enjoy executing an event and watching our clients, who work so hard every day for their cause, enjoy the moment without having to worry about the elements that are second nature to us. Additionally, we love planning galas because of the gratification at the end of the night when things go smoothly. Seeing months of planning come together in front of our eyes and having all the pieces come together. Whether it’s Taylor refining every auction item on display or Chris preparing the AV for the speaking program, each member of our staff has their part in the gala that they are enthusiastic about perfecting. And, the best part, is seeing the success of the night the next day. Knowing that we can do something that we enjoy helping our clients fulfill their mission makes getting dressed up in our heels and ties for an evening of work all worth it.