I recently had the great honor of chairing the Telfair Ball, the largest annual fundraiser of Savannah’s beloved Telfair Museums. Because the gala is a 34-year-old tradition, it has an established plan that works. Still, each year there is that push to make it better and, of course, to raise more money for the museum.
Whether your charitable event is new or old, I hope that the following ideas will help you be successful.
1. Seek a worthy cause
This is certainly the most important part. It must be a great cause, and one about which you are passionate. An enthusiastic leader will easily enlist support from others.
2. Compile the best committee
Work with great people. While you can always ask your friends (and I do), it is best to gather a committee of people who share your interest in the organization. Do not take it personally if someone turns you down: You want volunteers that are committed to the cause.
Create a timeline. Create a budget. Delegate goals and tasks to your committee.
4. Keep detailed notes
Keep a notebook with everything that you do and every person that you contact. Not only will this help you plan the event, it will also provide your predecessor with much-needed information of what worked and what did not work.
5. Find a hook
Add an interesting element to entice your audience. Because our museum was in the middle of a Spanish exhibit during the time of the gala, I went with a Spanish-themed party. I invited His Excellency Ramón Gil-Casares, the Spanish Ambassador to the United States, to serve as the honorary chair. He accepted, and then the planning took on a whole new level of excitement.
6. Make your event appealing
You want it to be as beautiful and fun as possible. Therefore, create a great atmosphere and do everything that you can to make it visually appealing. Delicious food and interesting people are a must!
7. Plan for unexpected occurrences
Yikes!! Unfortunately, things happen that create “interesting situations.” Have a rain or snow plan. Anticipate last-minute cancellations. Roll with it!
8. Share your financial goal
Make sure that your audience knows how the organization will use the funds it raises. During the Telfair Ball, we gave everyone the opportunity to donate either through auction items, a raffle or through a pledge to our education program.
Throwing large-scale events requires planning, people and a great cause. Build upon the foundation of your organization to bring in more people and more funds. A successful event is one that is a financial success, but also one that is fun for your committee and your supporters.
As always, thanks for reading.
Photography courtesy of Randy Thompson.
Paula, I love watching you and your family. I miss seeing your show, I watched you everyday. My son lives in Charleston S.C. He took me to the Lady & Sons to eat. Oh my goodness! People are always telling me that I look just like the cooking lady Paula Deen. I always tell them that you are my hero. May God Bless You
Mary Ann Tharp in A Summer of Burgers on August 15, 2014 at 10:48 pm
Add a few spoonfuls of parmesan cheese to the flour and cornmeal breading and it kicks the tomatoes up another notch. Bev
in Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes on August 15, 2014 at 10:33 am
I just bought Paula's Peach Salad Dressing and wondered if anyone has a good recipe that they use it in?
Melissa in Taste Testing 101 on August 13, 2014 at 8:36 am
Congrats Bobby. Loved the family picture miss you Paula on TV will be watching online. Jack is getting big. Looks like his mom but Matt aka moose has your face. Your eyes cheeks hair even falls to his face like yours except to the left. Good luck on your next venture. You give us other 60+ yr women strength to move on. Keep up the good work.
Carol Bryant in Love at Last on August 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm