I recently read an online article about galas not being about philanthropy. I got curious about the author's 'take' on who attends such events like auctions and why they do.
His perspective is that galas are not the space to cultivate major donors nor is it a place for deep donor cultivation. Instead, it is an opportunity for your donors to celebrate the work your agency does in the world.
As a successful event planner for nonprofits, I recognize the amount of work that goes into planning a fundraising event like an auction or gala. Best practices change every so often but the bottom line still remains: understanding that very thing - who is coming to your event and what motivates them to be there.
Events require a lot of person-power and planning to exceed all of the costs associated with the event. It is a marvelous opportunity for your community to celebrate the work of the nonprofit over the past year.
There are many resources out there on themes and other ideas but it always comes down to your planning. Here is a link to a check list that can be helpful to plan out all of the tasks associated with planning a major fundraising event. Your best bet is to create calendar, build an events planning committee, and have fun!