A comprehensive list of every different Fundraising Event Committee you’ll need for your gala- their roles and job descriptions.
A successful event requires a lot of coordination, planning and effort from your Fundraising Event Committee. After having to postpone events for several years, many organizations are having to transition new people into committee roles. If you are transitioning in a new Event Chair we recommend having your previous Chair document their “Best Practices” as a Hand Off Guide. Every team member has specific roles and responsibilities that are critical to the success of the event. Here are some of the most common team positions for an event:
Getting started on your event planning committee? Check out our list of Needed Event Committees and Important Event Positions.
Planning and Logistics Committee
The planning committee is responsible for the overall planning of the event. This includes everything from budget to venue, guest list to guest RSVPs (responses). They are also responsible for making sure that their volunteers know what they need to do in order to pull off a successful event. Once you have your team together, here’s what they’ll be doing:
- Creating a timeline/run of show schedule / Checklist
- Making sure each committee has their responsibilities and assignments
- Coordinating vendor set up and tear down
- Creating backup plans for weather, health, and safety.
Auction Procurement Committee
Here are just some of the roles and responsibilities that need to be delegated to members of the auction committee:
- Generating leads for item procurement.
- Creating an item donation form (online or print) to record what’s been committed and who donated it.
- Entering donations and item donors into an event software or database.
- Bundling donated items into packages/lots.
- Photographing items and designing signage.
- Displaying auction packages at the venue.
- Creating an auction catalog.
- Printing bid sheets or uploading auction packages to a mobile bidding platform.
- Managing online or mobile bidding and sending text message alerts.
- If not using an automated or mobile bidding platform: Tracking sales at the event and entering them into event software or other database.
- If not using an automated or mobile bidding platform: Printing or emailing receipts to guests with a list of purchases and total sale prices.
- Arranging items at item pickup by bidder number for a quick and easy checkout.
- Printing and mailing thank-you letters with tax deductible information.
For some nonprofits the auction is just one of many attractions at their event, while other benefit galas put a strong emphasis on the silent and live auctions—sometimes with a hundred auction items or more. If you expect to hold a large auction, consider delegating additional sub-committees for important roles within the auction committee. This can include:
- A separate item procurement committee, responsible for generating donation leads and cultivating potential donors.
- An item pickup committee to handle items purchased by bidders at the event, and help run a smooth checkout.
- Special roles for tracking item donations, making bid sheets or designing and displaying auction packages.
Roles in a Sponsor Committee
Much like an item procurement committee, sponsor committees are about solicitation and relationship management. Event sponsorships are a great way to offset event costs (e.g. an entertainment sponsor or drink sponsor) and find in-kind donation items for your auction.
Start seeking sponsors early on in the event planning process, so you have plenty of time to take a potential sponsor from initial outreach to committed sponsorship long before event night. Here is a list of just some of the job descriptions for staff and volunteers on the sponsor committee:
- Generating sponsor leads from businesses in your nonprofit’s cause area, those with personal connections to your organization or board members, or simply businesses who share your values.
- Creating sponsor levels with giving thresholds (or associated in-kind donations). Include the number of tables or other benefits included with that sponsorship level.
- Soliciting sponsors over the phone or in-person to be a part of your event and assist your mission. Note that in-person solicitations tend to feel more personal, and can be more effective!
- Tracking sponsorships throughout the solicitation process, from lead to completion.
- Getting sponsor guest names and contact information and entering them in the database.
- Creating table and seating arrangements in the ballroom for sponsors and their guests.
- Designing VIP experiences for sponsors and their guests.
- Handling sponsors at registration and managing relationships throughout the event.
Registration, Checkout and Guest Experience Committee
Of all the standard event committees, the check-in and checkout committee is one of the most important because it sets the standard for your event guest’s event experience. And it’s based on this experience that they’ll decide whether or not to attend your event the next year.
Here are just some of this committee’s (many) jobs and our suggestions for committee structure:
- Collecting all guest names and contact information.
- Generating guest lists and assigning bidder numbers.
- Buying bidder number cards and printing auction catalogs.
- Assigning guests to tables and creating a seating chart.
- Training volunteers to work check-in and registration.
- Using event software to gather guest payments and streamline checkout.
- Hiring a photographer/videographer to document the event. (Use to promote the event next year!)
You may also want a sub-committee just for creating “Save the Date” notices and formal invitations to your event, who will design the invitation, curate the list of those who will receive invitations, and mailing them out to potential guests.
Entertainment & Program Committee
This event committee is primarily responsible for making sure your fundraising event is fun! They’re not only in charge of securing entertainment for the night, but also making sure the event moves smoothly from one part of the program to another (e.g. transitioning from the silent auction to dinner, or from dinner to the live auction and appeal).
These are just a few of this fundraising committees’ roles and job descriptions:
- Hiring an Emcee and/or Professional Auctioneer.
- Soliciting a guest speaker.
- Deciding the order of events, such as cocktail hour, dinner, dessert, and any auction games that might be happening throughout the night.
- Creating and printing event night programs.
- Hiring entertainment, such as a live band or other performer.
- Working in tandem with sound and lighting crews.
- Timing auction closings with the order of events.
Media and Public Relations Committee
The media and public relations committee is in charge of making sure word gets out about your event, and managing how the event is covered by the media.
This is probably one of the most important gala committees needed, because people won’t know about your fundraising event unless you tell them! Here are just a few of their critical responsibilities:
- Deciding how to promote the event (TV, radio, news, email, social media, etc.)
- Creating media packages—which typically include video, pictures, a press release, and more to provide to news and radio outlets.
- Working with sponsors or other local businesses specializing in media to reach as many potential attendees as possible.
- Keeping all information about the event on the website updated, including details about speakers, ticketing options, sponsorships and sponsorship recognitions, and photos to get people interested in learning more about your event.
This is a high-priority committee that will need some savvy individuals who know media channels, have connections within the industry, and an understanding of the publicity pipeline.
This type of event committee is responsible for making your event look gorgeous. Especially if your fundraiser has a unifying theme, this committee should be made up of creative individuals with a little bit of flair.
Here are just some examples of the roles and responsibilities for this type of committee:
- Deciding on a theme and corresponding decor in advance.
- Placing orders for tablecloths, chair covers, centerpieces, and any other decor that the event will require in bulk.
- Creating table placards and place settings.
- Designing centerpieces.
- Arranging and displaying auction items at the event in conjunction with the Auction Committee.
- Arriving on the morning of the event to begin decorating!
Most events require an army of people the night of the event to facilitate your planning elements. In order to make this successful you need to find a person (or team) that can help recruit, motivate, communicate and solve problems.
- Assess Volunteer Needs
- Recruit volunteers
- Train volunteers based on their assignments
- Sends out communications to all volunteers
- Makes sure volunteers have needed supplies (pens, clipboards, food, water)
Have these roles clearly defined and filled before you start planning your event.
You will be able to host a much better event and leverage your team’s support to contribute to your success.
Congratulations – Your committee is ready!
If you need advice on how to motivate your new event committee check out our blog post with ” 5 Ideas to Motivate Your Event Planning Committee”.
We’re all here to learn from each other. Any tips or “Best Practices”? Let us know if a comment below.