A successful gala requires a clear event plan, good people, and an organized event committee strategy.
We get lots of questions about the best way to delegate the work leading up to a big fundraising event. Every event director knows you need extra sets of hands—but how do you organize planning committees for the monumental task of holding a charity gala?
(Not sure where to start with planning your fundraising event? Start with some Benefit Auction Planning Basics!)
Committees Needed for an Event
Let’s discuss which committees you need to hold a charity gala so you can start planning and recruiting for those committee positions. We’ll cover in-depth committee structure and breakdowns of committee roles later on.
Event Planning Sub-Committees
Here is a list of committees needed for an event:
- Auction Committee
- Sponsorship Committee
- Registration and Checkout Committee
- Entertainment & Program Committee
- Media & Public Relations Committee
- Decor Committee
Depending on the size of your event and the demands put on each of your committees, some may contain smaller sub-committees to handle more in-depth event committee responsibilities.
The chairs of each of these committees form your overall fundraising event committee, responsible for seeing the event through from start to finish.
For a more detailed rundown of each of these gala committees with roles and job descriptions, check out our list of Event Committee Roles and Responsibilities.
Important Event Committee Roles and Jobs
There are also some individual or small committee positions that are critical to fill early on with dependable, organized leaders. These important positions are:
- Event Chair: The overall boss of the event planning process, who has final say in all decisions made by all event committees.
- Logistics Coordinator: Someone with logistical skill and ability to navigate many moving pieces. This role serves as the signpost for the entire event—who goes where and when to make everything happen as planned?
- Event Planner: Ideally this person comes with some professional planning experience, and understands what it takes to pull off a large-scale event—from organizing catering to dealing with venues and managing people.
- Volunteer Coordinator: This is probably one of the most important event committee jobs, because as we know, the people make the process, and the process makes the event! Volunteer coordinators should know exactly what type of person is needed for each role, with a rolodex and understanding of each volunteer to place them appropriately.
For small fundraising events, some or all of these individuals may also sit on other committees to assist with activities on the ground.
How to Form an Event Committee
Before you begin recruiting volunteers to fill committee positions, make sure your committees and their job responsibilities are locked. You need to know exactly which committee positions need filling and what each volunteer will need to do to fulfill their role!
1. Begin by selecting a chair for each committee. Chairs will ultimately be in charge of every decision that committee makes, and is responsible for overseeing all work done by members of their committee.
2. Solidify how many positions each committee needs, and what the roles and responsibilities will be for each position. Consider what type of person would thrive in that committee and performing those specific duties, and then create a “job description” for that role to help pin down the perfect volunteer for each position.
Check out our blog post on job descriptions, committee roles, and why it’s so important to know what you need before you begin recruiting: Making Sure Your Committees Are Locked Before Recruiting
3. Recruit! It’s time to get out there and find the right person for the job. What natural qualities does that volunteer bring to the table? Are the requirements of the position within their skillset? Do they have time in their schedule to perform all of the required duties?
Scheduling Committee Meetings
Scheduling can be tricky with every member of a committee having home, work, school and life obligations.
- Suggest meeting times outside regular work hours that everyone can attend.
- Offer virtual attendance options for those who cannot make it in person.
- Are there decisions that can be made by just the chair of a committee, rather than requiring the entire committee to meet? This can save an immense amount of time!
Never leave a committee meeting without having the next one scheduled!
Remember that as the event gets closer, committees may need to meet more frequently, so be sure all staff and volunteers have plenty of time available in the weeks before the big night.
Focus on the Meeting Agenda
Before going into any committee meeting, make sure you know what you’re meeting about and what needs to be decided or completed by the end of the meeting. Make sure those objectives are achieved before adjourning!
What should your committee agendas look like?
- A list of action items for the meeting, like making a decision or approving an expense.
- Delegate outstanding tasks to members of the Fundraising Event Committee, with clear deadlines for those tasks.
- Follow up on any tasks from previous meetings to make sure progress is being made, or the task has been completed.
- Ask if anyone on the committee has a question or concern that needs addressing.
- Make sure to schedule the next meeting!
Not sure how to keep everyone in your committee on the same page? If you’re a current Greater Giving client, you can grant every volunteer access to the event software on a basis you feel comfortable with. Limit permissions so procurement volunteers can enter donated items, but not risk interference with any other area of event planning. Click here to find out more about assigning user permissions to volunteers!
Tips and Tricks for Running an Event Committee
1. Always leave some space for your committee members to make suggestions and bring their own ideas to the table. You never know what you might learn, or what big problem a volunteer might be able to solve!
2. Keep the motivation going and the morale high! Tell your volunteers how much you appreciate them, and make sure to thank them for achieving difficult benchmarks or completing big tasks.
5 Ideas to Motivate Your Event Planning Committee
3. Share meeting agendas beforehand so everyone knows what items will be addressed, and if they need to bring anything to share with the group (such as a budget, a contract, a list of options for the group’s input).
4. Send out meeting notes with all agreed-upon action items, with the committee member responsible for that task and the deadline.
Download our Auction Planner for an overall timeline, with specific action items for each step in the process, best practices, tips and tricks, and space to make your own notes.
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