In the final part of our blog series on discussing potential pitfalls that could happen when planning a gala, we will discuss a unique deadline you should set for your group and the budget. If you haven’t noticed already, many of these challenges all line up with one another and can have a domino effect.

  • Setting a new idea deadline: new ideas can breathe freshness into an event that has been happening for a long time, but they also take time to implement and to ensure it is done well. You will need time to evaluate each change that you are considering making so you can think through the process of how you will carry out each idea and the steps it will take to accomplish.  That will allow you to decide if you have enough time left in your process to implement the change in this event or if you will need to wait until next time. An example could be that your committee wants to add a new game to your reception. You will need to source the items for the game and check your budget to see if you have room in case there are any items you need to purchase. Can you get items donated? Do you have the time and the help to accomplish this? How will the game be played? How many additional volunteers will you need to run the game on event day? How long will it take to set up and tear down and do you have space to store the leftover items after the event? It can be very exciting when a new idea for your gala falls in your lap but sometimes that can really put a strain on your staff or your budget, and if not thought through could compromise the well-planned event your guests are used to. Setting a deadline like this doesn’t mean it can’t be done in the future, it just means it may not be able to be done this year.
  • Budget: Many of the ideas that have already been discussed all play a part in my last topic, managing the budget. Creating a budget at the very beginning and keeping it updated throughout the planning process is the most important step to ensure your gala will be successful. Additional fees and costs associated with new ideas can really add up. Each one individually may seem little but when you are adding them on from the venue, caterer, AV, and more they can end up as a sizable portion of the budget at the end of the day. By tracking your budget and updating the numbers consistently, you can see if you have room to add on one more item. Sharing that budget with the staff, committees, and volunteers all working together on the gala can really help everyone while negotiating with different vendors and helps set parameters that can help make decision-making that much easier. A volunteer could utilize the budget to find opportunities to get items donated, always an occasion to celebrate no matter how small it may be. K2 would recommend having an experienced event planner on your team to help guide you through this process and give you weekly updates and that can potentially end up saving you significant money at the end of the day! Savings means more goes back to the mission.

By proactively addressing these potential issues in the early planning stages, it will help you manage your time during event week even better.  Spending more time reviewing your contracts, asking good questions on the front end, utilizing our catering and AV planning tips, and setting deadlines and budgets will allow you to maximize the impact of your gala and ensure your supporters, sponsors, and donors have a great evening. Hopefully, this will benefit the organization for a long time to come.

-Brenna Wood, Event Director

Part 1 – Gala Planning Pitfalls: Just Sign The Contract! Or Not…

Part 2 – Gala Planning Pitfalls: Menu and Audio-Visual Pitfalls