Gala campaign playbook

Gala campaigns are a great way to raise funds for your nonprofit in a formal setting. Follow the playbook to execute a successful Gala on CrowdRise.

Galas are a traditional way to gather your supporters together in honor of your nonprofit’s cause. While typically centered around an upscale dinner or meal, more recent trends include casual or themed events that may include a speaker, entertainer or performance.

playbook illustrations_headers-gala

Why organize a gala?

Organizing a gala provides your supporters with a clear way to support you: you host the event, they attend and show their support. The time spent with your audience at the gala gives you the opportunity to connect with future donors more intimately and reinforce your mission. Fundraising commonly takes place as a part of the ticket price as well as during the event in the form of an auction or raffle. While organizing a gala can be expensive and time intensive, there is a lot to be gained in support and donations.

Strategic Functionality

Activate the functionality listed below to craft the perfect Gala campaign, leveraging the best practices we’ve included for each feature.



Collect information on your attendees and set an upfront ticket price by adding CrowdRise Registration/Ticketing to your campaign.


How to make the most of it:

  • Add ticket options for attendees to purchase an individual ticket, a whole table, or even to sponsor your event.
  • Allow multiple supporters to purchase a ticket at once by enabling Group Registration, for example if one person will be signing up an entire table.
  • Add ticket options for upgrades at the event, such as merchandise, a drink upgrade package or VIP table.
  • Encourage supporters to get involved early by setting variable registration prices, such as “Early Bird”. For example, set your initial ticket price to $100, then up the price to $125 one month out from the event.
  • Implement Promo Codes to give discounts on ticket prices, such as for your sponsors or volunteers.

Click Here for detailed instructions on how to add registration/ticketing to your campaign.



Allow your supporters to text a keyword of your choice to receive a link to your campaign.

Text to Donate

How to make the most of it:

  • Choose a short, relevant keyword to remind your participants of your cause.
  • Share your trigger word everywhere you can. Put your word on each table to allow donors to easily donate during your event, perhaps including a prize (see more on Incentives later) to encourage participation.
  • Set up your keyword to link directly into your registration flow to allow attendees to easily purchase tickets.

Read more about setting up Text to Donate Here.


Incentives, Contests/Sweepstakes**

Giving away prizes as a part of your gala event? Host your official rules on CrowdRise and begin spreading the word as people sign up to attend. Give attendees an extra incentive to donate to your cause with giveaways and chances to win prizes.


How to make the most of it:

  • We find that experiential prizes work best as incentives-- especially those that make fundraisers feel extra valued like VIP tables, after-party invitations or entertainment meet-and-greets.
  • Reach out to your sponsors or board members to ask for donations that could become donor or fundraiser incentives.
  • In place of a traditional raffle or auction, consider adding contests or sweepstakes for the prizes that you collect, providing attendees with multiple chances to win.
  • Be sure to spread the word about your incentive as a part of your campaign messaging plan.

View a full menu of contests and sweepstakes Here.


Campaign Updates

Keep your supporters engaged and up-to-date as your event date draws nearer by posting Campaign Updates often and throughout the duration of your campaign


How to make the most of it:

  • Send at least 3 campaign updates throughout your campaign to complement your usual messaging. Consider sending a few weeks prior to your event, during the event, and immediately afterward.
  • Include content that your supporters care about:
  • Relay important information about your gala via the Campaign Update tool, like where they should park and what time dinner starts, as well as any exciting updates about the venue or entertainment.
  • Inform your attendees and donors about how their donations have already made an impact. For example, equate your current dollars raised with a tangible outcome, eg. “Your gala ticket sales so far have provided over 100 vaccinations to at-risk children!”
  • Keep your donors updated on how close you are to goal, or other memorable milestones like progress year-over-year or number of donations received so far. Stats like these make people want to get in on the action.

For details on how to send a Campaign Update, Click Here.


A-thon campaign

**All incentives, contests/sweepstakes must be written and approved by CrowdRise. Contact or your Success Specialist for more information.





Check out other Campaign Playbooks:

A-thon campaign

Bike Ride campaign

Bowling campaign

Capital campaign

Crowdfunding campaign

Golf campaign

Run/Walk campaign