Hosting a masquerade ball fundraiser is a great way to raise funds because it gives your supporters a fun and glamorous night out with a blend of elegance and mystery. Its essentially a “dress up night” for adults where everyone can dress to the nines, enjoy fine food and wines, dance to some great music and thoroughly enjoy themselves.
A Glamorous Night Out Raises A Lot Of Money
A good-sized fundraising event like a charity ball requires a lot of advance planning and hard work, but the results are well worth the effort. Select a Friday or Saturday night at least six weeks ahead of time and rent a location such as country club to hold your event.
Organize your committees along practical lines – entertainment, food/wine, silent/live auctions, ticket sales, site preparation, publicity, etc. Avoid “over meeting” by quickly delegating responsibilities and setting deadlines for all tasks at the very first planning session.
As with any charity event, publicity is the key to a good turnout. You must clearly communicate not only the funding “need” that your fundraiser is addressing (ex: cancer research), but also emphasize why people should attend your event.
Your publicity message should ask for help, communicate the need, and give them a “because” to justify their decision to attend and donate money to your cause.
Using the cause of cancer research as an example, you could come up with a unique tagline such as “Help Unmask Cancer” or “Masquerade For The Cure“.
The word “because” is a psychological trigger that subconsciously assists the brain in justifying a positive response to a request. Research has shown its such a powerful word that it works even if the reason why is weak. However, it works best with a strong reason why.
For your “because” statement, you want first “ask for their help” and then express your “fundraising need” using “because” to justify helping your group. Always phrase your “ask” as a question. Then make your “because” give a strong reason or even two reasons.
In the cancer research example, you should express it like this: “Can you help us raise funds for cancer research? We need your help because this disease is devastating so many families and our Masquerade Ball will be the most fun you’ll have all year.”
Publicize your event with a press release and then reach out to all your local media with a follow-up call. With the press, target the city editor. With radio stations, ask for the station manager. With TV stations, you want the production manager.
Raise money by selling all-inclusive tickets that cover all the food, wine, and entertainment. Add a cash bar if you wish, but a better idea is to offer exclusive tastings at an additional price. Wine tasting, whiskey tasting, exotic foods, imported cigars, etc.
Your main moneymaker is going to be your silent auction items, so line the walls in high-traffic areas with attractive displays of donated goods and services. Be sure to make it as easy as possible for guests to place bids.
Live auctions are also a great way to raise funds because people like to show off their generosity and they like to win. Just make sure the live auction items are worthy of high-dollar bidding. You can further enliven the event by auctioning off eligible bachelors and bachelorettes in a fun way.
Keep the fun rolling from the minute your event starts all the way until the last guest departs. Use valet parking and enhance the arrival atmosphere in a unique way, such as having jugglers outside or even a fire-breathing demonstration.
Inside at your check-in area, have a magician demonstrating some sleight-of-hand tricks and a photographer taking pictures of guests. I’ve even seen events where a pretend swarm of paparazzi greet arrivals.
Keep the festive air by providing focal points for guests to gather besides the tables or dance floor. Have a best costume contest for both men and women. Have the band do special requests and dedications.
The more fun your masquerade ball is, the more people will want to attend and the more successful your fundraiser will be. And of course, once its a big success you can make your masquerade ball fundraiser an annual event.