Preparing for a fundraising event involves numerous details that can make it both exciting and stressful. To ensure a smooth experience for everyone involved, it's crucial to establish a robust communication plan. This blog post will guide you on effectively communicating with your guests leading up to the event, helping reduce stress and enhance their overall experience.
Here are the top things you need to communicate with your guests leading up to your event:
Table Hosts - Request your table hosts to provide their guest lists, including contact information such as phone numbers and email addresses, as soon as possible. This information will enable you to relay important updates about the event. Aim to collect this data at least 2-3 weeks in advance.
Catering - Catering will need a final guest count as well as dietary requirements for guests if there is a meal choice. Be sure to refer to your catering contract and make a plan to reach out to all your guests before the catering deadline.
Guest Information - If you are using event registration software such as Auctria or Greater Giving - communicate with your guests that they can expedite the check in process by checking in in advance and vaulting their credit card information - saving time at the registration table at the event. The more guests that provide their credit card information and email addresses in advance helps save time and reduce wait times in lines at check in.
Traffic and Parking - Send an email to all guests a day before the event, providing them with information on any potential traffic delays or road closures near the venue. Offer details about parking locations and inform them if valet services are available, including associated costs.
Program information - Provide your guests with a rough outline of your program. Provide the start time for your live program along with the time of dinner service. Let guests know if there will be an auction, raffle, paddle raise, etc. If you are raising money - let guests know in advance.
Entertainment or Performances - If there are any notable entertainment acts or performances scheduled for the gala, share this information with your guests. Highlight the talents or artists they can look forward to enjoying during the event.
Event Enhancements - If you have any special features or enhancements planned for the event, such as photo booths, interactive displays, or guest speakers, communicate these details to generate excitement and anticipation.
Mission Stories - Prior to the event, send guests exciting updates about your organization's programs and services. Share impactful stories that highlight the difference your organization is making. Inspire guests by showing them how their support can create a positive impact.
Live Auction - If you are having a live auction at your event be sure to send out a promotional email highlighting your live auction items to all your guests.
Theme and Attire - Will your gala have a specific theme? Is there a preferred dress code for guests? Include this information in your marketing materials and all final communications. If a theme is involved, provide guests with ideas and visual references (photos are helpful) on appropriate themed attire.
VIP or Special Guests - If you have any VIPs or special guests attending the event, communicate this to your guests. Let them know about the presence of these individuals and the significance they hold in relation to your cause or organization.
After Party - If you plan to host an after party, ensure guests are informed about the details in advance. Clearly communicate whether there are additional costs associated with attending the after party.
Social Media Engagement - Encourage guests to follow your organization's social media accounts and participate in event-related conversations online. Create a dedicated event hashtag and encourage attendees to use it when posting about the event. This helps generate buzz and allows guests to connect with one another before the event.
Contact Information - Include a designated point of contact for any questions or concerns guests may have. Provide an email address or phone number where they can reach out for assistance. Promptly respond to inquiries to ensure guests feel supported and valued.
These key points cover just a fraction of the information you should communicate to your guests for a seamless gala experience. If you'd like to delve deeper into executing a comprehensive communication plan, feel free to reach out. Let's work together to create a successful event
Be sure to check out my blog post on how to nurture and grow your event. And my post on best practices for live event programs.
Michael Faith Benefit Auctioneer and fundraising professional