Posted by: joyousgalaevents | December 16, 2008

When to Use Volunteers and When to Use Professionals

<a href=

Good food is essential to the success of any event. Don't skimp on the caterer. Image:

The whole point of the auction is to raise money, but for some things you really need to hire extra help.  When do you decide to hire, and when do

you decide to stick with volunteers?

It basically comes down to a division of labor – skilled and unskilled.  You need to hire professionals for tasks that are specialized or too complicated to ask a volunteer to do.  Catering, auctioneering and entertainment frequently fall into this category.  You’ll also have a hard time finding volunteers for the less than glamorous positions – like cleanup.  Frequently, it is far more prudent to bite the bullet and pay for these positions – they are far to important to the overall success of the event to be left to amateurs.  Catering, auctioneering and entertainment are all instrumental to the look and feel of the event. 

Your guests’ happiness (and propensity to spend money) ride on their overall enjoyment of the event – and few people enjoy bad food and music. 

<a href=

An experienced auctioneer is the key to success for a live auction event. (Image: stock.xchng )

And an experienced auctioneer can turn a lackluster event into a high powered spending spree by generating excitement and fervor during the live event.  The key to the success of the live auction is to get guests to bid against each other and experienced auctioneers have experience turning a timid crowd into a hotbed of competitive bidding.  It is absolutely essential that you have a personality that is engaging and to whom the guests are drawn.  A dud of an auctioneer can spell disaster for your live event.

<a href=

Save yourself the trouble of cleaning up at the end of a long night. Hire a janitorial service to help you out - it's well worth the effort. (Image: stock.xchng

And probably the best investment you could make would be to hire a janitorial crew for the end of the night.  Many event locations have security deposits that require you clean the venue after its use.  Definitely considering spending the relatively nominal money necessary to hire a janitorial service to come in at the conclusion of your event.  It’s incredibly difficult to find volunteers for this postion – and few people who do volunteer will end up sticking around to actually fulfill their promise.  Often, you’ll find yourself and a handful of others at the end of the night, trying to pack up and clean your event space.  You will be exhausted (and maybe a little tipsy) and the last thing you want to be doing is picking up trash and sweeping the floor in your stocking feet and evening gown.  A janitorial service provides peace of mind and allows you to concentrate on packing up your important pieces of equipment and auction items that weren’t taken home that night.  Odds are too that they’ll clean the space faster and better than you could do it on your own anyway.

You are far better off using your volunteers for the positions that are exciting, fun, in the limelight – ones that you’ll have volunteers falling over themselves to do.  But that is another post….

Posted by: joyousgalaevents | July 12, 2008

Donation Ideas for Silent and Live Auction Fundraisers

To keep your auction organized you have to divide up your auction into small groups of like items.  It’s the easiest way stay organized while soliciting donations and at the auction itself, your bidders will be able to find what they are looking for.  You can decide the names of your categories one of two ways.  You can have the same category names from year to year that accurately (but dryly) describe what the items are.  Or you can make up new names for the categories each year according to what your theme is.  No matter what you decide to call your categories or how you decide to divide them up, there are a few categories that make up the basis for any auction.


  • Live Auction (Premium Items):  These are the best of the best of your auction items – the ones that are going to command the highest prices and cause the greatest excitement during the Live Auction.  At a school, these will often be the class art project.  For other organizations, these will be elaborate vacation items, expensive objects d’art, or valuable collectibles.
Vacation Getways can be a popular auction item. (

Vacation Getways can be a popular auction item. (

  Read More…

Posted by: joyousgalaevents | July 12, 2008

How Important the Theme is to the Overall Success of Your Event

The theme is going to set the tone and mood of your event, starting with the very first words your audience hears about it.  Depending on what type of fundraiser you are planning, your audience may hear about it many months in advance or hear about it for the first time when the receive the invitation. 

Themes based on cultural influences (like Florence, Italy) can create strong, cohesive messages (

Themes based on cultural influences (like Florence, Italy) can create strong, cohesive messages (

With a school auction, for example, you are going to start talking to your parent body (who are the primary attendees) very early on in the school year despite the fact that the auction won’t be scheduled until sometime in the spring.  The reason for the early notification here is that your parent body is the primary source of volunteers, as well as the primary source of donation items.  When it comes to your donated items, your parents will either donate items themselves or they will pound that pavement to solicit items from local businesses they patronize, as well as from their families, friends and business associates.  


Read More…

Posted by: joyousgalaevents | July 8, 2008

The Benefits of Hiring an Event Consultant

Companies and organizations that are looking for help keeping their event on schedule, on budget and successful will benefit from hiring an event consultant.

Event Designers can be well worth the investment if you don't have the manpower at your organization to plan the event.  Night-of only coordination is a less expensive option.  (stock.xchng,

Event Designers can be well worth the investment if you don't have the manpower at your organization to plan the event. Night-of only coordination is a less expensive option. (stock.xchng,

If you hire an event consultant at the beginning of the planning process:

  • The event consultant will provide fresh eyes and innovative ideas for encouraging your donors to give and give big.
  • Fundraising events demand a lot of attention to detail and an experienced event consultant can keep your organization focused, so that things don’t fall through the cracks.
  • Experienced fundraisers will also be able to direct you towards untapped resources in your community that you may not have realized you even had.
  • A full service event consultant will help you build a cohesive theme, from the invitations to the decor to the food and beverage to the music.  Events with strong themes present themselves better, amaze the guests and inspire the donors to give in support of the organization.

Maybe your organization can’t afford or justify an event consultant to help with planning the entire event.  There are other options available.  At the very least you should consider hiring an event consultant for the night of the event.

If you hire an event consultant for night-of coordination:

  • The event consultant will provide experienced hands at dealing with the logistics of setting up, running and breaking down a large-scale fundraising event.
  • You’ll be freed up to join the party and you won’t have to fight to convince volunteers to spend their time working, instead of having fun with the rest of the guests.

Whatever you decide is the best option for your organization, the investment is worth it in the long run and will be recuped by the increase in donations that result directly from having an experienced fundraising planner onsite.