How to plan the perfect giving event
January 21, 2019

Timeline & venue booking

Planning a Gala, Leadership Conference, Alumni Event or Corporate Charity Fundraiser is no easy undertaking. So, to bring your ideas, greater mission and audience together in a meaningful way, we’ve put together a list of items you’ll need to consider when planning the perfect giving event in Barrie, Ontario.

Without a venue, there can be no party. And without a party-planning partner, it can be difficult to coordinate hundreds of moving pieces. So, first thing’s first, we encourage you to download our Georgian Event Planning Timeline to get a full picture of your planning and event booking schedule:

Next, we suggest you consider contact our events partnership team, who will help you to fully understand the fine print of your venue booking contract and what is available to you. We’ve got your back.

For a full list of things to consider when planning for venue accessibility, download the following checklist:

Photo of georgian event space with tables all set

Planning Your theme & décor

From Masquerade to Vegas, to Somewhere Over The Rainbow and Under The Sea, coming up with a great theme takes time, research and organized execution. That’s why we suggest that you begin your brainstorming session by taking a look online at what themes other organizations have successfully delivered and by searching décor ideas on Pinterest.

Once your team agrees on a theme, make a list of all of the materials that theme will apply to – such as décor, marketing materials, invites and menu. From there, begin sourcing where you will be able to purchase or rent each of these items. Be sure to also verify you have access to the décor, props and specialty items (photo booths, etc.) you need before announcing your theme.

Fostering board and donor support

Giving events are all about award presentations, charity games, speeches and celebration. So, it’s critical that your fundraising or event board members are all on the same page and are ready to put in the hard work to support your event.

In other words, an engaged board makes for a successful fundraiser.

To encourage your team to work their hardest, be sure to equip them with the marketing materials and language they need to sell tickets, ask for auction items and request sponsorships. Also, don’t be shy to ask that they reach out to personal connections – the more sponsorship and donations, the better!

People sitting at a table brainstorming with post it notes

Food, food, food

Aside from the décor and funds raised, your guests are most likely to remember the quality of the food they were served. Therefore, it’s essential that the menu you provide offer a phenomenal and diverse dining experience.

At Georgian College, you’ll have access to select group catering, banquet style, reception, conference dining, barbeques or gala style dinners. Visit our dining page to learn more about our delicious options!

Leveraging updated technology

Don’t let poor connection and failing technology bring your event down. Talk to your event planning specialist to check that the venue is equipped to effortlessly connect your lighting systems, DJ booth, PowerPoint presentation, etc.

P.S. Double check everything – last minute tech errors are never good. At Georgian College, you can count on us to provide the AV and electrical equipment support you need.     

Entertainment and emceeing

An event emcee should be enthusiastic, a great public speaker and someone who is passionate about the cause. It is important to secure this individual’s participation well in advance of your event and to provide them with a script and timeline– to ensure organization and professionalism.

It is important to understand that there may be a cost involved with booking a celebrity or professional speaker and that they may have a rider that includes various specifications for food and drinks and/or their dressing room.


As for additional entertainment, you’ll need to decide if you will hire a band or DJ and what music you would like them to play. You’ll also need to consider any other entertainment features that may fit your theme – such as dancers, singers or acrobats. These individuals may also have riders.

Emcee with microphone and plaid shirt addressing audience

Recruiting and training volunteers

To recruit hard-working volunteers, reach out to those who have volunteered for you in the past and who have done a great job. It’s also a good idea to ask alumni, board members and family members to join your volunteering team – as they are likely to feel more connected and committed to the cause.

If you’re having a hard time finding volunteers, take your request to social media and to local high schools that have students in need of volunteer hours.

As for training, remember to never assign a task to a volunteer that is outside their comfort level or ability. Speak clearly, do a walkthrough of the event space and show each volunteer which area or game they are responsible for. If needed, print off handy instructions and contact information that they can keep close by if they run into any problems.

Roll of raffle tickets

Sending event surveys

A few days after your event ends, follow up with a feedback survey or email to thank your guests for coming and to ask for information on how you might improve the event in the following years. This not only shows your guests that you care about their opinion, but it’ll also help you to gauge the success of your event and make improvements moving forward.

Contact Georgian College to book your next event

No matter your event size or budget, contact us today to learn about our charity event facilities and catering options. Our professional and dedicated staff can help you to plan and execute your vision and drive your event goals forward.

In other words, we’re committed to being your go-to partner for your gala, board retreat, conference, workshop, charity fundraiser or other event.

Like you, we’re passionate about giving back, helping you to build our community and raising money for important causes.