Here’s my challenge: can you turn your fundraising event into a lovely, fabulous party – maybe even the best party in town???!!

If you do – then you’ll raise more money, spread more buzz, gain more visibility for your mission and build greater community support.

You can capture so more attention in your community by making your gala, auction, or celebration into an amazing “party” – one that everyone wants to attend.

Party Tip #1: Make it a Party!

We fundraisers find ourselves in the hospitality business often, but we forget this.

So let’s learn how to be terrific hosts and give our guests a special experience.

Today’s post shares my Top 10 Tips for a Terrific Party – one that can be the best party in town.

These tips work whether you are staging a grand gala for 500 guests – or a private party in your home. They work for any social gathering at all.

Here’s how to throw a party that your guests will love.  Here’s how to throw a party that can raise visibility and tons of money too.

Party Tip #2: Greet ALL Guests Warmly.

Be sure to have a welcome committee right there at the front door. Give board members this job.

Don’t let your guests wander in by themselves, wondering what to do with themselves.

I think that how people are greeted right at the beginning helps set up a happy experience for them immediately.

Party tip #3: Offer Abundant Food and Drink.

People really do want something to eat and drink.

That’s an important part of the hospitality experience.

You don’t have to have fancy elaborate food – but you do want the food and drink to feel abundant – like you really care about your guests.

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Be a good host if you want to have the best party in town!

And make food and drink accessible. No long lines!

Party Tip #4 Invite Younger Guests

I like to have all ages of guests at my events.

I find that older people – and yes – older VIP’s – enjoy so much being around younger people.

It’s fun to have all ages, and have a mix of demographics. It livens things up!

Consider giving younger people a special role such as hosts and hostesses, a greeting committee,  or promoting raffle tickets.

Sometimes that makes them feel more comfortable, since they have something assigned to do.

Party Tip #5 A Great Party has Low Light

It’s important to create a sense of ambience for your party.

If the overhead lights are blazing, it just feels like mid-day out on the street.

Turn down the lights to create a sense of enclosure, intimacy and fun.

Bright overhead lights can kill the party.

Party Tip #6 The Best Party in Town has a Good Venue

Nothing is worse than a venue that is too large for your crowd.

If your guests are huddled in one corner of a very large space, there’s not enough “enclosure” to create a sense of a party.

Instead the energy dissipates.

I’d much rather have a space that’s too small for my guests.

When everyone is slightly crowded together, you feel like everybody in town is there and that something is really happening!

Party Tip #7 When To Use Background Music

Your goal with your party is to create a sense of energy, excitement and fun.

Music can be an important component – but I am talking about background music that is not too loud.

My suggestion is to TURN UP the music at the beginning so that there’s energy in the air.

You want it to feel like a party is really happening right where people arrive.

Then turn it down when a lot of people arrive. They can create happy noise of their own.

Party Tip #8 Get Your VIP’s To Attend

So many people ask me – how do I get my VIP’s there?

My answer is to make it special for your VIP’s.

Tell them you have a certain place for them to sit, and you have some interesting people for them to meet.

But my favorite idea is to get a Party Van and go around and actually pick up some of your VIP’s to take them to your event.

What fun! How special for them!

Party Tip #9: Control the Program

Wow, how many times have we seen programs spiral out of control?

Speakers start droning on and on. There goes the party – as guests wonder how fast they can leave.:(

So you must, must, must control your program.

Use an emcee to introduce people and gently cut them off if they go on too long.

Remind every single speaker to be “charming and brief!”

Party Tip #10 Give Board Members Jobs To Do

Often board members themselves are not sure what their role is at an event.

So give them an assignment to be hosts: Their job is to make all  guests feel comfortable and welcome.

They can serve on the host committee at the front door.

Or they can take on general host duties – such as eliminating wallflowers.  If a guest is standing alone, a board member can go over and have a friendly chat with him or her.

You can also assign board members to VIP’s and make sure your special guests are enjoying themselves.


Turn YOUR own fundraising event into the best party in town, and you’ll be able to break fundraising records. I promise!

What are YOUR favorite party tips? Leave a comment and let us know!