The very next night, Saturday night, I attended another gala which was the exact opposite, while it wasn't completely flawless it was a good example of a well-planned event.
It was held at a large hotel with several banquet rooms. They had escorts waiting to direct guests from every entry point. I came up through a self-parking garage elevator and even at this obscure entry point someone was there.
Registration was easy. I was a guest and even though my name didn't make the printed list, I was directed to their solutions area and they had my name on a secondary list.
Meal service was efficient, no waiting in line to tell someone whether I'd had chicken or a vegetarian plate like the gala the night before. When we sat down we were served. For folks that didn't eat meat, or had other dietary restrictions, requests were made right at the table.
I really liked the centerpieces. on the tables. The organization name was very prominent on a simple square base that the flowers sat on. There was a program booklet and the schedule of speakers and the evening's program was printed within it. The sound system was great. We could hear what everyone had to say.
Another stand-out during the evening was during their appeal for donations from the audience. They showed their progress in real-time on the screens. Donors names would pop-up and the emcee could call out a few names every so often as he geared up for the Live Auction. They only had 2 live auction items, which was smart. It didn't drag on.
Lastly, at the very end they had a choir perform and folks were encouraged to get up and dance at their seats or come closer to the stage where there was a little more room; not a dance floor, but enough room to dance with others. The evening ended on a festive high-note! We were literally singing as we left!
Overall it was a well-planned out evening. There were a couple of things that I noted that could have been better.
I had to walk around a bit then up an escalator to get to check-in only to have to walk down a flight of steps to get to their event area. Why not have check-in on the same level? There was definitely room for it on that level. As someone that works with organizations that have constituents that have mobility issues including being in motorized wheelchairs, this was not an ideal set-up.
The Live Auction had some scary moments - moments when the room was silent and you were afraid that folks might not bid. They eventually passed but boy were they tense! Unfortunately, I have experienced live auction that had items that no one bid on. It is not a good experience!! My suggestion is to always have the first donor for a live auction item identified and ready to get the bidding started. That does mean some advance leg-work by the committee.
Two nights of galas with very different take-aways. What are your thoughts about these two very different evenings.
Please share any comments!