In General

From capacity to technology integration, AV Chicago has suggestions to help you pick the right venue to support fundraising goals.

With Summer kicking off, nonprofits are already looking ahead and planning for one of the most significant times of the year: Fall gala season. With a large percentage of giving taking place within the last four months of the calendar year, many nonprofits look to kick off that season of giving with an impactful fundraising event that drives critical fundraising before the end of the year.

One key component to planning a fundraising gala is selecting the venue. With many organizations often using similar or, in some cases, the same venue, finding ways to help your event stand out from the crowd is crucial. The venue must also support your various AV needs, which, in turn, will further drive your fundraising efforts.

Below, we put together a few suggestions to help you pick your next gala venue, and maybe relieve a bit of that gala-planning stress.

Capacity & Layout

You will want to select a venue that comfortably accommodates your expected number of attendees and other event elements, including photo ops, silent auction items, and different points of engagement. An uncomfortable event space, or one that is difficult to navigate, will only drive your attendees to limit their time spent there, possibly reducing the amount they give to your organization. To ensure your messaging is impactful and presenters can be seen, check the venue’s sightlines, and if there are issues, discuss with AV Chicago the use of projection to improve and strengthen visibility of your important moments. AV technology can also enhance additional rooms or spaces outfitted to accommodate overflow guests, similar to what AV Chicago provided for the Chicago Neighborhood Awards, ensuring that all your guests have a similar experience. 

AV Structure and Equipment

When selecting a venue, assessing the current AV infrastructure, including audio systems, lighting, and projection capabilities, is critical. You know what they say – you never get a second chance to make a first impression. That’s why it is so important to ensure poor AV technology doesn’t distract or impact your ability to deliver your message and, in turn, affect your ability to raise critical funds. Take internet, for example. Reliable internet connectivity is a critical component for galas, ensuring various fundraising initiatives can be supported during the event, including paddle raises, online auctions, and text-to-give communications. Internet connectivity will also allow seamless live streaming, helping engage with hybrid attendees and enabling guests to share event experiences in real-time, creating additional buzz and support for your event. No matter the venue, AV Chicago can collaborate with you and help decide what is needed to pull off a flawless event. 

Lighting, LED, & Atmosphere

No matter your venue—whether it’s a hotel ballroom, an entertainment venue, a trendy club, or a transformative space that can act as a blank canvas—customizable lighting options allow you to enhance the visual impact, creating an ambiance your attendees will remember. Plan out how your lighting design ties into the placement and utilization of other AV elements, creatively enhancing your messaging. Custom gobo lights can be designed with your event logo or branding to add a unique visual element, or projection mapping can transform blank walls into further points of engagement that will leave your attendees’ mouths (and wallets) open. Also, when placed and utilized correctly, technology like LED displays can provide additional opportunities to share event branding and highlight sponsors supporting the event. 

On-the-Ground Technical Support 

Working with a partner like AV Chicago provides critical onsite support, including setup, operations, and troubleshooting. As with any live event, the chance for things to change or for problems to arise is entirely possible, so it’s essential to have contingency plans in place. AV Chicago plans for potential technology failures or issues, and comes prepared with backup equipment onsite if any problems arise. When it comes to the unexpected, you can expect AV Chicago will handle it.

Interested in learning more? Contact us today!