How to organise a gala dinner

Our ten top tips for a cracking event

Gala dinners can be a great way to raise money, have a fantastic event and do something amazing for men with prostate cancer. We know hosting a whole dinner can be a big project. So why not get your mates on board and get planning together?

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1. Know your audience

So who are you going to invite? Close friends? Friends of a friend? All your group members? Everyone in the world and their dog? Whether you’re thinking big or small, know who you want to invite (and who you think will actually come along!). The number and type of people coming will be all important when you’re picking a venue, what entertainment you’d like to put on, how you’ll fundraise and how you want to tell people about it.

2. Choose your date

So, you know who you want to invite but not when’s it going to be? Get out the calendar and check out those school holidays, faith holidays and festivals. Plus, we all live in the UK and the weather sometimes isn’t friends with us, so take that into consideration when choosing a date.

3. Make a plan

We know menu tasting and looking at invitation design is always the best bit, but make sure those vol-au-vents don’t distract you from everything else. We love a good project plan, and it doesn’t have to be fancy (even if your invitations are): just put down everything that needs to be done and when you need to do it. We promise this will become your best friend (and make sure you get some sleep at night!).

4. Set your budget

Money... money... money. Raising money. That’s why we’re here and you're reading this. So make sure you set a budget and stick to it. Then you can make as much money as possible. Once you know how many people are coming, get that project plan out, add a budget plan of your costs and then set a ticket price per head to cover these. Sorted.

5. Give your guests plenty of time to reply

Next weekend? Oh no, I can’t do next weekend. These are words you don’t want to hear, so get your invites out at least four months ahead of the event with a good old RSVP. You will get a better response and you can then gauge your numbers.

6. Fundraising rules

Now there are certain regulations in place around activities like lotteries and raffles. So if you’re planning on holding an activity like this at your dinner make sure you check out the rules and regulations. The best place to look on the Institute of Fundraising's site.

7. Maximise your fundraising

Imagine what it would be like if a local business sponsored the event in exchange for an advert in your programme? Well, don’t just imagine - get asking! Plus local businesses, family and friends could donate raffle and auction prizes too. And we can send you our letter-headed paper if you want that extra bit of va va voom. Please get in touch with us at

8. Get creative

Have you got a colour theme? What do you mean you’ve been too busy eating vol-au-vents? Well, you'd best start ordering your Prostate Cancer UK materials to make your venue look the part.

Looking for an entertainer? Maybe you’ve got a friend who could entertain your guests (and would do it for free – money money money, remember)?

Spread the word!

Put posters up in your local community, get on Facebook and Twitter and get your local press involved. We can provide you with our template press release and send you contact details of your local press (just email us at

But don’t forget to tell us how you’re getting on – send us your updates @ProstateUK on Twitter!

10. Help is at hand

If you need some guidance just get in touch, we’re here to help. Please contact and we’ll be there all the way.

Lastly, always remember to be SMART. But - 'I am smart,' you say?

Well make sure you’re Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time bound with everything you’re doing. It’ll make your event a massive success.

Good luck and looking forward to hearing all about it!

Tell us about your plans