A group of ladies sat around a table smiling. 2 of the ladies are wearing novelty green glasses.

Organise a ball or gala

Raise money for Macmillan in style and get together for a glitzy charity ball or gala.

Planning a charity ball or gala takes more time and preparation than a smaller event. But it will all be worth it to raise valuable funds to support people living with cancer. Let us help you plan your event.

When you register your event

You get helpful tips and advice
Receive ideal tips and advice for your type of event.
Lets us know you are supporting Macmillan
We love hearing how you’re supporting us, so please share your story.
You get fundraising support
Our team can help you reach your target by offering tips, advice and support by phone.

Planning your ball

  • Find your dream team of helpers: for an event of this size, delegation and teamwork are essential and will make organising your ball a lot easier.
  • Choose your date: pick a date far enough ahead that gives you plenty of time to figure out all the details of your ball or gala dinner.
  • Book your venue: think about choosing and confirming a venue for your ball as soon as possible. Hotels, town halls, marquees or even school facilities can sometimes be hired for events such as balls and galas. Let the venue owners know you’re organising a charity event and they might give you a discounted rate! When booking your venue, consider the size, location and other events happening nearby. Is there enough parking or access via public transport? It's also a good idea to fill in a risk assessment so you are aware of any health and safety considerations.
  • Work out your ticketing: will the price of the ticket to your ball include all food and drink? How many tickets will you need to sell to make sure the event raises money? You could sell tickets individually or offer a discounted rate on booking a table for a group at your ball.
  • Find your suppliers: it’s a good idea to book suppliers like caterers, photographers and bands far in advance. Think about using your network and contacts to find suppliers who might give you a good deal for their services!
  • Set a fundraising target: this is a great motivation for you and your team. It also encourages your supporters to give a little more as you edge closer to your goal.
  • Invite guests: think about who you you want at your ball.
  • Advertise and promote your event far and wide: get some tips for promoting your event to make sure you fill up your tables/venue.

On the night of your ball

  • Brief your volunteers: put your team of amazing volunteers to work! Give everyone a job they are comfortable with that uses their skills. Jobs could include selling raffle tickets or welcoming your guests.
  • Give a speech: you could prepare a short presentation on why you’ve chosen to support Macmillan and the impact of your guests' donations. At the end of the event, take the opportunity to announce the amount you have raised and thank everyone for their support.
  • Extra entertainment: organise surprise entertainment such as a table magician, choir or something else you think your guests will enjoy.
  • Keep it safe and legal: make sure your guests all know where the fire escapes are. If you need clearer signs, you can print off posters and place them around the venue. Find out more about keeping your event safe and legal.

Top tips to maximise your fundraising

  • Sell tickets ahead of your ball: that way if someone can’t make it on the day, they’ll have already made their donation.
  • Hold a raffle: an easy way to boost your fundraising total on the night is to organise a raffle and sell tickets at each table. There are strict rules around raffles so read our guidance.
  • Set up an online giving page to collect donations: having an online giving page means that anyone who can’t attend the event can donate anyway (plus these donations are eligible for Gift Aid).

Gift Aid at your event

You cannot claim Gift Aid on ticket sales for your ball or gala dinner. This is because by attending the event, your supporters are getting a benefit in return for the ticket price. Gift Aid can only be claimed on personal, voluntary donations.

However, you will be able to take advantage of Gift Aid in some form, whether this is by collecting extra donations on the night, or by asking for a suggested donation instead of a set ticket price. Find out more.

If you need more advice on how to collect Gift Aid at your event, please contact our friendly team on 0300 1000 200 or email fundraising@macmillan.org.uk.

After your ball

  • Make sure you count, record, and bank any funds raised on the night as soon as possible. Find out how to pay in your donations.
  • Send a short press release about the success of your event to your local media outlets.
  • Thank your brilliant team of helpers, suppliers and any businesses who supported your ball or dinner.