Happy guests at a fundraising event will be more likely to donate and spread the word about the cause. From charitable benefits to celebrity galas, there’s a lot more than just filling the seats, you need to attract the right people and impress them the moment they arrive.

Recent figures reveal that overall giving grew 4.1 percent over the past year for the sixth consecutive year of growth. While it can feel like a lot of pressure, by following these tips, you’ll increase the odds that your fundraiser will help boost that growth even more.

The Venue

Choose your venue wisely, as it can make or break the event. Many types of fundraisers are hosted in basic ballrooms with standard lighting, round tables, and boring cuisine. For a more high-end, unique experience, incorporate unexpected items such as creative centerpieces, candles, fresh flowers, and beautiful table linens.

If you really want to go all out, choose a unique venue, maybe a museum, a cruise ship, an art gallery, or even an airplane hangar.

A Celebrity Host

One sure way to impress guests is by having a celebrity make an appearance. If they can host the event, even better. Their presence is sure to cause an almost immediate increase in awareness of your cause. Through their influence, it allows you to persuade those who may not have been interested in listening to what it’s all about.

When a celebrity supports a cause, people listen, and it adds credibility that can be especially helpful for something that isn’t as well known yet. While some may cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, it’s possible to hire stars like Damon Wayans Jr. and other stand-up comedians that can add humor and cred without an exorbitant price tag, thanks to booking apps that eliminate the middle man.

The Main Entertainment

While the host can entertain the crowd, you’ll also want to hire an act for the main entertainment. Think out-of-the-box, getting creative to make it especially memorable. It could be anything that can captivate the audience and get them talking about it for months or even years to come.

Depending on the size of the venue and other logistics, you might hire a tribute band or an up-and-coming local band. Or, add more of an element of surprise with performers like trapeze artists and aerialists, fire dancers, or an illusionist.

Themed Catering Menu

Your catering menu can be themed based on the cause as well. For example, if you’re raising funds for fair animal treatment, you might serve a vegan menu. Whether it’s an elegant buffet or a variety of street-style food trucks, the food you serve is likely to leave a lasting impression, whether good or bad, so think carefully on this one.

Don’t forget about the cocktails. You might create a signature cocktail with a name based on the cause and even serve them in glasses that are etched with a logo or a phrase related to it as well. People like to drink at galas and great beverages can even inspire them to donate. Of course, you’ll want to serve non-alcoholic beverages too.

Lighting and Decor

You don’t want the room to be too bright – it’s best to eliminate overhead lighting or use dimmers and then to give it a more elegant look add splashes of color with LED along with some string lights. Using copper, gold, and silver accents can elevate the space, along with fresh flowers, candles, and high-end, luxury tableware.