If you are looking for gala fundraiser ideas that will engage your guests with wildly unforgettable experiences, you've come to the right place! In this post, we'll go over 35 fun and unique gala fundraising theme ideas. We have you covered no matter what kind of gala theme you’re looking for, be it elegant or whimsical, fun or historical.
35 Gala Fundraiser Ideas to Try This Season
1. Blast From the Past
Celebrate a bygone era with decorations, music, and activities that evoke the spirit of that period at your gala fundraiser. Whether it’s a night at the sock hop or a night at the disco, this is a great gala fundraiser idea to capture the essence of nostalgia and transport your guests back in time.
2. Rock 'n' Roll Fever
Rock the house with a classic rock-themed gala fundraiser. Guests can dress in their favorite rock star attire and enjoy spirited music, activities, and decorations. It’s the perfect gala fundraising theme for those who love to groove to the classics.
3. Luau Night
For gala fundraisers with a tropical flair, consider hosting a luau night. Guests can delight in Hawaiian-themed food and drinks, as well as ukulele music and hula lessons. This gala fundraiser theme will whisk your guests away for a dreamy Hawaiian getaway (even if only for an evening).
4. Superhero Soiree
Your gala fundraiser will save the day when you host a superhero-themed soiree. Guests can dress as their favorite superhero (or villain) and dive into the themed decorations, like cityscape silhouettes and fog machines, games, and activities throughout the night. With this gala fundraiser theme, even your most mildest-mannered guests will feel like superheroes!
5. Stars of the Silver Screen
Indulge in the glamor and glitz of Hollywood with a movie star-themed gala fundraiser. Guests can deck out as their favorite on-screen character or celebrity and enjoy themed games, music, and decorations inspired by the golden age of Hollywood. Play iconic movie soundtracks to set the mood, host a red-carpet photo op to give guests a taste of the glamorous life, and let guests show off their trivia knowledge with a movie- or Hollywood-themed trivia contest. The possibilities are endless with a gala fundraiser this glitzy!
6. Ice Hotel Adventure
Take your guests on a journey to the far north with this Ice Hotel Adventure theme. Guests can wear either their sparkling best or bundle up and wear winter gear for the affair for a true cold-climate experience. Feature ice sculptures and dry-ice machines to add an icy ambiance, and use lights projected on the ceiling to give the feel of the Northern Lights overhead. Serve far-north specialties like smoked salmon bites or caviar on toast, or keep it simpler with pastries frosted in snowy shades or done up in designs like snowflakes and penguins. Whether you go all out with this gala fundraising theme or keep it streamlined, it's sure to give your guests a one-of-a-kind experience!
7. Color Me Happy
A bright-colors-themed gala fundraiser guarantees lots of smiles and laughter. Guests can dress up in their brightest colors and shine with equally bright decorations, music, and activities throughout the night. Treat your guests to an upbeat, colorful laser show with matching music, or a comedy night with local comic talent. Use rainbow-colored lights and waves of bubbles to create a happily surreal experience, and let guests finger-paint colorful designs with washable paint on a wall covered in paper. This gala fundraiser theme is sure to leave your guests feeling upbeat and cheerful.
8. Paint the Town
Turn your gala fundraiser into an art gallery with this fun, creative gala fundraising theme. Guests can dress as their favorite painting or art piece and participate in themed activities such as painting classes, sculpture building, and more. With this gala fundraiser idea, your guests are bound to paint the town red.
9. Casino Night
Hit the jackpot with a casino night-themed gala fundraiser. Guests can test their luck with themed activities such as blackjack, roulette, and more. With this gala fundraiser theme, every guest will leave a winner.
10. Out of This World
Reach for the stars with a stellar gala fundraising theme. Guests can appear in quirky intergalactic attire and explore cosmically-themed decorations, music, and activities. Hang lanterns made to look like planets or constellations around the space, and play ambient music to set the dreamy, far-off mood. You could even use music based on recordings of outer space! Top it off with the option to use an AR or VR headset to let guests feel as if they really are on the moon or Mars. This gala fundraiser idea will blast your guests out of this world.
11. Secret Garden
Recreate the beauty of the outdoors indoors with this gala fundraiser idea. Guests can dress for a proper stroll through a lovely garden, eat fresh foods, and take in floral-themed music, activities, and decorations, like fresh flower garlands and gentle fountains. Recruit some living statues for both unique decor and for fun photo ops, or lay out a proper high tea picnic on an artificial lawn to give guests a truly unique experience. A little wonder and a really beautiful setting is all you need for this gala fundraiser to burst into bloom!
12. Boots & Bowties
“Giddyup” for gala-fundraiser success with this western-inspired gala fundraising theme. Guests can dress in their biggest cowboy hats and Western-themed bowties to enjoy hoedown decorations, music, and activities. Hayrides, line dancing, and a spirited game of horseshoes are all on the menu for this fun fundraiser. Have trick ropers show guests some cowboy roping skills, and then let them try their own hand at roping fake “steers” made of hay bales. This gala fundraiser idea is sure to make all of your guests feel like they’re taking a trip back in time to the Wild West.
13. All Jazzed Up
Bring the heady sounds of jazz to your gala fundraiser with this unique gala fundraising theme. Guests can swing the night away in 1920s attire while enjoying jazzy music, activities, and decorations. Have a live jazz performance, complete with a dance floor, and serve classic cocktails in 1920s-style glasses to create an authentic ambience. Hold a vote or contest for the most spot-on costumes and attire, and host a photo op with props like saxophones, Capone-style gangster gear, or even a classic car! With this gala fundraiser idea, you’re sure to have a night filled with swinging tunes and smooth moves.
14. Grand Masquerade
Everyone enjoys a little mystery and intrigue, and guests at your masquerade-themed gala fundraiser will feel like Sherlock Holmes. Guests can don a whole new persona as they partake in themed decorations, music, and activities throughout the night. You can even affix a name of a well-known celebrity to guests’ backs as they arrive, so they have to chat with other guests to try to figure out who they “are.”
15. Wine Regions of the World
With this fun gala fundraising theme, guests can dress in their finest wine-country attire and enjoy themed decorations, music, and activities throughout the night. A night of tastings and tours will be certain to make your gala fundraiser a success.
Turn your gala fundraiser into an exciting safari adventure with this wild gala fundraising theme. Guests can wear zany jungle-inspired attire and enjoy themed decorations, music, and activities. Hold your event at a nature museum where guests can take pictures alongside authentic safari creatures, or use fog machines and plenty of greenery to give the impression of a misty jungle. Play exotic music that fits with the continent your safari takes you to, or punctuate the night with recordings of wild animal calls to really set the scene. With this gala fundraiser idea, you’re sure to have a night filled with exotic animals, thrilling adventures, and more.
17. Everything's Bigger in Texas
Tell guests to grab their largest belt buckles and polish their turquoise jewelry for a Texas-themed gala fundraiser. Within a ranch setting, guests can attend an authentic country cookout, dance to country music, and partake in activities–lasso contest, anyone?
18. New York, New York
Introduce the hustle and bustle of “The Big Apple” to your gala fundraiser with this gala fundraising theme. Guests can dress in their finest metropolitan attire and enjoy music, activities, and themed decorations. This gala fundraiser idea is sure to make all of your guests feel like they’ve stepped right into the heart of the city that never sleeps.
19. An American in Paris
The sights and sounds of Paris will add an air of sophistication to your gala fundraiser with this gala fundraising theme. Guests can take in the night adorned in French-inspired fashions and enjoy delicious French cuisine, themed decorations, music, and activities from the City of Lights. With this gala fundraiser idea, you’re sure to have a night of glamor and luxury that will make your gala fundraiser one that your guests will love.
20. Game Changers/Record Breakers
Celebrate the people who broke through barriers and changed the game with this gala fundraising theme. Guests can dress up as their favorite influential gamechanger from the past or present and immerse themselves in themed decorations, music, and activities, like a trivia contest about pivotal moments in history. This gala fundraiser idea will thrill guests as they recognize and learn more about some of the most influential people from history.
21. Alice in Wonderland
Up is down when guests adventure down the rabbit hole at this gala fundraiser. Guests dress as characters from Alice in Wonderland and marvel at trippy decorations, strange (yet delicious) refreshments, and mind-bending activities. With this gala fundraiser idea, your guests will have a night of surreal fun.
22. Global Adventure
Trot the globe with this gala fundraising theme. Encourage guests to dress as someone from a place they want to visit or a foreign land they personally connect to. Top off the event with globally-themed decorations, music, and activities. With this gala fundraiser idea, you’re sure to have a night filled with cultural experiences that will make your gala fundraiser memorable.
23. Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
Highlight the wonders of ancient civilizations at your gala fundraiser with this gala fundraising theme. Guests can dress up as adventurers exploring new places or as dignitaries from ancient lands and enjoy themed decorations, activities, and music. Serve food and drinks known to be popular in the ancient world, such as stuffed grape leaves to represent Greece, and hold a scavenger hunt around a multi-roomed venue with each room decorated as a different Wonder. With this gala fundraiser idea, you’re sure to have a night of exploration and mystery guests will talk about long after the event is over.
24. Under the Sea
“Everything’s better under the sea,” including this gala fundraising theme. Guests can arrive dressed as mermaids, sea creatures, surfers, or anything else ocean-related. Of course, don’t skimp on the themed decorations, music, and activities! Guests can sway to the rhythms of a steel-drum band or watch hula dancers perform. Hula dancing lessons or simulated surfing are also fun ideas to keep them entertained!
25. Classic Carnival
Boot up the cotton candy machine and break out the confetti for a carnival-themed gala fundraiser. Guests can dress up in their finest fairgoer duds and take in the sights, sounds, and smells of a classic carnival. This gala fundraiser idea will make your guests feel like kids again.
26. Board Game Bash
Board games add lots of friendly competition and excitement to this gala fundraiser theme. Guests can dress up as their favorite board-game characters to add extra zest to this night of revelry as they enjoy themed decorations, music, and activities throughout the night. Aside from just playing their favorite board games, perhaps with an enticing prize for the winners, guests can pose with giant versions of the paraphernalia from classic games, such as the playing pieces from Monopoly, for a surreal photo op. Top it off with fun snacks, such as a custom cake decorated like a game board, or childhood game-night favorites, like caramel popcorn, for a nostalgic treat. With this gala fundraiser idea, your guests will stay engaged and connected until the very last dice roll.
27. Country Hoedown
A country hoedown works as a great theme for a gala fundraiser. Guests can dress in their showiest western threads to hoot, holler, and do-si-do their way through the night. With this idea, you will surely have an evening of line dancing and good old-fashioned fun.
28. Kentucky Derby
Bring the excitement of the Kentucky Derby to your gala fundraiser with this gala fundraising theme. Guests can dress up in their finest derby attire, complete with the eye-catching hats the Derby is famous for, and enjoy themed decorations, music, and activities for a night of friendly competition and race-inspired fun. For a silly twist, hold a stick-horse race and let guests bet on their favorite “horse” with tokens that can be cashed in for prizes. Serve the classic Derby drink, mint juleps, and hold a “big hat” contest with prizes and awards for the biggest, the most colorful, or the most creative hats. Guests will be racing to attend your event with a fun gala fundraiser idea like this!
29. "Double Dare" Game Show Night
Travel back to the 90s with this gala fundraising theme. Guests can dress up in competition-ready “Double Dare” outfits and enjoy themed decorations, music, and activities for a night of physical challenges and mess-making.
30. Tropical Getaway
Bring the beach to your gala fundraiser with this gala fundraising theme. Guests can dress up in their favorite beach-wear or island-inspired clothes and enjoy the sounds, sights, and smells of the islands during a night of Caribbean vibes. Take this theme all the way with a classic pig roast, if you have the space, and a live Carribean-style band. Host a limbo contest with prizes for those who can go the lowest, let guests relax in beach chairs instead of standard seating, and serve fruity drinks with little umbrellas to top off the beachy experience.
31. Trivia Challenge
Test your gala fundraiser guests’ knowledge with this gala fundraising theme. Guests can pit their knowledge against each other and have a night of healthy competition, big laughs, and new memories. Don’t forget the themed decorations, music, and activities for a night of true trivia fun. Stock up on prizes not just for the guests who get the most answers right, but those with the most creative answers, or even those who got the most wrong, to keep things interesting. Have the presenters dress up in glitzy outfits, Jeopardy-style, and don’t forget the dramatic music and sound effects for a truly memorable night!
32. Sweet Treats Night
Indulge your guests with this tasty gala theme. Guests can dress up as anything related to baking and sweets: chefs, food critics, restaurateurs, or even the treats themselves! Provide plenty of sweet treats, as well as themed decorations, music, and activities for a night of delicious desserts. Invite a pastry chef to help guests create delectable treats or show off some fancy cookery skills, and raffle off some truly special sweets or host a cake walk where the treat guests get is entirely by chance. Guests will make lots of sweet memories and get to try some awesome desserts with this gala fundraiser idea!
33. Culinary School
Bring gourmet to your gala fundraiser with this gala fundraising theme. Guests can come dressed as their favorite celebrity chefs and compete in high-spirited culinary fun. Round out the night with themed decorations, music, and activities for an evening of culinary exploration. Arrange a visit, in person or virtually, with a celebrity chef, and have them give your guests a little cooking lesson! Or hold your own version of “Iron Chef” where guests have the chance to pit their cooking skills against each other in some good-spirited competition. You can even provide aprons or smocks and chef’s toques for guests to wear and really seal the deal on their culinary school experience!
34. Night at the Museum
Take your gala fundraiser back in time with this gala fundraising theme. Guests can dress up in their finest red-carpet attire and explore a local museum after-hours or simply enjoy themed decorations, music, and activities for a night of history-themed fun. Have a screening and a trivia contest for one of the "Night at the Museum" movies and the historical figures and facts it discusses, with plenty of antiquity-themed prizes. Have staff or actors dress up as famous historical figures who could be found in museums and take pictures with guests - you could also do this with “living statues” for an element of surprise!
35. Best-Dressed Pets
Bring the joy of pets to your gala fundraiser with this gala fundraising theme. Guests can dress up their feathered or furry friends and hold a paw-sitively adorable fashion show or get gussied up in their finest animal-inspired attire themselves. Top it all off with themed decorations, music, and activities for a night of pet-themed fun- dog-biscuit-shaped cookies for humans, anyone? Don’t forget the snacks and drinks for the TRUE furry friends in the audience! Let guests walk a red carpet with their pets and provide a fun photo opportunity, and give awards for categories like “most creative costume” or “pets who look most like their owners”. You’re sure to have a barking good time with this fundraiser idea!
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