Five Steps to Organizing a Benefit Fashion Show

If you’re looking for a flashier and more festive approach to raising funds than the usual banquet, you can try organizing a benefit fashion show. There’s nothing like the latest couture gowns, suits and power dresses to draw out the city’s A-list celebrities and personalities.

You’re sure to get maximum social and mainstream media exposure if you play your marketing cards right. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

1. Decide on a theme

Choose a theme that is tied to your cause. If you’re creating programs for nature conservation, for example, you can have the show center on eco-fashion or sustainable clothing. If you work with children, you can have kids walk the runway and create different segments to feature works from various designers.

Deciding on a theme early on will make it easier for you to plan the other details and decide which designers or stores to ask support from.

2. Assemble your team

You need six key people for a fashion show. These are the backstage manager, publicist, sponsor and clothes coordinator, show producer, model liaison and sales manager.

Each one will play a crucial role in the event and will be accountable to you, if you’re the main organizer. They should give regular updates and status reports to apprise you of developments.

3. Choose the venue

Models heading backstageLooking for a venue for a fashion show may be tricky and require placing several calls and doing ocular inspections. Corporate event venues in NYC offer the best acoustics, lights, stage, parking facilities, staging area, dressing room and more.

The size of the venue should be right for the kind of crowd you have in mind. If you’re mounting a high-end fashion show, you’ll want a venue that’s classy and elegant but edgy enough for a glamorous show.

4. Talk to designers and sponsors

Based on your event theme, make a short list of designers or clothing brands that you can tap for the fashion show. You can create sponsorship packages for local brands. Send out letters pitching your event at least six months ahead, so the designers can still create unique pieces for your fashion show.

It won’t be as exciting if your show will feature pieces that people have already seen—or worse, are available in stores. Some designers will offer the clothes for free, some will give a deep discount, while others can auction or sell the clothes on the show itself and donate the proceeds to the cause.

5. Put the glam team together

Give yourself at least two months to put together your models, stylists, dressers, makeup artists and stagehands. These are the people who will make sure the show delivers in its promise of fashion and glamour.

If you want more “wow” factor, you can invite one or two celebrities to walk the runway. They can be huge crowd-drawers and make donors reach for their checkbooks more readily.

When everything’s set, you can send out invites and announcements for the show a month ahead. You can already start selling tickets or tables and planning the food and drinks to serve. Start posting on social media and submit press releases to the media to announce your upcoming event. A fashion show may take months to plan and organize, so be sure that you give yourself and your team ample time to put it together.

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