No matter what time of year it is, a fashion show can be a popular fundraising event. It’s fun for the people involved in putting it on, for the models walking the runway, and for everyone who comes to see it, especially if they’re watching friends and family members strutting their stuff.
It’s also a great way to get your organization’s members, and the community, involved for a good cause. The more people you can get to help out, the better, because a fashion show fundraiser takes planning and work to pull off successfully.
Start planning several months in advance. You’ll need time to line up participants, volunteers, and vendors to provide the fashions being displayed. Several things need to be taken into consideration. Follow these steps, and your fashion show fundraiser is sure to be a success.
The theme you choose will set the tone for the entire show, and will be a factor in subsequent decisions. Themes can be based on seasons or holidays. If your group’s members are willing to get creative and do a bit more work, put on an imaginative show of futuristic fashions. Or feature baby and kid fashions. Once you’ve chosen a theme, you can move on to the actual planning.
The ideal location would have a stage with a catwalk, space for an audience, and a dressing area behind it all. Unless you’re in New York or Los Angeles, this may be difficult to find. An auditorium with a stage can work just as well. Have your models simply walk across a stage, pausing front and center to allow the audience a good look at the fashions on display. A local theater may even have actual dressing rooms where the models can change. If not, a few makeshift dressing areas separated by curtains and rods will be fine. Whatever venue you decide upon, be sure to book it in advance. You’ll also want to confirm how many people the location will accommodate so you know how many tickets to sell.
This is where the bulk of the funds you raise will come from. Keep your demographic in mind when setting a ticket price. If you live in a large city, the ticket price can be a bit higher than if you live in a small town. Have the members of your organization sell tickets at work, school, church, and anywhere else they may find themselves on a regular basis. Be sure to determine a refund policy beforehand. Some people may buy tickets early, and then be unable to attend. The more notice you can give the community through advertising, the better chance everyone has of sticking to a commitment to attend.
Advertising options range from the simple, such as word of mouth, and printing and posting fliers, to the more complicated, such as paid print advertising, and working with a local TV or radio station. Find out if anyone in your group is artistic or has any graphic design experience, and ask them to design a flier. These can be posted in public places, and you can ask businesses if they mind displaying them in their stores. Be sure that any businesses participating in the fashion show are also publicizing it. Call the local TV and radio stations, and the newspaper, and ask them to publicize and cover your event. If your organization is able to pay for advertising, take out an ad in the newspaper. And if your group has a website, be sure to include details of your upcoming fundraiser on the home page.
You can’t have a fashion show without the fashions, right? Talk to local clothing store owners to see if they’re willing to donate items in exchange for the publicity. Some groups who put on fashion show fundraisers even charge vendors a fee to have their clothing included in the show. It’s up to you whether you want to go that route. Either way, ask the vendors to provide coupons for ticket buyers. After they’ve seen the clothes in action, they may want to copy those looks themselves. Here’s an important tip: Have the models wear bike shorts and sports bras for quick changes, and to keep their modesty intact with so many people working backstage. This also reduces the chances of any wardrobe malfunctions ruining the show.
This is where the community can really get involved. Ask members of your own group to volunteer first. Then, if you still need models, open it up to the community. Post a request on a local college’s bulletin board. Ask fellow parents at school, or members of your church. If you’ve decided to go with a baby fashion theme, there should be no shortage of parents who want to show off their babies in cute clothes.
In addition to the clothes, the models will need shoes, at a minimum. Other nice touches like jewelry, scarves, or other accessories will complete the show. If the vendors providing the clothes don’t offer accessories, try to work with a few other stores that do.
There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work to be done for a fashion show. You’ll need people to sell tickets, put up fliers, decorate the stage, set up dressing areas, play music during the show, and help the models change outfits. Most importantly, you’ll need an emcee to describe the clothing as the models walk the stage. If there aren’t enough people in your group to handle all the duties, branch out into the community. Ask family, friends, and coworkers to help out.
After everything is planned and put in place, remember to have fun!