Special Events
Q&A on Winning a Gala Award

Q&A on Winning a Gala Award

Do you want insider secrets on winning a Gala Award? Here they are:

This year's competition is open to events that have taken place between Sept. 1, 2010, and Aug. 31, 2011. Events that place after Aug. 31 may be entered in next year's competition.

Some important tips to remember:

  • entries must be anonymous
  • only entry categories with dollar figure listed in the title must include a budget
  • entries created for the business and based primarily on donations (e.g., events at The Special Event, ISES) are not longer eligible

For the link to the official Entry Form and the official Gala Budget Template--both interactive PDFs--and instructions, click here.

To help you prepare your entry, here are some frequently asked questions:

Can an event company from anywhere in the world enter the Gala Awards?
Yes! We are honored to receive entries from Europe, North and South America, the Middle East, etc.

I am entering the category “Best Achievement in Logistics.” Do I need to include a budget?
No! Only categories with a dollar figure in the title need to include a budget. So, if you are entering "Best Floral Design," you do not need to include a budget. But if you enter "Best Wedding: Budget Under $1,000 Per Guest," you do need to include a budget.

If you do need to include a budget, be sure the use the Gala Budget Template so that you include all the line items the judges are looking for. The judges realize that not all entries will require each line in the template, but try to follow the template as closely as you can. You can download an interactive PDF of the Gala Budget Template by clicking here.

As a Gala Award entrant, should I make sure to keep my company’s name out of the descriptions in the entry?
Yes! In years past, the Gala Awards did not require anonymous entries, but the judges have decided this is important to preserve the integrity of the competition.

But what about my client's name--is it OK to have that name in the entry? (My client's name appears in decor, on the invitation, etc.)
Yes, it is OK if your client's name appears in the entry.

But I am an in-house event professional--I created the event for my own company. Is it OK that my company's name appears in the binder?
Yes, that's fine. The judges don't know if the in-house event professional or an outsider creates the event. Just remember to avoid referring to yourself as an employee of the "client" company.

What are some of the common mistakes I should avoid?

  • Social planners leaving the fee portion of the budget blank. Unless you put in the fee you charged or the percentage markup you took, it will look as though you did the bar mitzvah or wedding for free—and the judges won't believe it.
  • Putting every page of your entry on your company letterhead. Special Events staff will remove your referral letter and entry form to ensure your anonymity, but you need to avoid careless mistakes.
  • Failing to double-check your math on your budget. .
The entry form asks for entries to be supplied in three-ring binders, but my part of the world uses four-ring binders. Is that all right?
Yes.

Can I get my Gala entry returned to me?
No. All Gala entries become property of Special Events.

When are Gala entries due?
The regular deadline is Sept. 16 by 4 p.m. Pacific Time; the fee is $99. The special "late bird" deadline is Sept. 23 by 4 p.m. Pacific Time; the fee is $125.

Help, I still have questions! Whom can I contact for help?
You are welcome to e-mail questions here.

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