A society dance held to raise funds for charity. Often an important part of the social season, as wealthy folk feel better about their wasteful extravagance if some of the money is going to the deserving impoverished or suffering people. If it's less formal, it may be combined with a BachelorAuction, and often there will be a "theme" such as "Casino Night" (less dancing and more gambling, with all the house profits going to the charity).

A very common twist in fiction is for criminals to attempt to steal the proceeds; this was almost the entire use for charity balls in {{Pulp Magazine}}s and [[UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks Golden Age]] ComicBooks. In aid of this, the Charity Ball may also be a MasqueradeBall to make it easier for the crooks to infiltrate.

In romance plotlines, it's a chance for the heroine to see some [[NiceToTheWaiter important personality traits]] of her prospective love interests.

A subtrope of DancesAndBalls. Compare FundraiserCarnival.
!!Examples in fiction:
* Creator/MarkTwain once wrote a spoof newspaper article about the proceeds of a charity ball being diverted from wounded Union soldiers to a pro-miscegenation society. It was very poorly received.
* ''Film/ShallowGrave'': Cameron is mocked at one of these.
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold'': ComicBook/ThePhantomStranger takes Franchise/{{Batman}} back in time to witness Bruce Wayne's parents attending one.
* ''Film/BatmanAndRobin'' had one too.
* There was one of these on ''Series/TheMentalist'' to raise funds for the CBI.
* The Casino Night variation appeared in Creator/TimBurton's ''Film/{{Batman}}''.
* ''Film/TheMask'' with Jim Carrey, also had Casino Night.
* There was an episode of ''Series/{{Castle}}'' where the main cast went to a charity ball in order to track down the murderer of the week.
* ''Film/GoneWithTheWind'' has Scarlett O'Hara scandalously go to one (despite being a recent widow) raising money for the Southern cause. There is where she reconnects with Rhett Butler.
* ''{{Series/Frasier}}'' features them semi-regularly, usually because Niles, Maris or both are involved.
* Repeatedly in the ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'' comic books, since Bruce Wayne is a wealthy playboy, and the series started at the tail end of the Great Depression.
* ''{{WesternAnimation/Futurama}}'': "The Mutants Are Revolting" features a charity ball for a mutant scholarship program.
* The characters on ''Series/GossipGirl'' frequently attend these.
* ''Series/GeneralHospital'' has a perennial Nurses' Ball, which has picked up Real Life sponsors in later years.
* Jedi in ''Roleplay/TheGunganCouncil'' that end up hosting the Yule or Masquerade ball usually turn the dance into this.
* ''Vandalizing Valhalla'', a short piece of {{machinima}} made with ''VideoGame/TheMovies'', is about two criminals competing to rob a charity ball before the other. In the end [[spoiler: they're both killed by its socialite organizer.]]
* Creator/DaveBarry mentioned these once, along the lines of "Charity Ball To Fight Gout" sounding better in headlines than "Rich People Amuse Themselves".
* In ''Literature/{{Relativity}}'' there's a charity ''carnival.'' As usual for these kinds of stories, a bad guy shows up.
* The casino variant (used to get funds for Springfield Elementary) is used on the opening scenes of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' episode [[Recap/TheSimpsonsS15E3ThePresidentWorePearls "The President Wore Peals"]] (y'know, the one which parodies ''Film/{{Evita}}''). Things go belly-up when the adults discover that the "casino" does not provides cash prizes (Martin sent out ads saying this well in advance, but nobody bothered to read them) and [[PowderKegCrowd then burst into a riot]].
* In the ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' episode "Safe Space", a group of celebrities organize a charity ball to promote awareness for online shaming. The living embodiment of Reality crashes the ball and calls out the very concept, saying that only $300 was raised while the celebrities spent half a million to treat themselves.