Higher energy laser action in partially densified sol-gel glass, sol-gel glass composites and polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) doped with laser dyes is reported. Post-doping, in which the active dye is diffused into the densified porous sol-gel matrix, has been developed into an effective method for the impregnation of organic species. The sol-gel glass composite is formed by refractive index matching the porous sol-gel glass by impregnation with polymethylmethacrylate. This is achieved by in-situ polymerization of methylmethacrylate. This reduced optical attenuation from 0.7 dB/cm to 0.4 dB/cm. By formation of the composite the chemical environment of some dyes is improved. Laser performance is described for the dyes rhodamine 590, pyrromethene 567, and the perylene derivatives perylene orange (KF 241) and perylene red (KF 856), in the three solid state hosts when pumped with the second harmonic of a Nd:YAG laser. As a comparison, their performance is also described in solution. For laser performance, the best combinations of dye and host in terms of both efficiency and photostability were found to be rhodamine 590 in sol-gel glass and perylene orange in sol-gel glass/PMMA composite. Long pulse lasing has also been demonstrated with rhodamine 590 in sol-gel glass and sol-gel glass/PMMA composite and pyrromethene 567 in sol-gel glass, using a flashlamp pumped coumarin 504 dye laser as a pump source, emitting 3 microsecond(s) pulses at 504 nm. We also give the first report on de-oxygenated pyrromethene 567 doped sol-gel glass/PMMA composites. De-oxygenation improved the photostability of this dye in the composite by a factor of four.