Best + Worst Times for Fundraisers
It’s one of the first things you’ll do when planning a fundraiser – select a date and time. Easy enough, right? It’s essential you choose wisely, as it’ll make a HUGE difference in how much money you raise.
Here are our guidelines for Best + Worst Times for Fundraisers.
Know Your Demographic
Who are you raising money for? When is convenient for them?
If it’s a school benefit, think Spring! Autumn isn’t ideal, since the school community is still settling into a new year and a new curriculum. (Autumn IS a great time for a casual meet-and-greet or ice cream social – something that is less labor-intensive to plan than a gala and doesn’t require as many vendors.) For a school auction, any time between February and May is optimal.
Is it a health org that you can tie to a national observance? For example, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. February is American Heart Month and National Cancer Prevention Month. It’s easier to market your event if you can link it to a nationally-known observance.
Plan Ahead. WAY Ahead.
No matter whom or what your event supports, it’s a good idea to pick a date at least a year in advance. This will give you time to secure your preferred date, venue, emcee, benefit auctioneer and the rest of your favorite vendors. Popular venues and benefit auctioneers often book a year to 18 months in advance – sometimes even longer. So set yourself up for success by finalizing contracts well in advance. Do some homework to ensure competing nonprofits aren’t hosting their fundraiser that same night. Contact major donors to verify they’re not otherwise engaged.
Avoid Holidays + No-School Days
Avoid dates that conflict with major religious holidays, like Easter, Yom Kippur or Ramadan. No point in trying to serve dinner to people who are fasting or can’t eat the food due to dietary restrictions. You might end up being perceived as culturally-insensitive, without even realizing it. Furthermore, people often have their own holiday traditions that they’d rather not forgo for a benefit. Even if they support your cause, it may not trump long-standing family traditions. If it’s a school benefit, make sure it’s not a no-school day (except weekends, of course). No-school days are distracting for parents, especially parents with young kiddos!
Fridays + Saturdays Only?
Not necessarily! Though many benefits do traditionally take place on Friday and Saturday nights, weeknights are steadily gaining in popularity and can offer some sweet deals on your favorite vendors, and venues and less event competition from other nonprofit orgs. Donors can enjoy some midweek philanthropy while preserving their weekend nights for their own hobbies and activities. Win. Win!
And don’t rule out Sunday! A Sunday late-morning or early-afternoon brunch can be wildly successful, especially if it becomes an annual tradition that your community of supporters looks forward to every year. Bottom line? There really is NO bad day of the week to raise funds and support for your good cause.
What’s the best time for YOUR fundraiser? Ask us. We’ve got more tips on how to catch donors at their high, so you can raise as much money as possible. Reach out today!