What is the perfect day to hold your fundraising event? That is an important decision, and one that needs careful consideration. There are 365 days and 52 Saturday nights in a year. A lot of groups do events on Friday, and Thursday nights, and some on other weeknights, and even Sunday. But we are talking about 75 days in a year that are ideal for fundraising, according to AmFund (The American Fundraising Foundation.)
For our purposes today we will use 2019. I know most of you have already picked your date for 2019, but the ideas here are relevant as you plan for future events.
AmFund actually analyzed the data, and for 2019 they said the busiest day for events was February 23. However, we disagree. For Kilbreath Auctions – our busiest day for inquires for spring 2019 has been March 9 & 30, April 27, and May 4.
One of the best things to do is establish consistency with your date. For example, one of our clients said her guests love knowing that every 3rd Saturday in October is when the gala will be held. The client said, it is just automatic for her guests.
When working with clients on picking dates for their biggest and most important fundraiser, the first thing we do is ask what is going on that day?
# 1 HOLIDAYS
Of course – 3 day weekends should be avoided: Labor Day, Memorial Day, President’s Day, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. And so should big family holidays such as: Christmas, Thanksgiving Weekend, New Year’s Eve and Day, 4th of July, and Halloween. Religious holidays are also something to consider. Especially holidays that change from year-to-year such as Passover and Easter.
Conversely, we have had auctions every Mother’s Day Saturday the last few years, and they have been very successful. We do tend to warn people about it though, just so they know. AmFund suggests NOT having events that weekend.
# 2 OTHER IMPORTANT DATES
Of course holidays are important to consider when planning your event, and probably that idea goes without saying. But there are other dates that may cause problems when you plan your event.
- The first week in January – holiday hangover
- Giving Tuesday – every organization in the world is trying to get money on that day
- The last two weeks in December – holiday parties, holiday shopping means donating is not front of mind
- The last two weeks in August – people are mentally checked-out because they are getting kids ready for school, and they are trying to finish summer with fun experiences
- Super Bowl weekend – toughest if your team has a chance of being in the big game, but you would be surprised by the amount of high-end donors that go the game
# 3 UNIQUE LOCAL EVENTS
Recently we had a former client who saw their numbers dwindle from previous years… Why? Because the auction was planned the same night as Homecoming in their community. The majority of their guests were parents at that school. We also have a client that doesn’t set their date until the local college football team puts out their schedule. Other things to consider… festivals, fairs, tree-lighting ceremonies, school events, and not just football games and homecoming, but graduation, or other events that will take away a large number of guests.
# 4 OTHER ORGANIZATIONS
There are a lot of non-profit organizations all competing for funding. In fact there are 1.5 million non-profits in the United States. There is no doubt other organizations will be raising money the same night you are. We guarantee it. So, of course you will be competing with other organizations. The key is to not compete against organizations that have the same guests as your event. If your group raises money for the homeless… then you should avoid having an event the same night another group is raising money for the same exact thing.