The “Right” Date
Selecting a date for your fundraising event or a week for a fundraising drive can be a frustrating task. You'll need to factor in numerous variables, including holidays and the availability of key players in the organization. In addition, you will need to consider what time will draw the most attendees or attract the most donors. While you are at it, check the calendars of other nonprofits so you can avoid competing events — no matter how different the events may be.
Seasons to Watch
The peak times of year for fundraisers are typically in the spring and prior to the end-of-year holiday season. The spring affords you good weather and lets you get your activity in before the end of the school year and the start of summer. The holiday season is a time of giving, and also ends the tax year for individuals who are looking for an extra tax writeoff. People may be more receptive on the phone or by mail as the holidays approach. On the other hand, it is also the time in which thousands of other fundraising campaigns are in effect, so there is more competition.
Start by choosing dates that allow your group or organization enough time for proper planning. The bigger the undertaking, the more time you are likely to need. One nonprofit that hosts a gala where auction items are donated by professional sports stars — and where the sports celebrities themselves attend — spends a year planning the event to iron out all of the details.
Obviously, you will want good weather when planning a carnival or golf tournament. However, you may also need to consider factors such as hay fever and allergy season. Of course, if the premier golf course in the area can give you a specific date free of charge, you may abandon many of your other considerations — but not all. Don't take a date if it really won't serve your purpose. After all, you can play on any golf course in the Northeast in December, but you probably wouldn't want to — although being unique sometimes works. One school held a very successful beach party in January; they just imported sand and held the event in the gymnasium.