Fall is the busiest season for fundraising, and the success of your event could very well depend on when you start. Many groups want to start the year off right by being one of the first to have a fundraiser in the area. Others wait until closer to the holidays. So, when is the best time for you and your group to host a fundraising event? Here’s what you need to consider when scheduling the start of your fall fundraiser.
1. Is your group seasonal or year-round?
One thing to consider is whether your group is only active during the fall or all year. If you’re in a seasonal sport or club, it would be best for you to start fundraising at the beginning of the fall season. This way you have enough time to plan and raise the money you need for later in the year. If your group is together throughout the year, you have more flexibility in planning your start date.
2. What type of fundraiser are you hosting?
Are you running a fundraiser with a product people can use year-round? Or are you selling holiday favorites? What fundraiser you choose should factor into when you plan to start your event. People may not think to purchase wrapping paper in September, but it may be on their mind in late October or early November as they prepare for the holidays.
3. Who are your supporters?
Knowing who your supporters are will be a great help in determining the best time to start a fall fundraiser. If you’re expecting mostly parents and family members to purchase from your sellers, it may be best to wait until a few weeks after the beginning of the school year. This way, they’ve had time to recover from summer vacations, and it’s far enough away from the holidays that people may have more opportunities to support your cause.
4. Should you start your fundraiser at the beginning of fall?
As you’ve read, there are many benefits to starting your fundraiser sooner rather than later. Here are some more things to consider if you’re planning an early fall fundraiser.
By getting an early jump on things, you’ll miss the fundraising fatigue that can set in later in the season. As fall progresses, parents and kids get busier and might not have time to participate in another fundraiser.
On the downside, you’ll be competing with the busyness of the back-to-school season. Schedules are full with kids starting new classes, parents planning carpools, and families trying to fit in all the other community events that happen around this time. If you want to do an early fall fundraiser, make sure you are aware of the schedules within your community.
5. Should you wait until closer to the holidays?
While fundraisers that start earlier in the season statistically do better, according to Clay Boggess at Big Fundraising Ideas, there are several reasons for putting off your fundraiser until later in the year.
Waiting until later means you avoid the back-to-school rush. If there are a lot of groups selling in your area, it can be difficult to be the first one out, especially considering some groups start even earlier than August. If you can’t compete with that time frame, waiting may give you an advantage. Groups that sell in November and December can greatly benefit from the holiday season. This is when people do most of their shopping and are feeling charitable, so they may be more likely to support your cause.
However, many families travel for the holidays or have family traditions that would prevent students from participating in your fundraiser. Check with the kids and parents in your group before planning an event during this busy time.
There’s a lot to consider when planning the right start date for your fall fundraiser. Ultimately, you need to decide what’s best for your group and your community because every situation is different. In the end, there really is no bad time to host a fundraiser. If you pick a time that allows your group to engage with the community, and you put in the work to market your event, your fundraiser has every opportunity to be a success!