How Long Should Your Fundraiser Be? Desk close-up with cup of coffee, pen, calculator, and tablet with a calendar on it.

How Long Should Your Fundraiser Be?

Running a fundraiser for your school or organization requires a lot of careful planning, especially when it comes to the timing of your event. It can be difficult for group leaders to know just how long their fundraiser should be. If you set the deadline too early, you risk not having enough time to reach your goal but setting it too late could mean you’ll lose your momentum. To help ensure your fundraising event is a winner, here is what you should consider when planning the length of your fundraiser.

How long should your fundraising event be?

For many schools and groups, we recommend planning a short-term fundraiser that runs for 2-3 weeks. Research shows that traditional product and online fundraisers typically see a greater amount of activity over a shorter period of time (Cause Vox). This means that most of the orders you receive will happen within that 2–3-week window and extending your fundraiser past that is more likely to use up resources than it is to produce a greater number of donations.

Benefits a Short-Term Fundraiser

Keeps seller motivation high

If a fundraiser goes on for too long, your group members could lose interest and stop short of meeting their goals. A short-term fundraiser helps maintain a sense of urgency and encourages sellers to reach out to as many people as possible before the fundraiser ends.

Easy for customers to support a quick sale

A short fundraiser means a short turnaround time. From beginning to end, your fundraiser may only last a total of 5 weeks. This means your products will be ready for delivery only 2-3 weeks after customers have placed their orders, so there’s no lengthy waiting period.

Also, a short-term fundraiser encourages supporters to order sooner rather than later. With long-term fundraisers, customers may put off contributing because they feel they can always order later. This could lead to them forgetting to purchase from your fundraiser until it’s too late.

Allows for multiple campaigns a year

Hosting multiple fundraisers may be more beneficial to your group than hosting one long one. With two or three short-term fundraisers, you can target different groups in your community and take advantage of upcoming holidays or community events. It’s a good way to double your funds while avoiding fundraising fatigue.

How to Make the Most out of Your Short-Term Fundraiser

1. Start promoting the event early

Don’t wait until your fundraiser begins to start promoting it online and around the community. Start putting up posters or posting on social media roughly two weeks before your fundraiser is set to begin. This lets everyone know when your event is starting and gives them time to prepare.

2. Plan your start date

You must have a well-planned start date to help your sale get off to a good start. When planning your start date, consider what is going on in your community and the time of year. It could make a difference as to who can contribute to your fundraiser. If you’re getting ready to run a fall fundraiser, check out our post on the best times to start a fall fundraiser for more advice on picking a start date.

3. Set a firm end date

The end date is just as important to your fundraiser as the start date. Having a firm end date helps sellers stay motivated and encourages supporters not to procrastinate when it comes to donating. Keep everyone on track with frequent reminders about the last day of your event and how much farther you have to go to reach your goals.

There’s a lot to consider when deciding how long your fundraiser should last. Ultimately, there is no perfect number. You simply need to decide what will work best for your group and start planning. If you’re still not sure if the timing of your fundraiser is working, keep notes on how your previous fundraisers have gone and adjust from there. It’s a great way to learn how your event fits in with the community and how much time you need to meet your goals.

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