Most fundraising auctions are scheduled for Saturday nights. Friday is the second most popular day. But what about those other five days of the week? What’s the matter with them?
The truth is, you can have a successful benefit auction on any day.
That said, the day you select silent auction display ideas will convey a certain feel or expectation from guests. Here are some thoughts as to what a day might mean.
A Sunday afternoon auction must be a tea.
Auctions held over teas are nice in that (if it’s well-run) the event will stick to the schedule. These types of events are meant to be squeezed in after church and before Sunday afternoon commitments, so they need to be kept short and sweet.
Sunday and Monday events must mean that chefs are involved.
Auction events which involve local restaurant chefs often occur on Sunday or Monday. Because many restaurants are closed on Mondays, a chef’s weekend (if you can call it that, given the crazy schedules of chefs) begins sometime on Sunday. Selecting one of these days allows chefs greater flexibility to cook or serve at your auction.
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday lunches appeal to business-types.
Associations and other non-profits like this timeslot when they are targeting the business crowd. Guests arrive at the hotel … eat lunch … bid in the auction … and go back to work. It’s all business.
Mid Week (Tuesday Wednesday, and Thursday) auctions can be nice for foundations.
Corporate foundations and association expos tend to schedule auctions on these days. Oftentimes the auction will be in conjunction with a trade show, an awards gala, a user conference, or a golf outing for attendees. Timing could be during the day or at night.
Thursday night galas are the second-tier fundraisers.
“Second-tier” is not meant to be a derogatory term! It just means that these galas are traditionally smaller and haven’t yet established a strong footprint in their city. Not only does a Thursday night allow the non-profit to get better rental rates on venues, but it’s a strategy decision designed to boost attendance. For instance, whereas a larger gala might have the panache necessary to keep a guest from heading to the beach for the weekend, a smaller group must select a date in which many guests are less likely to be traveling — a Thursday night. Thursday night galas rarely clash with the big galas (which fall on weekend nights), they also avoid conflicting with school auctions, and they bypass competing with weekend activities of guests. Perfect, for them!
Friday and Saturday nights are your city’s “landmark” galas.
Friday night galas are common and usually only differ from Saturday night galas in the dress code, which is cocktail or business attire instead of formal. The reason for the less stringent dress code is that the charity realizes many business people will be arriving straight from a day at work.
The truth is that you can have a successful fundraiser on any day of the week, but it does make sense to consider what activities are taking place in your community so you don’t directly compete with another gala.