By: Erin Williams, Fundraising Auctioneer and Consultant 

Our team is seeing a trend towards weekday fundraising events. While there are pros and cons to everything, we think there is a very strong argument for why this may be something to consider. Let’s weigh a few out together now! I supported an event in Chicago recently on a Thursday evening. Not only did they achieve their fundraising goals, but it was fun, mission focused and everyone was homeward bound by 10pm.  

In the spirit of positivity let’s begin with the pros:

  1. A weeknight event, Thursdays for example, may give your donors more flexibility to attend your event. Let’s face it, there is a lot of competition for our attention on weekends and offering a weeknight event may eliminate barriers keeping donors from attending. 
  2. Discounted venue options. At many venues you’re paying the premium price on a Friday or Saturday simply because of the demand for weekend events. By hosting your event on a weeknight you likely give yourself negotiating power. 
  3. An opportunity to offer your donors a different experience than a traditional seated meal at a round 10 top with a program. A weeknight event could allow you to get creative with entertainment while still keeping the evening mission focused. 
  4. If getting the right people in the room has been a challenge for your event. Offering it on a weeknight may discourage attendees who are only coming for the socialization or fun times.  

Now let’s consider a few cons:

  1. Consider your donor demographics. While for some a weeknight event might eliminate barriers keeping some donors from attending, for others it may create barriers. For example, for donors with school age children attendance may take more planning.  
  2. While the evening’s entertainment should not be the focus of your fundraising event, some groups do a good job of maintaining balance and their donors really look forward to a particular form of entertainment. Hosting your event on a weeknight could cut the entertainment short leaving your donors feeling disappointed even after a successful night of fundraising. 
  3. Traffic and other travel challenges will almost always be a barrier no matter what day you host your fundraising event. But for some donors who maybe commute to their job, the 5 o’clock traffic is just too much to battle immediately after work.  

What are some other pros and cons of hosting your fundraising event on a weeknight? I’d love to hear from you and discuss! Please feel free to reach out to me or any of our Raising Paddles auctioneers with questions or to share your experiences.