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Picking the right date for your auction
By: Mary Bliss McCrossen ~ 8/25/2010

Picking the right date for your auction


Our clients often ask us what the “best” time for an auction is.

Fall or Spring? Saturday or Sunday? Day time or evening?

Our answer is: Anytime.

This answer is often confusing for many clients. How can “anytime” truly be a good time for an auction? Well, it all depends on your audience….

Is your guest list full of 20-30 somethings?
-Best Season: Late spring or early summer is always great for this crowd because the promise of sunny days is coming up but no one’s leaving town for vacations and weekend camping trips yet.
-Best Days & Times: Friday or Saturday night may be your best bet because this group likes to go out on the town and tends to stay out later than others. But, really, any day would work for this festive crew!

How about the over-40 crew?
-Best Seasons: Summer and winter are both good choices. Spring and fall are very busy seasons for fundraising and events, so summer and winter offer the least amount of competition for this typically generous group of people.
-Best Days & Times: In the summer, choose a weekday evening  because many people leave town on the weekends during the warmer months. Sundays would also be okay (starting in late afternoon/early evening) because it would give them a chance to vacation on Friday and Saturday and get back to town in time for your event. In winter, weekends are always best, but it makes no difference whether it’s Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, so choose the day with the least conflicts with other similar events.

Is your targeted crowd made up of parents with young children?
-Try a “Family” night mini-auction on a Friday with a follow-up “adults only” auction on a Saturday night. These options are great for schools, churches, and other family-oriented organizations. You may even want to offer offsite group childcare options to make it easier on your guests.

Are you planning a School Auction?
-Be sure to plan around vacations and school events. It might also be helpful to plan around other area school auctions or events, just in case there is any overlap.
-Best Season: Fall is a great time for a school auction! It helps kick off the school year and creates a bonding experience for the parents that can carry through until June.
-Best Days & Times: Weekends are usually best for this crowd because it gives them more time to enjoy themselves without

rushing home to relieve the babysitter. However, it definitely depends on the school schedule and what time the school supporters prefer.  You may want to poll a few of the parents in your group to find out their preference.

Why should we have an auction during the week?
-First of all, our studies have shown that weekday auctions make the same amount of revenue as weekend auctions. There is no immediate difference in the amount of money spend at a weekday auction.
-Secondly, weekday auctions can be a lot less expensive to produce. Most venues charge more for a Saturday rental than a Tuesday rental. The same is true with caterers. The savings from having a weekday event can be added to your event revenue!
-Lastly, most events are on the weekends (mainly, Saturday night). Therefore, if your event is on the weekend, be aware that you may have some competition! Can your event command the evening? If not,  try re-thinking your date.

Here’s the bottom line: Auctions are always fun, no matter what day, time or season they happen! Choose your date wisely and well in advance. Once you do, focus on making your event fun and festive for your team and your guests. Happy planning!