Today is World Food Day. There's a good chance you've heard from some charity on the topic of hunger on or around today.
That's because if you're in the business of fighting hunger, you think World Food Day is one BFD.
For most people, World Food Day is not a Big Deal. Or a Small Deal. It's No Deal at all. And by "most people," I mean everyone. Except you (if you're in the anti-poverty biz) and a few of your colleagues.
That's why World Food Day is a lousy fundraising platform. It has little meaning and no emotional resonance.
Fundraising about hunger that has a clear call to action and a great story that happens to land on World Food Day would be a far better bet than something relies on the donor knowing and caring about World Food Day.
Basing your hunger fundraising on the fact that it's World Food Day is like going up to someone and saying "Today is Noah Webster's birthday. Where's my present?" (In fact, today is Noah Webster's birthday; please feel free to send me a dictionary.)
Today is also Ether Day, National Feral Cat Day, the feast day for St. Longinus, and Bulgarian Air Force Day. Each of those is very important to somebody, but not at all interesting to everyone else.
The only holidays that dependably boost fundraising (and I'm talk US fundraising now) are:
- Christmas (or, more generically, "The Holidays")
- Thanksgiving (which is sometimes subsumed into The Holidays)
- Year End (part of The Holidays, but also because of the tax deadline)
- Easter (very much less so and only for Christian organizations)
There are exceptions. One I've experienced is the Marine Corps Birthday on November 10 (read about it -- it's a kick!). I've seen Breast Cancer Month (October) work for some but dramatically not for others.
If you've had success tying fundraising to lesser-known holidays, let us know in the comments.
But the general rule to follow: Don't build fundraising around holidays that your donors don't know about. It doesn't work.