You basically want to work backwards to figure out the timing for your Purim fundraiser.
The key question is: How far in advance do you need to know exactly how many baskets you will need? (if you’re planning on sending to your entire membership list, then this question is moot)
The deadline should be a few days to a week before that date to allow for any unforeseen circumstances as well as time for data entry if you’re also sending out paper order forms.
Our experience tells us that you don’t want to send information about your Purim fundraiser until after Chanukah at the earliest, as people aren’t in the Purim frame of mind yet. You probably also want to wait until after winter break is over, so your emails and letters don’t sit unread in a pile of mail (for those that go away). Additionally, should try to create a sense of urgency—you want people to take immediate action with your letter or email. If you give them too much time to respond, they’ll simply stick your mailing in their to-do list, and possibly forget about it. We think 3-4 weeks is a good amount of time to allow for your members to respond. Some also build in an extra week, or weekend, for an extension. That is, they will say the deadline is Friday afternoon, but then extend it until Sunday night to allow for one last marketing push via emails, phone calls, announcements in synagogues and newsletters from schools.
Some people are philosophically opposed to this—especially the thought of PLANNING to allow the deadline to be moved, but that is for each to decide on their own.
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