The long weekend has come and gone, the kids are back at school and you’re back at your desk (*sigh*). Hopefully you had some time to relax and recharge during the Labor Day holiday… or maybe you didn’t take any time off and you were working through the weekend, ironing out the details of your fall fundraising gala. 

Well – you’re not alone. Many Americans today ton’t get enough “R&R”, and it could be hurting how well we’re performing at our jobs. The same goes for your donors, who will be attending this year’s fundraising gala looking for an escape – and possibly a vacation – to help them unplug and recharge. 

Americans are bad at taking time off

First of all, our friends in Europe enjoy many more vacation days than we do. The U.S. pales in comparison to our friends abroad, with American workers taking a fraction of the amount of vacation time found in European countries. A study by the U.S. Travel Association found that Americans use only about half of their allowed vacation days.

According to a recent Huffington Post article posted last week which surveyed U.S. workers, 54 percent say they haven’t taken a vacation in the last 12 months. It’s gotten so bad that many Americans say they would support a “vacation mandate” where large employers would be required to provide workers at least some paid vacation time.

Another big difference between our workforce and the rest of the world is we have trouble actually enjoying the very few days we end up taking off. The same study found that 61 percent of Americans who are on vacation continue to work – sitting by the seashore plugged in to their smartphones and laptops rather than collecting seashells.

Vacations are healthy for you!Vacations are good for you!

Taking time off to go on vacation is meant to serve as the ultimate reset button, helping you drop out of the rat race and recharge so you can return to work with a renewed focus. However, even when you’re lying in a hammock on the beach, if you’re busy checking emails on your phone you aren’t really getting a break.

Spending your downtime checking emails, working on projects or dealing with the everyday stress of work doesn’t just do harm to your own revitalization, it can be draining for your family and friends as well.

Consider what the CEO of a Denver-based tech company did in 2012 when he introduced “paid paid vacation” to his employees. Sound too good to be true?

He would cover the cost of their trip if they simply followed these three rules:

  1. No checking work emails, texts or calls
  2. No working, period
  3. You have to actually go on vacation or you don’t get the money

Before we all rush to submit our resumes to this company, there’s a catch. As the Huffington Post noted at the time, there’s plenty of research backing up the claim that workplace happiness pays off for employees and employers alike. You see, this “paid paid” vacation offer dramatically improved the day-to-day structure of the company. By nudging employees to take real vacations – vacations where they’re genuinely inaccessible – he’s built a culture that can’t depend too heavily on one person for any particular thing.

And that’s harder to achieve than it sounds. Everyone wants to feel indispensable, and startup cultures are particularly prone to “hero syndrome” – an “I’m the only one who can do this,” mentality.

“Here’s the thing,” the CEO explained, “if people know they will be disconnecting and going off the grid for an extended period of time, they might actually keep that in mind as they help build the company and plan their projects”. That means empowering colleagues, documenting their work and sharing knowledge.

The policy makes employees happier and more relaxed on a daily basis because they know they aren’t the last line of defense (and because Costa Rica is lovely this time of year…). But it also pays off on the macro level. “At the end of the day, the company will – and has – improved.”

Remind donors they need a vacation

While we may never get as many vacation days as they do in Europe or a “paid paid” vacation, we can help our donors plan ahead for some time. Establish a little teamwork by keeping donors and other stakeholders in the loop and collaborating on auction item procurement. That way it will boost excitement for those travel related items when it comes time for bidding at the event.

That said, it’s never too early to start talking to your donors about their next vacation. One of the best ways to ensure lots of bidding on travel related auction items at your next event is to ask donors about their travel plans.

  • Where do they want to go?
  • What are they interested in doing?
  • What Experiences are on their bucket list?

By gathering this information from multiple donors prior to the event, you can select specific travel packages that appeal to more donors – increasing the likelihood of a bidding war, giving you more opportunities to sell multiples and ultimately generate more revenue from your live auction.

Below is a list of the Top 15 most-visited destinations in the United States, and it just so happens that we have unique no-risk Experiences built for each vacation spot – which we’ve also listed below. 

  1. New York City
    New York Long Weekend

    New York Amazing Long Weekend

    Choice of Broadway Show, Dinner, Hilton New York Hotel 3-Night Stay with Airfare for 2 (5071-2)

  2. Chicago
    Best of Chicago

    Best of Chicago

    Choice of Broadway Show, Dinner, Hyatt Chicago Magnificent Mile 3-Night Stay with Airfare for 2 (5412-2)

  3. San Francisco
    Escape to San Francisco & Sonoma

    Escape to San Francisco & Sonoma

    Winery Tours & Tastings, Fairmont San Francisco 2-Night Stay & Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn 2-Night Stay with Airfare for 2 (3210-2)

  4. Las Vegas
    Viva in Las Vegas

    Viva in Las Vegas

    VIP Seating at Choice of Top Vegas Show, Renaissance 2-Night Stay with Airfare for 2 (8218-2)

  5. New Orleans
    Louisiana Jazz Hands

    Louisiana Jazz Hands

    Preservation Hall of Jazz VIP Admission, Dining at Cafe Adelaide, Hyatt French Quarter 2-Night Stay with Airfare for 2 (8205-2)

  6. Los Angeles
    Best of L.A.

    Best of L.A.

    Private Custom Los Angeles Tour, Lunch at The Ivy, 3-Night Fairmont Santa Monica Stay with Airfare for 2 (1708-2)

  7. San Diego
    San Diego Craft Brewing Scene

    San Diego Craft Brewing Scene

    VIP Brewery Excursion, Chauffeur, Manchester Grand Hyatt 3-Night Stay with Airfare for 2 (3450-2)

  8. Seattle
    Seattle Sights and Bites

    Seattle Sights and Bites

    Pike Place Market Culinary Tour, Space Needle, Hyatt Place Downtown 2-Night Stay with Airfare for 2 (8280-2)

  9. Washington D.C.
    Behind-the-Scenes Tour of the U.S. Capitol

    Behind-the-Scenes Tour of the U.S. Capitol

    Private Tour of the U.S. Capitol Building with Noted Historian, Fairmont Washington D.C. 4-Night Stay with Airfare for 2 (2788-2)

  10. Orlando
    Orlando Theme Park Adventure

    Orlando Theme Park Adventure

    1-Day Tickets to SeaWorld Orlando, 1-Day/1-Park Tickets to Universal Resort Orlando, 4-Night Stay at Choice of Select Hyatt Place Hotels with Airfare for 4 (1821-4)

  11. Honolulu
    Hyatt's Best of Hawaii

    Hyatt’s Best of Hawaii

    4-Night Getaway at Choice of Select Hyatt Hotels & Resorts in Hawaii with Airfare for 2 (1879-2)

  12. Houston
    Aerial Hunting Adventure

    Aerial Hunting Adventure

    Helicopter Hog Hunt in Central Texas, Grand Hyatt San Antonio 2-Night Stay with Airfare for 2 (5226-2)

  13. Charleston, S.C.
    Charleston Luxury Getaway

    Charleston Luxury Getaway

    Private Historical Photo Tour of Charleston (South Carolina), Dinner & Wine Pairings at Charleston Grill, Belmond Charleston Place 3-Night Stay with Airfare for 2 (2555-2)

  14. Boston
    Samuel Adams Brewery Tour in Boston

    Samuel Adams Brewery Tour in Boston

    Behind-the-Scenes Tour, McCormick & Schmick’s Dinner with Beer Pairing, Fairmont Boston 3-Night Stay with Airfare for 2 (3395-2)

  15. Palm Springs
    Stress Busters Getaway

    Stress Busters Getaway

    $1,000 Spa Gift Certificate at Choice of Select Spa Locations, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts 3-Night Stay with Airfare for 2 (7020-2)


If you have questions about how you can use one of these Experiences in your next fundraising event, schedule a free event consultation to speak with one of our Fundraising Specialists.

Whether you’re hosting a live benefit auction, a silent auction dinner gala or a charity golf tournament, our fundraising specialists will share what has worked for thousands of other Nonprofits across the country. 

Your consultant will explain how you can leverage once-in-a-lifetime Experiences to boost event attendance, donor retention and fundraising revenue.

Questions? You can also Contact Us.