Loyalty, donation levels, and fundraising performances is just some of the data unveiled in Blackbaud's 2013 Peer-to-Peer Fundraising study. The study looked at peer-to-peer giving across 39 organizations over the last 3 years (from 2011 to 2013). Combined, these organizations hosted more than 44,000 events and raised more than $1 billion online.
The study looks at trends across four event types — Cycle, Endurance, 5K and Walks — and looks at different types of participants — participating donors (those who participate and donate, but don’t fundraise), fundraising self-donors (makes a donation AND fundraises) and non-self-donors (fundraises but does not make a donation).
The goal of the study was to understand the value of true fundraisers. This begs the question, who is really raising money? And just how much are these individuals raising?
Key Findings From The Study:
- Endurance events generated the most revenue from fundraising efforts at 94%, while 5K events generated the least, 33%. The endurance event stats are not suprising. In the book Social Change Anytime Everywhere, that I co-wrote with Amy Sample Ward of NTEN, we disucss the pyschology of fundraising. The more you ask people to suffer, the more money you will raise for charity events. This is one reason that endurance events like the Boston Marathon raise over $10M a year for charities.
- Cycle events got the most participants in online fundraising at 70.57%.
- The percentage of people raising money has remained flat across all 4 event types the last three years, but donors gave more each year.
- The average online gift for Endurance events was the highest at $80.05, while the lowest was 5K events at $54.96. Cycle events saw the biggest percentage jump year over year in average gift size at 9%. The average Cycle gift is now $73.42.
- Returning participants significantly outperformed new participants across all events when it came to fundraising. For example, the average amount raised by a returning participant for Endurance events is $1,150.22 — for a new participant, it’s $694.18.
It's important to note that returning participants raised more money than new participants (more than double), this is because returning constituents have been moved up the ladder of engagement and are even more committied to raising money for charity. They are also more exprienced in peer-to-peer fundraising and understand what brings in more money from donors.
Email's Impact On Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
- While there’s been an overall decline in email activity, we don't recommend closing the door on email. Email marketing is still a very effective fundraising tool for participants. Across all events types, participants who send email messages raise more than their peers who do not send email messages. Why the decline in email acitivity? There are more channels at fundraisers disposal so they are using multiple channels to reach their donors. Some people may find it easier to focus their fundraising pitches on social media and tag people directly. Their hope is that this public pressure will "inspire" people donate money. Does it work? Sometimes. My advice. Ask people on both channels.
- Good and great fundraisers are email senders. On average, across all 4 event types, 68% of great fundraisers send emails.
This steady growth of peer-to-peer fundraising is a good sign for nonprofits, and Blackbaud asks you to consider a few insights to really evaluate the giving within your own organization.
- How much are your event gift amounts compared to your org's general gift?
- Does your average gift amount change by the participation type or the participant's connection to your nonprofit? What's your average self-donation?
What events have been the most successful in raising money for your org?