The Latest Trends for Event Fundraising Success

February 4, 2019 Louise Sparks

by Sandra Luther, JustGiving

At JustGiving, our mission is to grow the world of giving. Thanks to the number of people and causes supported via our platform – we have an unparalleled view across the events fundraising landscape. The data from the many events run tirelessly by dedicated fundraisers throughout 2018 has allowed us to build an in-depth report to show the latest trends on what is popular amongst people in the UK and crucially what kinds of events lead to fundraising success.

Key findings

The overall data showed that giving behaviour and income within the events fundraising landscape remains stable while continuing to evolve. We are seeing some symptoms of fundraiser fatigue in more established events. Innovative rejuvenation on traditional events and a meteoric rise of virtual events has created a dynamic landscape – and growth is happening in these new events.

  • Running remains the most popular event for fundraising globally – further increasing its market share in 2018 to 60% from 51% in 2017. Women dominate the category in terms of participation, while men have on average higher page averages.
  • Cycling grew moderately from 4% to 7%, however 2018 saw fewer fundraisers and therefore a slight decline in overall revenue. Those who do fundraise go on to raise a lot of money for their chosen cause. Cycling has the 2nd highest average fundraising page value. Cycling remains a male dominated event.
  • Obstacle Course Race (OCR) and Experiential events saw a significant decline – going from 24% of the market in 2017 to only 11% in 2018. Fundraising for these types events (Tough Mudder and Colour Run to name two popular options) has seemingly plateaued. The hyper-social and experiential nature of these events still engage a young demographic but have lost the philanthropic ask in exchange for a fun experience.
  • The new comer in the market research is Virtual events – our partners at ACTIVE Network showing a 1103% increase in participation for Virtual Events, a type of event that doesn’t require participants to physically attend – they can take part online. This mimics a similar trend and momentum we experienced in 2014 and 2015 for OCR and Experiential. It will be critical to the success of Virtual events to identify way to avoid the steep decline on OCR and Experiential in recent years.

Why so Much Change?

A big generational shift has taken place. The traditional baby boomer audience is shrinking. Millennial wealth is growing and they want to give in a different way.

Individuals are more engaged than ever and want transparency and tangible impact from their money which is why we have seen growth in areas like Crowdfunding. This generational shift complements traditional fundraising: this new generation of fundraisers are keen to explore alternative ways to engage with communities through new ways such as Virtual Events and an emerging Gaming for Social Good movement, when charities computer gaming events that gamers can take part in virtually – enticing a whole new kind of fundraiser to get involved.

Events continue to be a vital component in driving giving behaviour. Whilst participation trends and demographic interest evolves, the key to engagement in a maturing market is digital development. Organisations must quickly follow changes in consumer behaviour and create diverse product offerings in response. With the rise of new trends, such as virtual events, the event fundraising landscape continues to stay vibrant and looks reinvigorated. JustGiving is committed to ensuring charities make the most of the evolving event ecosystem by being consumer-driven and dynamic in the face of change.

Conclusion

This analysis and report identified high performing event categories and the shift in popularity toward new, dynamic offerings.

Looking ahead, we have identified three main themes for charity event organisers to succeed:

  • optimisation and diversification of events – charities need to focus on their intended audience, understand their motivations and behaviours and provide events which attract these groups - this could mean changing it up from the kinds of events they usually organise
  • a focus on low barrier to entry events – with more and more events on offer, charities need to offer a variety of experiences to attract new supporters and engage existing ones. To minimise risk on increasing the events portolio, look to take away as many obstacles to joining as possible
  • quick engagement with the emerging DIY giving behaviour – be adaptable and support the empowered individuals who have a drive to support your cause

These themes are all underpinned by digital transformation. We recommend that organisations follow an agile approach to new product development; experiment with new models of giving and adapt quickly to the new consumer giving behaviour.

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