I spent a few days in sunny Atlanta last week at this year’s Run, Walk, Ride conference. Due to the overwhelmingly indoor nature of conferences, I didn’t actually get much sun, but I did soak up a lot of good information about both the current state and the future of event fundraising.
A little bit of good news — although year-over-year growth is still relatively slow for the 30 largest events in the country, data released at the conference last week shows that the industry appears to have popped out of the doldrums it fell into after the recent recession. The top 30 events saw a net increase of 2.5% between 2010 and 2011, bringing in a total of $1.7 billion.
One thing that really stuck out for me at the conference — social media is perfectly suited for event fundraising. What could be more compelling and persuasive than friends asking their friends for donations? With the increasing use of social media by organizations and event participants we think (and hope!) that it will help buoy future event fundraising results.
The Wildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS) 3rd Annual 5K Run for the Wild has come and gone – but the lessons from this amazing peer-to-peer fundraising event live on!
While participants aren’t required to fundraise, the goal of the annual, noncompetitive event at the Bronx Zoo is to raise money for WCS’s work to save wildlife and wild places around the world. Each year the identity of the race is built around a specific animal – this year, it was the penguin. Since its inception, fundraising and participation rates have improved steadily. But this year we saw some pretty staggering differences:
- An 85% increase in the total amount donated (that’s just shy of DOUBLE!)
- A 91% increase in the number of donations made.
The number of participants also increased by 40% from 2010 — a sizeable jump to be sure, but not nearly enough to fully explain the boost in fundraising returns. So what else changed?