Study: Peer-To-Peer Fundraising Events Are Growing

March 18, 2014       The NonProfit Times      

Peer-to-peer fundraising has for all intents and purposes turned supporters into organizations’ development departments. A subset of P2P, independent fundraising events (IFEs) are almost wholly supporter-run with little or no staff involvement.

A new study from Austin, Texas-based Charity Dynamics showed that 42 percent of respondents have an IFE program, with another 25 percent looking to add one. Of those with a current program, 63 percent predict their programs will grow by at least 10 percent in 2014.

The Charity Dynamics IFE Study received responses from 239 individuals, representing 132 organizations. One-third of respondents had no plans to implement an IFE program.

Of those with a program, 62 percent said the program resides with the development department. Almost one-fifth (19 percent) of the programs are owned by the events staff, with 6 percent in marketing and 13 percent in other departments. “While respondents are mixed on how they structure their IFE programs, it is important to mention that most (72 percent) report that they provide fundraising coaching, and the majority (76 percent) report that they have at least one dedicated staff member in place to support the program,” wrote the report’s authors.

Concept development, staffing and technology platform are all considerations for those respondents planning to add an IFE program in the next year. Not having appropriate staff was considered the biggest risk, followed by budget and conceptualization. “And, when it comes to choosing a technology platform, most focus on program cost and ability to integrate into your constituent relationship management system for primary criteria,” according to the report.

The main motivation for having an IFE program was making donors happy, cited by 57 percent of respondents with a program. Generating more revenue followed, at 23 percent, and one-fifth said wider recruitment was the most important reason.

The report had some tips for organizations that have or are considering adding an IFE program.

  • Leverage outside counsel to meet resource needs if necessary
  • Train participants in fundraising, don’t assume they know how to fundraise
  • Have a strategy
  • Select a technology platform that supports all potential P2P programs, not just IFEs

Look beyond the traditional verticals of health and education; “If you’ve been holding back because you’re in a more unique vertical, now may be the time to rethink those hesitations.”