Fundraising Events Come Roaring Back
Fundraising Events Come Roaring Back

Events are making a strong fundraising comeback with many organizations keeping to a hybrid strategy. More than half of 880 nonprofit executives polled reported generating 21% or more of their annual operating budget (AOR) from event and online fundraising efforts during 2022. 

One-quarter of respondents reported raising 41% or more of their AOR through event and online fundraising. However, organizations with annual operating revenues greater than $5 million are seeing better success with event and online fundraising than their smaller counterparts. 

Data from a survey of executives sponsored by fundraising platform OneCause showed that 83% of organizations plan to hold at least one in-person event during 2023. To meet varying preferences, and to continue to reach a more geographically dispersed donor base, many managers are keeping a diverse mix of event formats on their calendars. Close to half (45%) of organizations plan to hold at least one hybrid event (having both in-person and virtual supporters) in 2023. 

Technology spending shifts also reflect the focus on in-person events, with more nonprofits putting more money toward planning for in-person events. Technology support for hybrid events is also clear in budget planning, with 79% of organizations either maintaining or increasing their budget for virtual software to support hybrid experiences.

And while reliance on technology grows, 54% of respondents said 10% or less of revenue is spent on technology. There was a 6-point upward shift to 35% in the number of nonprofits where zero to 5% of the budget is spent on fundraising technology. 

The top challenges impacting nonprofits this year include recurring giving, sponsors, and year-over-year growth. Staff turnover is also emerging as a trend affecting many organizations. 

Donor retention or donor engagement headed the list of challenges for all organizations, except for those with revenue greater than $50 million. In that case it was planning around the pandemic. Respondents reported success with Online Giving Campaigns (81%), Events With Auctions — Silent or Live (71%), Donation Events Without Auctions (70%), Ticket Sales (68%), and Online Auctions (53%).

Access to information for decision-making remains a challenge. Managers have inconsistent access to data that’s useful in data-driven fundraising and storytelling. Only 18% of respondents said they have all the data they need and that they use it in nearly every decision they make. Smaller nonprofits with AORs less than $350,000 reported having less access to data, with 16% saying they don’t have access to the data they need. 

To see all of the results in the 21-page report, go to https://bit.ly/3uoIIRZ