Large Event Campaigns Continue To Struggle

The nation’s largest peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns continue to take their lumps. The Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Thirty, a ranking of the 30 largest peer-to-peer fundraising programs in the U.S., had revenues decrease for the fourth consecutive year, according to the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum, compilers of the list.

The top peer-to-peer campaigns raised roughly $1.53 billion in 2016, down from $1.57 billion in 2015 and $1.71 billion in 2012. The $1.78 billion raised in 2008 remains as the list’s high-water mark during the past decade.

Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns refer to events such as walks or bike rides in which participants reach out to friends, family and colleagues for donations. The decline at the top comes at a time in which online tools have enabled supporters to organize their own do-it-yourself campaigns, creating a transition in peer-to-peer fundraising.

“Each year we see a number of novel campaigns burst onto the scene, giving supporters the chance to raise money and do everything from playing video games to engaging in extreme challenges,” said David Hessekiel, founder and president of the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum. “But these new options continue to put pressure on long-running, brand-name programs. And some of these long-running programs are seeing their revenues decline as a result.”

That doesn’t mean that it’s all doom and gloom up at the top. Lymphoma & Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walk, ranked as the ninth largest campaign of 2016, saw revenue increase by $7.3 million (12 percent) to $68.5 million – the largest hike in terms of dollars in this year’s list. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center’s Cycle for Survival event experienced the greatest increase in terms of percentage among this year’s top programs, increasing revenue by 20 percent to $30 million.

“Once again this year, the P2P30 reminds us that in our wired, interconnected world, change is the only constant — and today’s charities must be willing to evolve, reinvent, and invest to grow,” said Jeff Shuck, CEO of Plenty, a consulting company and sponsor of the Peer-to-Peer Thirty. “Rather, sustained growth comes from a holistic worldview, authentic branding, cohesive strategy, and well-supported teams.”

The top 10 peer-to-peer programs of 2016 were:

  1.  American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, down 9.4 percent to $279 million;
  2. American Heart Association’s Heart Walk, up 5.2 percent to $123.1 million;
  3. American Heart Association’s American Heart Association Youth Programs, up 8.7 percent to $85.8 million;
  4. March of Dimes’ March for Babies, down 10.5 percent to $85.7 million;
  5. Alzheimer’s Association’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s, up 6.4 percent to $82.4 million;
  6. Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s Komen Race for the Cure Series, down 13.4 percent to $74.9 million;
  7. National MS Society’s Bike MS, down 6.4 percent to $74.9 million;
  8. Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s JDRF One Walk, down 2.6 percent to $68.5 million;
  9. Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walk, up 12 percent to $68.5 million; and,
  10. American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, down 0.5 percent to $66.0 million.

For the full list, visit: https://www.peertopeerforum.com/resources/research/