First, the good news: peer-to-peer fundraising runs, walks and cycling events are still a billion-dollar-plus industry. Total revenue for the top 30 event series in 2013 was $1.667 billion. The bad news is, those events are collectively down $44.198 million, or 2.58 percent, from 2012’s $1.711 billion.
Those are the results from the Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Top 30, released today by the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum in Rye, N.Y. Today also marks the rebranding of the organization, formerly known as the Run Walk Ride Fundraising Council.
More than half, or 17 of the top 30, reported either flat fundraising or increases for their events last year. The 2.58 percent overall loss was driven primarily by three events, which accounted for $62 million less in revenue. American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life was down $27.5 million, Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s Race for the Cure series did $20 million less than 2012, and Komen’s 3-Day Walk series earned $15.5 million less in 2013 than in 2012.
Other events with drops of $1 million or more include the Avon Foundation for Women’s Walk for Breast Cancer series (number 16, $7 million less), March of Dimes’ March for Babies (number 4, $6.3 million less), Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Team in Training (number 9, $5.6 million less) and JDRF’s Walk to Cure Diabetes (number 6, $3.03 million less).
Movember’s mustache growing contest (number 23) saw the biggest jump in revenue, at $5.9 million or 39.4 percent over 2012. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center’s Cycle for Survival (number 27) experienced the largest percentage jump, at 68.67 percent, or $5.7 million, the second greatest dollar increase.
Despite large losses in 2013, Relay for Life and Race for the Cure took the top two spots in terms of total revenue in 2013, at $380 million and $106.8 million, respectively. The American Heart Association’s Heart Walk nipped at Komen’s heels, at $105.6 million. March for Babies ($100.7 million) and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Bike MS series ($83.1 million) rounded out the top five.
“Double-digit growth by programs in the middle and lower rungs of the Peer-to-Peer Fundraising 30 show that there is still substantial room for growth in this field,” said P2P Fundraising Forum President David Hessekiel via a statement. These mid- and lower-tier events, numbers 11 through 30, collectively had a $5.7 million net gain, with the Komen 3-Day and Avon Walk for Breast Cancer accounting for $22.5 million worth of losses.
While runs, walks and rides still occupied the majority of the top 30 spots, other forms of so-called Thon fundraising were represented on this year’s list. The Top 30 this year included Movember’s month-long mustache growing contest, a jump rope and hula hoop contest for the American Heart Association (number 11), a dance marathon at Penn State University (number 29) and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America’s Bowl for Kids’ Sake (number 22).
It was this diversity that led the P2P Professional Forum to rebrand. “Whether a nonprofit is sponsoring a fun run or a head shaving event, the common thread linking our community is peer-to-peer fundraising, the power of people asking friends, family, neighbors and colleagues to dig into their pockets to support great causes,” said Hessekiel.
The name change and rebranding was revamped at the organization’s eighth annual conference in Atlanta. The rebranding entails a new logo, a new URL (www.peertopeerforum.com) and updated social media profiles. For a summary of the Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Top 30, visit https://www.runwalkride.com/run-walk-ride-resources/research/