It's a lot of fun to have people turn their birthdays into mini-fundraising campaigns, but when it comes to sheer peer-to-peer fundraising volume, events such as marathons, walkathons, and cycling make the most of this type of fundraising.
Blackbaud recently released its 2013 Peer-to-Peer Participant Fundraising Study, which explored the trends across 39 nonprofits over three years. This group of organizations ran more than 44,000 events, raising more than $1 billion online.
Not all charities should or can do these types of events. Indeed, the best and biggest are those that have been around for a long time and achieved a certain level of branding and notoriety that bring participants back year after year.
The Blackbaud study is very useful in nailing down the trends and what events work best. And ROI should be the first consideration for events that take so much planning and consume so much energy in execution.
For the purposes of this study, events were grouped into four categories: cycle, endurance, 5K and walk. The study found that peer-to-peer fundraising plays a key role in making these events successful in fundraising.
So, what works and what doesn't? What are the trends? Here are some data points from the study:
Fundraising is a complicated task. No less so in these days of constricted budgets, an economy that is still struggling with the aftermath of a recession, and when there is more competition among nonprofits for what money is available for philanthropy.
Still, as the Chronicle of Philanthropy reports, some salaries for a few top fundraisers have reached new heights, even going beyond $1 million. Here are some of the top earners:
Nonprofit Blog Carnival
The Work behind Our Work: Your Methods & Wants for Nonprofit Blog Carnival. Nancy Schwartz of Getting Attention! is in charge of the April Carnival. She wants your back story. Write about "productivity, planning, and/or getting great ideas out of your head and into action." Conversely, write about what is holding you or your organization back.
Fundraising, Marketing, and More
8 things donors expect from nonprofit communications - Ben Stroup for LinkedIn. Your donors are busy. Don't irritate them with too many messages or irrelevant ones. Great, succinct tips about what to do and not.
A Donor at Rest Tends to Stay at Rest: 6 Ways to Motivate Donors - Willis Turner at Fundraising Success. Maybe I've been watching too much of the new "Cosmos," but this physics-based post really spoke to me. How do you motivate donors to take action? Lots of ideas here. Follow up with Research reveals four simple ways your not-for-profit can motivate donors from Connecting Up.
What "We Can't Afford Fundraising Software" Really Costs You - Bloomerang. Oh the ultimate pain of "free." It includes frustration and a black hole of information about your donors. On the same theme, don't miss Pamela Grow's The Cult of Free Will Kill Your Fundraising.
If you stumble upon the Facebook Page for the Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado, you might be amazed that it is so active, with over 4,000 likes, 28 talking about, and 463 "were here."
I'd guess that it's because this food bank has a loyal cadre of volunteers that provided more than 30,000 hours of service last year. The food bank is proud of that number and has put it front and center of its FB Page and its website this month.
"The Chronicle of Philanthropy" was also impressed enough to use this organization as a case study recently as it trained its eye on effective volunteer management.
The Care and Share Food Bank is enjoying volunteer success for several reasons.
First, the issue is hot. Hunger has become a headliner in the press. Consequently, more people than ever want to help, either by donating or volunteering, or both.
The Care and Share Food Bank only has 40 employees, but an increasing number of people who want to volunteer. Coloradans are also very familiar with disasters such as wildfires and floods, where the work of organizations like the Food Bank are important.
In fact, this food bank went from a little over 4,000 volunteers in 2010 to 8,500 in 2013. Those volunteers helped the Food Bank deliver 18.6 million pounds of food in 2013, up from 11.5 million just a few years before. More than 100,000 people were helped last year by the Food Bank.
Second, the Care and Share Food Bank has embraced volunteers. It has an open arms policy and tries to place everyone who is willing to work. There are families with children who volunteer, students, people from civic groups and faith organization, as well as court-ordered volunteers. The Food Bank has also partnered with 67 corporations and their employee volunteer programs.
How do they do it? By placing volunteers at the center of the organization. For instance: