Recently, nearly 400 peer-to-peer fundraising professionals gathered to discuss trends in event fundraising. Previously called the Run Walk Ride Fundraising Council, the group is now aptly named the Peer to Peer Professional Forum. One of the highlights of the conference each year is the debut of the annual “Top Thirty Fundraising Study”. The key results of the current study are a good read, click here to view.
While many of the usual suspects top the list of most successful fundraising events, one interesting new trend is the entry of so many unique, innovative event concepts that are attracting thousands of participants and millions of dollars. The most prominent events are still walks, runs and bike rides. But, newer entries to the scene generate funds around the subject of hair.
Yes, you read that right, hair. Top 30 event #17 St. Baldrick’s Head Shaving Event raised over $33M and on the opposite end of the hair spectrum, # 23 Movember hair growing events raising $21M. And other unique concepts are grabbing the brass ring too – Penn State’s Panhellenic Dance marathon raised over $21M for pediatric cancer – and what a great way to engage the prime audience of Millennials!
Beyond these top 30 events, there are even more innovative concepts to watch. Covenant House hosts Sleep Out events whereby participants raise money and sleep out in solidarity with homeless youth. What a creative tie to their important mission!
And the MS Society has a winning concept with their new Muckfest MS where participants can run, swing, slosh, climb & laugh their way through a 5K course of incredible obstacles and muddy pits, trenches and craters.
What does all this mean? Creativity is the future king in event fundraising. New concepts are storming the staid event fundraising scene and setting a new standard for attracting participants and their donors. Nonprofits need to innovate to stay relevant and replace those 60+ year old direct mail donors on file with younger supporters who can donate for decades to come.