Dec 2011

Key Performance Benchmarks for Traditional & Third-Party Events

by Noel Beebe, Senior Consultant, Convio

Peer-to-peer fundraising events like walks, races and rides have become a staple for nonprofit fundraisers, often bringing in more revenue than any other fundraising campaign throughout the year. These peer-to-peer fundraising events rely on supporters to register for, participate in, and fundraise on behalf of the organization as part of the experience. The advent of online fundraising and tools like Convio TeamRaiser™ have enabled fundraisers to easily register online, set up a personal fundraising webpage, and reach out to friends and family via email and social networks to garner support and solicit donations. Our Peer-to-Peer Event Fundraising Benchmark Study outlines how to measure the success of such fundraising events, and offers industry benchmarks across clients using Convio TeamRaiser™ for online event fundraising. If you’re more of a visual person check out our easy to read infographic highlighting key data points from the study or continue reading for the full explanation of our findings.

To begin, we divided event types into two overarching classes.

Event Types:

  1. Traditional (Walk, run or ride events hosted by an organization)
  2. Third-party (Events hosted on behalf of an organization)

By breaking event fundraising into segments based on event type, significant fundraising trends emerge. Here are some of the key findings we found:

Traditional Events

  • In 2010, traditional peer-to-peer fundraising events (run, walk, and ride events) continued to see growth in both online participation and online fundraising, despite an uncertain U.S. economy and growing saturation of the market.
  • In traditional events, team participants continue to out-perform individual participants, with team captains performing best of all.
  • In traditional events, participants who registered online for the prior year’s event and returned to register online again for the current year’s event were more likely to fundraise, and fundraised more than those who did not participate online the prior year.
  • The number of emails sent by a participant directly correlates to number of donations they raise. On average, a participant will need to send out five emails to recruit one donation.
  • As more organizations provide integrated tools for sharing and fundraising on social networks, fewer emails are being sent by participants to prospective donors.

Third-Party Events

  • Because third-party events (grassroots, marathon, and school-based events) often do not support team participation in the traditional sense, team participation is not an indicator of fundraising performance for third-party event participants.
  • In marathon events, first time fundraisers out-perform fundraisers who return year over year.
  • Marathon participants raised more on average than participants in any other event type, including traditional endurance events.
  • Third-party fundraisers were less than half as likely to return from year to year as traditional event participants
  • Organizations can affiliate themselves with an event type and review the benchmark metrics provided in this study as a way to gauge the success of their online fundraising efforts. So be sure to check out the full report to see more tips on how to improve your online fundraising.

The benchmarks offered in this study reflect in-depth research of 48 different organizations and 1,845 events in the United States and Canada utilizing Convio TeamRaiser™ event registration and online peer-to-peer fundraising tools from January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2010. Collectively, these organizations bring in more than $1 billion in event fundraising per year.

Key Performance Benchmarks for Traditional & Third-Party Events | Convio