We’re proud to launch our first research report focused on mass fundraising events; Mass Events 2022: What have we learnt? The research examines the overall state of play for fundraising events and what the future holds, looking at participation levels across the last five years and how this translates into fundraising levels and the number of people taking part this year.
After some difficult years for charities and mass event organisers – punctuated with a condensed events season this time out – there are some indications of green shoots ahead.
The good news for charities is that fundraising is the most important motivator for participants – with 68% stating this. Over two in five (42%) people also stated raising awareness of charities as being a key motivator. The compressed events season in 2022 has meant that there are some key participants missing from the landscape however, with fewer than half (49%) of all marathon runners registered to take part in an event this year.
Maintaining fitness, mental health and wellbeing proved to be key drivers for event participation. In the past five years, there has been a clear steady increase in maintaining health and fitness (35% to 54%), as well as mental health and wellbeing (35% to 50%). That growth has been particularly marked in the last year however, with health and fitness jumping from 43% to 54% and mental health and wellbeing jumping from 45% to 50%.
2022 fundraising challenges
One key concern for charities is that just 1% of people who have not taken part in a charity event in the last five years, have signed up for a mass event in 2022. Only a further 8% said they have given it some serious consideration, though this is at least somewhat bolstered by 30% who are open to the idea of taking part.
For those people who haven’t taken part in a mass event for charity in the last five years, the most significant barrier is a lack of fitness with two in five people (43%) stating this. Health matters and lack of fitness unsurprisingly increases with age. However, it is not something that just affects older age groups – 28% of 18-24 year olds and 36% of 25-34 year olds state this is a barrier for them, too.
For those who participate in events and occasionally fundraise, a substantial number say they do not like asking for sponsorship (34%). Aligned with this is a further one in ten (11%) who say they are too busy to raise funds.
Perhaps most striking is the fact that nearly three quarters (71%) of participants prefer events closer to home since the pandemic. This is followed by 55% feeling more cautious about committing to events because they may get Covid themselves and have to drop out. This could be twinned with residual worries of large crowds or events being cancelled.
Runners and riders
When it comes to event popularity by region, the research shows that running for charity is most popular in London, with 37% of adults saying they have taken part in the last five years. This is followed by the North East (31%), the North West (31%) and Wales (30%). For cycling the most popular regions were London (15%), the West Midlands (12%), the North West (11%), and Scotland (9%).
Looking at a breakdown by age, 10K events have the youngest profile, with 20% of 10K runners aged 18-24 and a further 33% aged 25-34. For marathon distance, 29% are 35-44 and 24% are 45-54. In terms of gender split, while 5K and 10K are fairly even, half marathon and marathon distances skew heavily towards men, with two thirds of the longest distance runners being male.
“After the disruption to mass events over the past couple of years, 2022 was always going to present some obstacles for fundraising. The encouraging news for charities is that those who are running are mostly doing so to support good causes.
The top advice from experienced fundraisers is to start fundraising for the 2023 events season right away, by reaching out to your full network and updating your fundraising page with a compelling story about the cause. Charities could also benefit from creating engaging content to help supporters build fitness and outline how to fundraise compassionately during a recession.”Chester Mojay-Sinclare, CEO and Founder, Enthuse
In fact 47% of experienced fundraisers stated that fundraising as soon as you sign up was their most important tip for new participants. When it comes to other pieces of advice, 40% said getting the word out to as many people as possible was crucial. Having a great story about why you’re taking part (32%) and a great story about the charity (30%) was also said to be important. Encouragingly for charities, nearly half (45%) of fundraisers said they will set a higher fundraising target next time they take part.
Three of the answers on fundraising advice linked together to act as tips for before, during and after the event. Firstly, 27% recommended putting lots of effort into fundraising the week before the event, a quarter (24%) said to use official apps on the day to keep supporters involved and 28% said to not miss out on fundraising after the event to boost totals.