"No longer simply the understudy for physical events", finds analysis
Virtual fundraising events for all types and sizes of charities continued to grow in 2021.
Despite an easing of Covid restrictions and the gradual resumption of in-person events, the voluntary sector still looked online when it came to raising cash.
Figures from mass participation agency massive and the JustGiving platform showed that the shift to virtual fundraising events may be a permanent feature – and that they raised even more this year than in 2020.
The Virtual Fundraising Monitor took detailed data from 150 virtual fundraising events raising over £39 million in 2021 and compared this with results from the same number of events and campaigns from 2020.
Focusing specifically on peer-to-peer fundraising activities, Massive’s report covers a range of campaigns by charities including Diabetes UK, Breast Cancer Now, Dementia UK and Alzheimer’s Society.
Overall, the report found virtual fundraising events raising more on average than in 2020. Almost half of the events surveyed in the report raised over £100,000 in 2021, double the previous year, while the number of events raising more than £1m also doubled.
The report also highlights the increased success of charities in recruiting participants to their events with the average number of people registering for events in the survey more than tripling to an average of almost 3,000 per event
However, average value is flat or falling and it still appears that virtual fundraisers are less committed than their counterparts in physical events.
John Tasker, partner at Massive said: “We’re seeing more people taking part in virtual events but not seeing any significant growth in levels of fundraising, so the growth we’re seeing appears to be driven by volume as opposed to value and we’ve seen a corresponding increase in marketing spend to drive that volume.”
Encouragingly, the report found that the return of physical real life events hasn’t impacted on the success of virtual campaigns and suggests that there is room in the market for both physical and virtual fundraising events
Sally Falvey, head of retention marketing at JustGiving, said: “The Virtual Fundraising Monitor is an essential read for all event fundraisers as we head into 2022. The report echoes what we’ve seen on JustGiving this year – virtual events are no longer simply the understudy for physical events and have unique value in attracting new and diverse audiences to good causes.
“This time next year we expect to see a continued growth in charities blending their events portfolios on JustGiving, with a balance of virtual and physical experiences developed to suit the needs of their supporters.”
Tasker added: “In 2022 we expect to see continued success for both virtual and physical events, as ever the most successful campaigns will be the ones that adapt their offer to the changing expectations and attitudes of their audience to offer something new, regardless of whether that’s online, in real life or a mix of both.”