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Research: Forecasting Fundraising Returns by Event Type

Forecasting fundraising returns on UK based sporting & challenge events may be easier than you think.

The latest stats of online donations to personal fundraising pages show remarkable consistency.

We’ve combined data from charities like Kidney Research UK, Sue Ryder, Anthony Nolan and the Stroke Association who use our white label fundraising platform.

Marathons attract the highest level of donation. The highest profile marathon, the London Marathon scores best with £33.90 and non London Marathons average at £29.12.

At the lower end of donation values are walks (these are short/medium length walks ranging from around 5K to 15K) and zip slides which attract donations of £16.67 and £17.04 respectively.

Here’s the full table:


We think that there are three key factors at play when donations are made.

  • First is the perceived difficulty/effort required by the fundraiser to complete the challenge. Difficulty/effort explains the relative ranking but does not explain why a half marathon donation averages at £26.30 compared to a full marathon which only raises £3 or £4 more. Surely a full marathon is more than 15% harder than a half marathon?
  • Second is social norms. The results suggest that donors perceive that there is a minimum acceptable level of donation. (This probably further divides into three: the amount the donor guesses is what the fundraising page owner is looking for; the value of donations already posted to the fundraising page; the minimum amount a donor believes is reasonable to give to charity).
  • And third, there is the maximum level of what any donor wants to give combined with affordability.

Are there lessons to be learned and are there strategies fundraising managers can employ to raise the average value of donations?

Yes, we think so. Fundraising managers can certainly benchmark fundraising by event type and measure the effect of new activity.

And what about strategies to increase fundraising? Fundraising managers can consider small incentives and rewards for achieving a higher donation value. Rewards which are immediately tangible and relevant to every fundraising page owner are best, and these should be oriented to the benefit of the charity. So give the fundraiser a target based on your benchmarked results and for those who achieve the target why not reward them with e.g. a promotional code for a reduced price entry to the following year’s event?

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 19 October 2011 )
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