Registration Fees: Are They Necessary in Peer-to-Peer Fundraising?
When you think about special fundraising events, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Let me guess, it’s probably the type of event: walk, run, dance-a-thon, shaving off your hair… These types of events are called peer-to-peer fundraising events. They are a way for a nonprofit organization’s volunteers and supporters to raise money on behalf of the nonprofit. There a number of advantages to peer-to-peer fundraising, and you can read all about it in our article on fundraising incentives.
To participate in peer-to-peer fundraising events, nonprofits typically ask the volunteer to register for the event and pay a registration fee. This can fall anywhere between $25, $100 or more. The purpose of a registration fee: It secures a “donation” or “charitable amount” towards the nonprofit’s mission and cause. But more about that in a little bit. Before we dive straight into peer-to-peer events and its registration fees, let’s take a moment to discuss (in-depth) peer-to-peer events and the types of event there are out there.
Categories of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Events
There is a plethora of peer-to-peer events out there that can be incorporated into nonprofit fundraising. The categories can range from a simple 5K marathon to an extreme polar plunge. In the “2017 Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Study,” we broke down the categories into the following: walking; casual athletics; moderate athletics; serious athletics; DIY with no set activity; DIY with set activity and/or time period; dancing; intellectual challenge; body change and other. While 30 percent of respondents labeled their highest revenue-producing event as “other,” the data showed the category of event was quite varied. As you can see in the figure below, there was no one event that was significantly more popular than the other.
This data suggests two things: There may be an opportunity for nonprofits to focus more on which type of peer-to-peer event resonates more with their audience, or the type of event is not as important we may have previously thought.
To explore option two a little further, we want to note that the category of event may not be as significant to the volunteer, but instead, the volunteer has a strong motivation to raise funds for the nonprofit because of the emotional connection and social relationship they have with the nonprofit.
Registration Fees in a Nonprofit’s Fundraising Strategy
As previously stated in the beginning of this article, registration fees are a way for the nonprofit to secure an amount to go towards their mission and cause. But by requiring volunteers to pay a registration fee, are nonprofits missing out an opportunity to raise more funds?
A whopping 63 percent of respondents said that their highest revenue-producing peer-to-peer event did not have a registration fee. By requiring volunteers to pay a registration fee before the event, we believe that nonprofits are creating a transactional relationship with the volunteer by basing the relationship on the exchange of money, rather than an emotionally connected relationship.
Establishing relationships with volunteers that are non-transactional will motivate them to raise more funds and will be better for the relationship between the nonprofit and volunteer in the long run. Volunteers will be more motivated to raise more funds, because they have an emotional attachment to the nonprofit and will be willing to solicit more and larger donations.
“Although having a registration fee for an event could potentially be an additional revenue stream, the majority of respondents of this study said that their organization’s highest revenue-producing P2P event did not have a registration fee. The registration fee is not an income guarantee, but rather, in most cases, guarantees lower overall revenue,” the study said.
To read the entire study and to learn more about the fundamentals of peer-to-peer fundraising, as well as how social relationships impact the success of peer-to-peer events, click here.
Be sure to register for this year’s NonProfit PRO Peer-to-Peer Conference. This one-of-a-kind event is happening on Nov. 9 in the historic city of Washington, D.C. In addition to learning about the key findings from the “2017 Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Study,” you’ll hear from some of the most inspiring thought leaders in the nonprofit sector, as they discuss the challenges facing the peer-to-peer realm today.
Nhu Te is senior content manager at Fundraise Up, the AI-powered online donation platform for enterprise nonprofits. In her work, she focuses on helping nonprofits create more impact through personalized donor relations, digital fundraising and thoughtful use of technology.