The Rise of Virtual P2P Fundraising
The pandemic forced nonprofits to find new ways to fundraise when face-to-face fundraising and events were not possible. Those efforts included the emergence of virtual and hybrid events.
To learn more about the effect, we studied nonprofits’ reliance on peer-to-peer fundraising, as well as related aspects from registration fees to participant fundraising, in our “2021 Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Study.”
In-person events were the foundation of peer-to-peer fundraising prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but surprisingly — despite this survey covering the 12 months preceding August 2021 — nonprofits with a leading, in-person event strategy ticked up 8 points from 2018 — the last time we conducted this survey.
Even so, virtual made its mark, too. In the first year that “virtual fundraising” was listed on the survey, it became the second leading peer-to-peer strategy among nonprofits — only a point behind in-person events — at 25%. As virtual fundraising becomes more prominent, so does the importance of online giving. We found that almost half (48%) of nonprofits cited more than three-quarters of their revenue for their top-performing peer-to-peer event came online. Solidifying that future peer-to-peer efforts may require a hybrid approach to reach more people.
However, there also seems to be a tie between nonprofits' fundraising success or focus and how well they were able to fare during the pandemic. Even though peer-to-peer events took a hit during the pandemic, those who participated seem to have weathered the uncertain times better. Our research found a vast difference in the pandemic effects for nonprofits who made peer-to-peer fundraising efforts versus those who did not.
Overall, fundraising levels weren’t affected at nonprofits who had peer-to-peer as a revenue stream whereas we saw a 13% decrease in the number of nonprofits who relied heavily on fundraising among those that did not participate in peer-to-peer fundraising. Essentially, fewer nonprofits cited fundraising as accounting for more than half of their revenue when they did not have peer-to-peer fundraising efforts when compared to 2018.
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