Top 30 Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Programs Post Second Straight Year of Growth
In-person fundraising events returned in 2022, experiencing 18.8% growth among the top 30 U.S. programs.
America’s top 30 peer-to-peer fundraising programs raised $1.05 billion in 2022, according to the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum’s annual study. Though the top 30 programs reached a notable milestone in its second year of continued growth, that figure still lags behind 2019’s $1.37 billion, showing peer-to-peer events are still recovering from the 33.5% drop in revenue in 2020.
“It’s a joy to deliver so much good news about the healthy — in some cases stratospheric — growth of America’s top peer-to-peer fundraising programs,” David Hessekiel, president of the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum, said in a statement. “Peer-to-peer’s rebound is abundantly clear when you consider that 28 of the top 30 programs increased revenues, four registered triple-digit gains and 16 had double-digit increases.”
In its 17th year, the study features the largest walks, rides, runs and other challenges — both in-person and virtual. As Hessekiel mentioned, only two top-30 programs saw losses over their 2021 event revenue — Movember’s namesake event and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals’ Extra Life.
The American Heart Association’s Heart Walk remained America’s largest peer-to-peer fundraising program for the third straight year. With 5.5% growth over 2021, the Heart Walk’s revenue climbed to $103 million — though that still falls below its $140 million pre-pandemic figure. Prior to 2020, the Heart Walk was routinely No. 2 behind the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, which landed at No. 6 on 2022’s list and has yet to regain its pre-pandemic $100 million-plus territory.
The American Heart Association also earned the largest monetary increase — $50 million — for another event, the Kids Heart Challenge, which tied for third largest event with Pan-Mass Challenge for 2022. The Kids Heart Challenge placed sixth in 2021.
The largest in the run/walk category is obviously the Heart Walk, which ranked No. 1 overall, but when it comes to rides, the Pan-Mass Challenge is the largest at $77 million. A top 10 event overall since 2015, this Massachusetts-based effort to benefit the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is also the largest single event in 2022, as many events consist of multiple, smaller events across the country. St. Jude Heroes from ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital topped the list in terms of endurance events with $19.2 million in 2022. It landed at No. 19 on the overall list.
Also from ALSAC/St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Social Fundraising jumped from $8.9 million to $23.6 million to debut at No. 16 in its second year. It also has the largest increase in number of participants, as about 705,154 more people participated in 2022, bringing its total number of participants to 968,844 — the largest sum among the events that reported participant totals.
World Vision’s Team World Vision landed at No. 26 by raising $15.1 million after its $5.8 million in 2021 wasn’t enough to make the list.
Additionally, three programs returned to the list after dropping off due to pandemic-related losses:
- AIDS/LifeCycle recorded its best year in 2022 since the rankings began in 2006. With the largest percentage increase, the event jumped 547% with $17.8 million in total for a spot at No. 22.
- In its second-best reported year to date, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s PurpleStride Walk raised $15.1 million — triple its 2021 total — to rank at No. 25. It also saw the largest growth among participants, with a 351% increase over 2021.
- Falling less than $1 million short from ranking in 2021, Susan G. Komen 3-Day returned in 2022 with $14.7 million in revenue, placing at No. 27.
The barrier to enter the top 30 in 2022 was $14.3 million compared to 2021’s $13.8 million. Here are five programs that fell from the top 30 in 2022 as a result of the large gains other programs experienced:
- Penn State IFC’s THON grew 18.7% over last year’s totals, but fell from No. 30 in 2021 to just outside of the top 30 in 2022.
- American Cancer Society’s Real Men Wear Pink experienced a 5.8% dip in revenue, resulting in it falling out of the top 30 after placing No. 29 in 2021.
- After a successful 2021 effort with Facebook challenges, American Cancer Society’s Virtual Challenges had a 39.9% drop in revenue, causing this effort to fall from the No. 16 slot it earned in 2021.
- Landing at No. 29 in 2021, Children’s Cancer Research Foundation’s Great Cycle Challenge experienced a 19.9% decline that dropped it slightly outside of the top 30.
- After posting 14.9 million for this event and earning the No. 21 slot in 2021, ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital did not report 2022 revenue for its PLAY LIVE event.
“Most of the substantial increases in peer-to-peer fundraising revenue in 2022 were linked to the return of many more in-person events than in 2021,” Marcie Maxwell, managing director of the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum, said. “They are also a sign of the hard and smart work many nonprofit organizations applied to maintaining relationships with their fundraisers over the past several years.”