Since 2013, we’ve compiled a list of the most successful charity-owned mass participation events. Which charities have made this year’s Top 25? And what insights will help shape your event portfolio for 2023?
What 2022 Taught Us About Mass Participation Events
2022 was an important year for mass participation. In the first full events year since pandemic restrictions were lifted, we’ve all been waiting eagerly to see how fundraising has recovered.
Now, the answers are here. We’ve just launched the 2023 Massive Top 25 – our annual ranking of the biggest charity mass participation events in the UK.
So, what has this year’s report taught us?
Events are recovering, but more slowly than anticipated
The Top 25 events raised £114m in 2022, compared to £119m in 2021. This slight decrease was driven primarily by two factors: a lack of rollover places, and a decline in virtual challenges, as supporter behaviour changed after lockdown.
But the good news is that social and in-person events – while yet to return to pre-pandemic levels – are continuing to recover, raising more than previous years. So, while we’re not seeing an immediate bounceback, the signs of recovery are there.
They key takeaway: don’t disinvest from events – but do adjust your expectations if you’re hoping for a quick return to pre-COVID income levels.
The longest-running events are bouncing back most quickly
Unsurprisingly, the biggest and most established events have proven to be the most resilient to a highly turbulent market. This year was all about the re-growth of established products. There was little innovation, with only three new events breaking the Top 25.
The fastest growing campaigns were:
- Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day (up 67%)
- Cancer Research UK’s Relay for Life (up 53%)
- Breast Cancer Now’s Afternoon Tea (up 31%)
We’re seeing lower volumes of participants, raising higher amounts
While total participant numbers are yet to return to pre-pandemic levels, the average value per fundraiser increased for most in-person events.
This is good news. While many charities report acquisition challenges and rising CPAs, finding ways to increase supporter value may make up for this. And more engaged supporters will be more likely to be retained into other ways of giving.
What does the year ahead hold in store?
As the cost-of-living crisis continues, 2023 will be another difficult year and we expect acquisition to continue to be a challenge. But, with the pandemic behind us, we will see people continuing to return to in-person connection.
We’re predicting continued slow-but-steady growth for both in-person events and social campaigns.
And we’re not alone in our optimism: almost two-thirds of this year’s Top 25 are predicting increased income in 2023. So, if you’re feeling optimistic, you’re in good company.