Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Thirty: 2014 Results

P2P Thirty CanadaCanada’s 30 largest peer-to-peer fundraising programs brought in more than $275 million for charities in 2014, according to a first-of-its kind study by Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Canada.

The study, known as the Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Thirty, offers Canadian charities the opportunity to explore benchmarking data about peer-to-peer campaigns. It also provides interesting insights about the state of peer-to-peer fundraising.

For many of Canada’s largest peer-to-peer programs, 2014 proved to be a difficult year.

For 16 of the programs, revenues dropped compared with 2013 and collectively the top 30 programs posted a 6% decline in gross revenues.

Big Campaigns Struggle

The overall decline was driven, in large part, by struggles at some of Canada’s largest and best-known programs.

Movember Canada, which had been one of the country’s fastest-growing campaigns in recent years, struggled in 2014 — as its revenues declined by 32 percent, or $10.8 million.

Movember remains one of Canada’s largest and most successful campaigns, ranking No. 4 on this year’s list. But its decline had an outsized impact on the overall results. If you remove its decline, the other 29 programs declined by only 3%.

Canada’s largest peer-to-peer fundraising program (in terms of gross revenue) was the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer, a series of four cycling events that raised $42.4 million to support cancer research in 2014.

It narrowly edged out the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, a program that enabled nearly 130,000 participants in 400 locations to raise $42.2 million in 2014.

But while these two programs are Canada’s largest, each actually saw its revenues decline compared with 2013.

Fast-Growing Campaigns

The fastest growing program in the top 30 was the Coldest Night of the Year, a winter walk series organized by Blue Sea Philanthropy. The campaign, which is held in 80 communities, raised $2,534,761 in 2014 to help “the hungry, homeless and hurting.”

The second fastest-growing program was the Canaccord Genuity Great Camp Adventure Walk, a camp-themed event in Toronto that grew 41% to raise $1,900,000 for the SickKids Foundation.

“There is still room for growth for many traditional walk, run and ride programs, but it is notable that the two fastest-growing programs in the top 30 were novel, family oriented-events,,” says Amy Milne, cofounder of Beyond, a new Toronto-based peer-to-peer fundraising consulting firm that co-sponsored the inaugural Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Canada Top 30 study.

The growth of these programs also shows the continued promise of peer-to-peer fundraising — especially as online and mobile fundraising technology continues to evolve.

“In our increasingly networked society, the prospects for peer-to-peer fundraising are tremendous for nonprofits that know how to leverage technology, personal outreach and the power of their causes,” said Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Canada President David Hessekiel.