Growth outpaced increase by US programs
Strengthened by learnings from the first painful year of the pandemic, nonprofits producing Canada’s top thirty peer-to-peer fundraising programs collectively increased revenue by 17.5% in 2021, according to a study released by the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum. Comparatively, the top thirty programs in the US grew by 3.5% in 2021.
The $154 million dollar figure for the 30 largest programs in 2021 was up from $133 million in 2020, a year in which the pandemic slashed fundraising by 43.5% compared to pre-COVID-19 levels.
Peer-to-peer fundraising is the practice of having a nonprofit’s supporters take part in an activity such as a walk, bike ride or other real or virtual challenge and reach out to their network of friends, family, neighbors and colleagues for donations.
“This year’s Canadian Peer-to-Peer Top Thirty study reflects impressive levels of innovation that the pandemic fostered in some organizations and the progress many groups made in operating in the COVID-19 environment,” said P2PPF President David Hessekiel. “Despite another year of uncertainty and volatility, 2021 showed a great rebound for Canada’s largest programs — 22 programs registered gains, while only eight suffered losses – showing great reason for hope that peer-to-peer fundraising will do even better in 2022 and beyond.”
This 9th annual edition of the Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Top Thirty Survey is sponsored by Charity Dynamics, a technology product and services provider to nonprofits.
“The last 2 years have been tough in many ways for everybody, but the peer-to-peer community keeps moving along,” commented Charity Dynamics CEO Meghan Dankovich. “Throughout this difficult period, we were able to slow down, learn from the changes to our world and evolve to the new normal. In-person events are coming back strong, but we cannot sleep on virtual and hybrid – one of the keys is to incorporate these experiences across all channels to meet your supporters where they are. Or risk losing them altogether.”
Among the data sure to be of greatest interest to industry followers:
- Movember Canada remained Canada’s largest peer-to-peer fundraising program at $24.1 million even though its revenue dropped by 0.3%.
- The 30th program on the list, the Canadian Cancer Society’s Cops for Cancer, raised $1.18 million, a 9% increase over the revenue needed to make the top thirty in 2020.
- The Terry Fox Foundation’s Terry Fox Run (#2) showed the largest dollar increase of any program by growing by just under $5.5 million to $19 million.
- The Canadian Cancer Society’s Dry Feb Campaign experienced the largest percentage increase, 477%, by bringing in close to $5.2 million, jumping into the Top 30 for the first time in the #9 spot.
- Two more programs were newcomers to the 2021 list: SickKids Foundation’s Million Reasons Run (#21) and The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation’s Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer (#22).
- Three previous top thirty programs dropped off this year’s list: Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada’s Heart & Stroke Canvass and My Own Fundraiser programs and MS Society of Canada’s We Challenge MS.
Major reasons for the ups and downs leading programs experienced vary widely. Some related to timing (e.g. Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation’s Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer was able to hold an in-person event during a window of low COVID outbreaks; while others were forced to remain virtual due to timing.); others reflected innovative programming (e.g. the Heart & Stroke Foundation made a significant investment in building a mobile app experience for their virtual Ride for Heart event); while others doubled down on offering more fundraising resources for campaign leaders, such as Movember Canada).
The top ten Canadian programs by gross revenue in 2021 were:
- Movember Canada, Movember Canada: $24,064,330, down 0.3%
- The Terry Fox Run, The Terry Fox Foundation: $19,000,000, up 40.7%
- CIBC Run for the Cure, Canadian Cancer Society: $10,612,000, up 12.9%
- Coldest Night of the Year, Blue Sea Philanthropy: $9,823,298, up 56.7%
- Great Cycle Challenge, SickKids Foundation: $9,487,128, up 0.1%
- The Ride to Conquer Cancer, The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation: $9,350,000, up 2.7%
- Light The Night, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada: $6,420,517, up 27.1%
- World Partnership Walk, Aga Khan Foundation Canada: $5,795,299, up 11.4%
- Dry Feb, Canadian Cancer Society: $5,184,882, up 476.6%
- IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s, Alzheimer Society of Canada: $5,150,000, up 2.1%
About the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum: The Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum provides managers of peer-to-peer fundraising programs with practical information, valuable connections and recognition for outstanding achievement via www.peertopeerforum.com, conferences, workshops and distance learning programs.
About Charity Dynamics: Charity Dynamics is a strategy, fundraising and online marketing firm for nonprofit organizations. Charity Dynamics delivers what charities need to fulfill their missions: more awareness, supporters, engagement and donations. Our solutions include strategic consulting, creative services, fundraising solutions, and innovative technology. At Charity Dynamics, our mission is to fulfill yours. For more information, please visit www.charitydynamics.com.