Peer-to-peer fundraising is growing in the Netherlands, according to recently released research, with the Dutch becoming more comfortable with asking their contacts to give.
And as Dutch peer-to-peer fundraisers get more adept at soliciting their friends and co-workers, they’re raising significantly more money for the causes they support.
Since Peerworks Consulting started collecting data five years ago on the top 20 peer-to-peer Dutch fundraising programs, the number of participants in the top rides, runs, swims and other events designed to raise money for NGOs has only increased by two percent. But the amount of money raised has jumped 32 percent to 46,946,690 euros.
How can it be that revenue increased so much for initiatives that recruit people to take on challenges and ask their contacts for donations, but participation was relatively flat? The answer lies in the changing culture among Dutch nonprofit organizations, says Jillian Stewart, founder of Peerworks Consulting which helps NGOs create such programs.
“Dutch nonprofits have created a fundraising culture,” Stewart said. “Fundraising has become normal. People are more comfortable asking for (more) money.”
The benchmark study looked at more than 40 events and represents the changing face of peer-to-peer fundraising in Holland, said Paola van der Lans of Peerworks.
“The report gets downloaded by many people outside of the country,” she said. “It’s as if they’re saying, ‘If the Dutch can do that, we can do that.’”
The 2018 report showed that 11 of the top 20 events benefitted cancer organizations and the top program indeed benefits cancer research. The Alpe d’HuZes raised 12.2 million euros with 4,486 participants biking, running or hiking up a section of the Tour de France route (some doing it as many as six times.)
The bar to be counted among Holland’s top fundraising events rose six percent this year with 545,000 euros raised by the 20th organization, a group fighting multiple sclerosis called Stichting Klimmen tegen MS. Overall, the top 20 raked in 37 million euros, 8 million euros more than in 2017.
Cycling was the Netherlands’ most popular type of peer-to-peer fundraising activity, which is not surprising for a country that practically lives on two wheels. These events took place not only in the Netherlands, but also outside of the country—in the Alps, in Africa, and on routes that crossed European borders. Many of the events let participants choose from hiking, running, or biking. The next most popular activity was swimming with participants stroking through the Dutch canal systems.
Though the total amount raised by Dutch peer-to-peer fundraising is quite small compared to the United States ($1.39 billion were raised by the top thirty US programs in 2018), the Dutch experience has many similarities to that what we’re seeing through data collected through the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum.