Many of the nation’s leading peer-to-peer fundraising programs had significant declines on returns during the past decade. The trend, coupled with an overall increase in giving through the fundraising mechanism, has shrunk the gap between peer-to-peer Davids and Goliaths.
Four of the top five peer-to-peer campaigns in Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum’s top 30 list this year, American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, March of Dimes’ March for Babies, Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s Komen Race for the Cure Series and National MS Society’s Bike MS all recorded decreases in gross totals from 2014 to 2015 by a collective 7.7 percent. March for Babies’ and Relay for Life’s totals are both down from 2006, the year of the initial top 30 list, by a combined 28.7 percent.
Total revenues from the 30 largest programs increased by 9.8 percent from 2006 to 2015, from $1.44 billion to $1.57 billion. The distribution of that revenue has begun to flow toward the bottom, according to David Hessekiel, president of the Rye, N.Y.-headquartered forum. The top 10 programs raised about 80 percent of the list’s revenue in 2006. The top 10 now makes up about two-thirds of the list’s total revenue.
A digital revolution and generational shift has deemphasized one-size-fits-all large programs while also providing more organizations with the opportunity to tap into supporters. “There has been a huge change in consumer attitudes in how they get involved with charities and there is more competition among a much larger group of players,” Hessekiel said.