Major community events (MCEs) have long been a mainstay of charity fundraising strategies over the world. But despite their continued popularity with supporters (particularly here in Australia), a significant proportion of charities still don’t participate in MCEs and are missing out on their share of what has become a multi-million dollar fundraising stream.
Individual participation in MCEs has never been higher. As documented in our 2018 white paper, Unlocking the Power of Major Community Events, the number of active fundraising pages created by individuals participating in MCEs increased by 36% between 2016 and 2017. Supporters are jumping on this trend in their thousands – so why aren’t charities doing the same?
Three reasons MCEs should be on your radar in 2020
- It’s where the money is. Our study showed that, in the space of just five years, the number of donations made to Everydayhero members through MCEs more than tripled - from $102,000 in 2013 to $315,000 in 2017. It also found that charities who make MCEs part of their event strategy raise, on average, 15% more than those who don’t. The key outtake is this: MCEs are where people are choosing to donate their hard-earned cash. And we hate to state the obvious, but you’ve got to be in it to win it.
- It’s easier and more cost-effective than running your own RWR event. For charities on a budget, it’s not realistic to be able to run your own sizeable community event. Whether your challenge is lack of time, money, resources or (more than likely) all three, piggybacking off an existing event makes a whole lot of sense. Yes, there are many other charities taking part which can make for a cluttered space, but the pros typically outweigh the cons. For example, you’ll benefit from a sizeable marketing budget dedicated to promoting the event which makes it much easier to recruit, and you don’t need to concern yourself with the complex challenges that come with event planning, management and on-the-day logistics.
- You’ll benefit from being part of a bigger community. Or, more specifically, your supporters will. Feeling like they belong to something bigger than themselves and the sense of shared purpose and community this brings is a powerful motivator. It’s one of the reasons why participation in MCEs shows no sign of waning. You can tap into this psychology too: build your own community for supporters taking part in a particular event by creating a landing page where you can celebrate milestones, feature star fundraisers and drive donations in the lead up to the event and share successes and results post-event.
Which event/s should you choose?
Once you’ve decided to make MCEs part of your strategy, you’ll need to give some thought to which event or events you’re going to focus on.
From endurance and obstacle races to fun runs and triathlons, the range of options is huge - and it’s growing. Check out the full list of MCEs on Everydayhero, but remember that it’s not necessarily the biggest and most well-known events that are going to give you the best results. There are more new events being added to the calendar every year, many of which take place outside of the major metropolitan cities - this can be a big plus if your supporter base is more evenly spread. You may also find that smaller events provide you with greater visibility and cut through.
The key is not to spread yourself too thinly - while MCEs take less planning and effort than owned events, you’ll still need to dedicate resources to recruiting, coaching and supporting your participants. Read our post on how to maximise your MCE fundraising for some great tips on getting started.