Phoebe Sabin: Keys to success in event fundraising

15 Feb 2024 Expert insight

The customer engagement manager at JustGiving looks at the event fundraising landscape and offers tips on how to succeed in 2024…

By pavel1964/Adobe


This content has been supplied by a commercial partner.

Now in February, charities are already gearing up for a year full of fundraising. To empower charities on their event fundraising journey, we are sharing everything we know to help set them up for success.

Insights and trends

To kick things off, let's delve into the event fundraising landscape and glean insights from recent trends on JustGiving. The positive news is that participation is on the rise, with a 13% increase in fundraising pages created for 2023 compared to 2019.

Notably for fundraising events, running and swimming events have returned to pre-pandemic popularity levels, while cycling has seen a slight decline. Running still dominates as the biggest single category with 42% of pages created on JustGiving. Walks and treks the next largest categories. Given the crossover between these two event types, they together make up 87% of pages created – some food for thought as you consider different audiences in 2024.

Proportion of pages created for organised events on JustGiving in 2023

Planning your event

At JustGiving, event fundraising success is typically measured through three key metrics. We encourage you to use the same to review your charity’s fundraising results, and help you raise more:

  • Page creation: Driving more people to create more fundraising pages for your charity, earlier.
  • Page activation: Inspiring those people to begin fundraising and receive the first donation to their pages.
  • Page value: Giving fundraisers proven tools and tips to raise more and increase your charity’s overall amount raised from the event.

A key strategy for success is to work backwards from the scheduled date of your event. Encourage earlier page creation to drive momentum well in advance, and in turn, prompt fundraisers to ‘activate’ their pages earlier too.

Avoiding a flurry of activity nearer, or on the event date is one of the best ways to help your charity raise more.  

Creating and promoting your event

Whether your event is large or small, creating a JustGiving campaign page is an important first step.

Once you have got the basics set up, your focus should shift to promotion. Consider the best ways to connect with your existing network as well as reach new audiences. Campaign deep links, QR codes, and a mix of digital and print channels can help engage with supporters and maximise fundraising.

Best practices

Some top-level best practices to adopt when planning your event include:

  1. Leverage your existing supporters and event data

Your existing supporters are a great resource when planning your marketing and communications. Leverage your current audience as advocates by introducing competitions or incentives to get them sharing your event on social media. If you have supporter data from previous events, you can use this information to create look-a-like lists to reference for future outreach.

  1. Engage with fundraisers early and often

Happy fundraisers make for high-performing fundraisers, so staying in touch with your fundraisers is essential for your event’s success. Begin by integrating regular campaign updates into your communications, encourage some healthy competition, and build a sense of team spirit.

  1. Thank your fundraisers and donors

Speaking of team spirit, gratitude is a powerful tool in fundraiser stewardship. Acknowledging, celebrating and thanking supporters fosters stronger, longer-term relationships. Regardless of method, it’s important to champion your fundraisers’ training achievements as well as fundraising milestones.

Your go-to guide for the busy year ahead

Whether your charity is involved in a mass participation event like the London Marathon, you’re tackling your charity’s own event, or anything in between, there are a number of keys to success.

That’s why we’ve created the Event Fundraising Guide to serve as the ultimate toolkit for charities, full of insights, tips to improve supporter experience, and inspiration to take events to the next level.

This should help your charity navigate the dynamic landscape of event fundraising in 2024 and beyond.

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