Blended fundraising events to continue into 2022, report suggests

Charity fundraising, which combines face-to-face and online involvement, is set to continue into 2022 despite a return to in-person events, a report has found.

A report by agency Massive and JustGiving has found an increase in in-person fundraising events during 2021 as UK society emerged from lockdowns and Covid-19.

This is set to continue into 2022 with almost all (93%) charities that ran face-to-face events before the pandemic saying they will reintroduce them next year.

But the report says that the return of face-to-face fundraising will not mean an end to virtual events, many of which were specifically created to replace cancelled or postponed fundraisers during lockdown.

Instead, face-to-face events will continue to retain an online element under blended fundraising arrangements, to boost their reach and money raising potential.

“What is clear is that virtual events will no more replace real-life physical events than the return of physical events will bring about a decline in virtual challenges,” said the report.

“They have co-existed before, but what may be new could be the way successful charities use elements of both type of events and different platforms to cost effectively recruit supporters, build communities and drive long term engagement through their mass participation portfolios.”

The research involved analysis of 150 campaigns, which involved more than 450,000 participants and collectively raised more than £39m for 93 charities, including MND Association.

The charity’s community fundraising manager Clare Salter said: “Virtual events aren’t just a one off, we feel confident that a blended approach between virtual and real-life physical events will continue for the next couple of years.”

Of the events analysed 14 raised more than £1m and almost half (44%) raised more than £100,000.

Physical challenges, such as sponsored running, dominate virtual charity events, making up 87% of all this form of fundraising.

“Just as they did in 2020, physical challenges still dominate virtual events making up 87% of the events in this year’s survey. Overall, running and walking challenges remain the most popular, accounting for 57% of our 150 events and 73% of funds raised,” added the report.

Massive’s report concedes that the survey was completed before the arrival of the Omicron variant of Covid to arrive in the UK. This has already seen events in Europe cancelled and postponed.

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