Participation in fundraising events down by a fifth

The proportion of UK adults to sign up for mass participation fundraising events this year, such as fun runs and marathons, has slumped by around a fifth compared to recent years.

According to research by online fundraising firm Enthuse the participation rate currently stands at 31% of adults who have signed up for an event so far in 2022.

This is down on the average for the last five years of around half of UK adults under the age of 65 taking part in a mass event for a charity.

Enthuse compared this year with the averages dating back to 2018 to get a “more normalised” long term comparison, as the last two years have been so heavily impacted by the Covid pandemic and postponements of events.

Barriers to signing up this year include increasing concerns from people around their own fitness levels to take part in events such as fundraising runs. This was cited as a key barrier among 43% of those who have not taken part in an event.

Another barrier is a reluctance to ask people for sponsorship, mentioned by 34% of those surveyed by Enthuse. Meanwhile, one in ten said they are too busy to raise funds.

“It has been and continues to be a difficult period for charities and mass event organisers,” said Enthuse, which advises charities to “be smart about their targeting of audiences to take part”.

It advises charities to “develop a range of campaigns and creatives that appeal to numerous audiences”.

This includes highlighting the health and wellbeing benefits of taking part in a mass participation event.

Enthuse’s research found that maintaining health and fitness has risen from 35% to 54% over the last five years as a motivating factor among those that have taken part. Meanwhile, improving their mental health has grown from 35% to 50% as a reason for participation.

This could prove a persuasive factor among people concerned about their own fitness levels, suggests Enthuse.

Need to attract ‘new blood’

Charities also need to attract “new blood” and encourage those that have not taken part in an event before to sign up, as only 1% of those who have not taken part before in a charity event have signed up this year.

Late registration also needs to be tackled by charities, said Enthuse, as almost two thirds of participants are signing up less than three months before the event. This leaves them with less time to fundraise.

Charities also need to continue highlighting how money raised through events supports their work. Fundraising for charity remains the most important factor in taking part, cited by 68% of participants.

“After the disruption to mass events over the past couple of years, 2022 was always going to present some obstacles for fundraising,” said Enthuse founder and chief executive Chester Mojay-Sinclare.

“The encouraging news for charities is that those who are running are mostly doing so to support good causes.

“The top advice from experienced fundraisers is to start fundraising for the 2023 events season right away, by reaching out to your full network and updating your fundraising page with a compelling story about the cause.

“Charities could also benefit from creating engaging content to help supporters build fitness and outline how to fundraise compassionately during a recession.”

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