The dirty little secret about peer-to-peer event donors is…

Looks like they might not be all that great of donors after all.  Before I get skewered by my friends who run special events or work at firms that help nonprofits run peer-to-peer events, I’m not arguing here against special event fundraising.

However, if you run peer-to-peer events or are considering doing so, you need to read this analysis from Convio.  They conducted an extensive survey of their clients who run peer-to-peer fundraising events and found some very interesting things.  And their findings are completely opposite of what I would have expected:

Donors who are also participants show less value per year no matter the year in which they are acquired.  And they also have lower long-term values than non-participant donors.

So contrary to everything I would have expected, increased engagement through event participation appears to have no positive impact on donor value. 

This is really important for a number of reasons. 

Most importantly, this analysis should impact how your organization invests in acquiring new donors.  If your current fundraising model is built exclusively (or even heavily) on peer-to-peer events to acquire new donors, you need to explore other ways of acquiring donors.

Additionally, make sure you take note of the recommendations Convio provided to maximize revenue from your peer-to-peer event donors.