Surge in virtual events lowers revenue expectations

The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted fundraising from traditional events, such as annual galas and walkathons, to virtual happenings. But, according to research from the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum, the revenues raised from these events often fall below projected revenues.

The organization surveyed 120 North American nonprofits and found two-thirds already had hosted a virtual campaign in place of an existing program or completed a new virtual initiative in addition to what had been planned. Seventy-five percent had virtual campaigns underway or were preparing for one and expect to raise only about half of the amounts they had projected for their traditional campaigns.

Several programs have experienced dramatic fundraising declines. The March of Dimes raised $48.9 million with its 2019 March for Babies and set a pre-pandemic goal of $40 million for this year. But its virtual campaign ended up raising only $25 million. The Arthritis Foundation had set a goal of $8 million for its walks series last spring, but the virtual version raised only $3.5 million.

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