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Income grows 16% in a year for top 25 mass participation charity events

CRUK Race for Life branding on a bag
CRUK’s Race for Life takes top spot once more in the Massive Top 25

The top 25 charity-owned mass participation events saw 16% growth in income compared to the previous year in 2023, according to the Massive Top 25 list.

In total these events raised £132mn and attracted 900,000 participants. The four biggest events showed no change in ranking from the previous year: Race for Life, Macmillan Coffee Morning, Movember, and The Mighty Hike Series, and brought in £77mn. This represents 25% growth on 2022 and accounts for over half of all income generated by the Top 25.

New Top 25 entries

This year’s Massive Top 25 saw two new entries this year, both from Cancer Research UK: The Big Hike challenge (ranking 24th), which raised £1.5mn in its first year, and the new virtual Skipping Challenge which entered the list in fifth place, having raised £7mn.

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Income from Facebook & virtual events falls

Overall however, Facebook and virtual challenge events dropped for a second year with with five in the Top 25 for 2023. Income from virtual challenges fell by 13% overall, while social and inperson events grew by 21% and 16% respectively.

Fastest growers

Breast Cancer Now’s Afternoon Tea was the fasted growing event in 2023, raising £1.42mn and ranking 21st with 66% growth in income. Other fast growers were Sober October with 53% growth and Marsden March, which saw income rise by 50%.

Rising costs a challenge

While the report shows that “Many in-person events returned to pre-pandemic levels, while some – such as Shine and The Mighty Hike Series – even exceeded them”, it also notes that last year was not without its challenges: “High inflation contributing to higher event delivery costs have been a knock to the sector during the cost-of-living crisis. Some teams are reporting rising CPAs on digital channels and the challenge of standing out in a crowded market. With Meta remaining the predominant channel for event marketing, teams are wary that additional fees and changes to the platform could impact fundraising.”

Optimism for year ahead

The report voices optimism for the year ahead, saying that “Mass events have grown steadily over the past 12 months, average fundraising values are holding strong and there appears to be a renewed appetite to get involved, especially in events offering a chance to come together in real life.”

It is also an optimism shared by shared by the charity teams behind the Top 25, with more 70% expecting to see participant numbers grow next year and 59% anticipating an increase in fundraising value.

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