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New Survey Ranks Country's Most Successful Athletic Event Fundraisers

Submitted by: Engage for Good

Categories: Corporate Social Responsibility, Philanthropy & Corporate Contributions

Posted: May 22, 2007 – 11:59 PM EST


Run Walk Ride Fundraising Council Study Finds 30 Top-Producing Athletic Events Generate over $1.4 Billion Annually for Sponsoring Nonprofits

May 22 /CSRwire/ - May 22, 2007- The first ranking of programs that move millions people to work out on the weekends in support of good causes has been released by the new Run Walk Ride Fundraising Council (

Drawing on data from the 30 top-producing athletic fundraising event programs of 2006, the survey puts the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life at the front of the pack, followed by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training and the March of Dimes' WalkAmerica.

According to the survey, the top ten active events in terms of revenue are:

Organization Event 2006 Gross Avenue
American Cancer Society Relay For Life $375,000,000*
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Team in Training $114,000,000+
March of Dimes WalkAmerica $110,000,000
American Heart Association Start! Heart Walk $90,000,000*
National Philanthropic Trust Breast Cancer 3-Day $85,900,000
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk to Cure Diabetes $75,100,000+
Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation Race for the Cure $74,358,874
National Multiple Sclerosis Society MS Bike Ride $67,441,320
National Multiple Sclerosis Society MS Walk $53,237,302
American Heart Association Jump Rope for Heart $53,000,000*

* Notes: Figures represent calendar or fiscal 2006
* Asterisked figures represent net revenue. + figures based on public records.

The top 30 events studied generated over $1.43 billion from event-related donations, fees and sponsorship.

"Step by step, pedal by pedal, dollar by dollar this study shows that charities are engaging millions of people to work out their bodies and wallets to support good causes," said David Hessekiel, president of the Run Walk Ride Fundraising Council. "The field of athletic event fundraising owes it to itself and to its supporters to share best practices that lead to growth and greater efficiency – that's the goal of gathering this data and creating the council."

Looking at just the top ten athletic event fundraising programs reveals tremendous diversity -- short group walks, 100-mile bike races and in-school jump roping competitions are among the many activities represented.

Some of the top programs raise all of their funds via one-day, one-location events: the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge supporting the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, for example, collected $28,000,000 in donations and sponsorship by engaging 4,600 riders in 2006. Most top programs are built on national series like the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s MS Walk which involved 274,000 people in 600 events to raise $53 million.

"These survey results provide concrete benchmarks against which we can gauge our events," said Amy Medich, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's national director of campaign training and analysis. "This information has never before been readily available to us."

The inaugural survey was the subject of the opening presentation at the first Run Walk Ride Fundraising Conference held in New York on May 18. While the study focused on gross revenue, type of event and number of participants, future inquiries will delve more deeply into issues of fundraising efficiency and best practices, Hessekiel said.

"Athletic event fundraising is an expanding field, but one in which most of us have been working in isolation," said Kathryn Stack, special events and cause marketing director of the Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization. "I'm very excited that the Run Walk Ride Fundraising Council is helping us share statistics and best practices."

Top line survey data is available for review at Detailed survey results and related benchmarking data on America’s top 30 active event fundraisers are available to members of the Run Walk Ride Fundraising Council.

Run Walk Ride Fundraising Council

Athletic event fundraising generates over $1.4 billion annually, but event managers and marketers have had few resources to lean on. Now, as members of the Run Walk Ride Fundraising Council (RWRFC), active event professionals can learn from the experts, compare notes with colleagues and access hard-to-find data from the field via conferences, workshops, teleclasses and Web resources ( RWRFC membership is the surest way to win the active event fundraising race, generating more dollars and professional satisfaction.

For more information, please contact:

Phone: (914) 921-3914

For more from this organization:

Engage for Good


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