The Independent Fundraising Event (IFE) Study is first-of-its-kind research which has provided insights into IFE program execution, adoption and growth. Overall, the study found that IFE programs, also known as DIY fundraising or third-party events, are emerging as a core strategy within peer-to-peer fundraising in large part to meet the wishes of donors. These programs are not replacing traditional peer-to-peer events, but supplementing them by allowing donors to fundraise on their own.

Of the 239 study respondents, 42% report that they currently operate an IFE program. Of those, 63% expect at least 10% growth within their IFE program during the next year and 25% of nonprofit organizations expect their IFE program to increase by greater than 20% annual growth. This expected growth is vastly higher than the expected growth of most peer-to-peer events. Not only is growth expected to be strong, first year revenue goals are also impressive with 29% expecting to raise more than $100,000 and 6% expect to raise more than $1 million.

With such great expectations, nonprofits of all sizes and for all causes are launching or growing IFE programs. Though donor-driven, the best IFEs are a purposeful part of a nonprofit’s peer-to-peer fundraising program. Here are three recommendations for successfully incorporating an IFE into your fundraising program.

  1. Have a strategy. A necessity when launching any new initiative, conceptual development was listed as the primary skill required to launch an IFE program. Proper time and energy should be invested to ensure that a strong strategy is in place.
  2. Choose the appropriate IFE model. There are three basic IFE program models: all-in-one/open, hub and campaign. A hub model may be a great place to start, but once experience is gained an organization may choose to move to the open model.
  3. Listen to your donors. If you are having doubts about launching an IFE program, consider sending out a poll to your donors or organizing a focus group with your target audience to see if there is demand for one. Many respondents listed donor-driven demand as the primary reason for launching their program.

To learn more about the current state of IFE programs or for other recommendations for a successful program, download the Independent Fundraising Events (IFE) Study from Charity Dynamics.

Originally published on Fundraising Success on March 10, 2014.