Non-medical charities perform well in UK's top 25 mass-participation events

Income fell by only 1 per cent, but the top 25 events remained unchanged on the previous year for the first time since the rankings were first published

The biggest non-medical charity events in the UK’s 25 highest-earning mass-participation events increased their income by 35 per cent in 2018, according to figures from the events management firm Massive.

Massive said it believed the large increase showed that social causes, such as homelessness and international development, were beginning to cut through to a new generation of donors.

Despite this, the annual list of the UK’s top 25 fundraising events was still dominated by health and medicine, with the top four events all run by medical charities and accounting for £77.6m of the total £133.6m raised last year.

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life was once again the biggest mass-participation event, raising £37.1m.

Macmillan Cancer Support’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning was the only other event to raise more than £10m, with £27m generated for the charity.

Total income across the top 25 events dropped by 1 per cent in 2018, Massive said, but this was the first time the top 25 events in the study had not changed since the previous year.

The amount of income required to make the top 25 list increased slightly from £950,000 to £960,000.

Cancer Research UK’s Dryathlon – where participants forgo alcohol for a month – enjoyed the biggest increase in income, up by 53 per cent.

John Tasker, director of Massive, said this year’s results showed there was strong demand for mass-participation events, despite a crowded market.

But he added that more innovation was needed after several established events, including the top two biggest earners, posted falls in income 

"Over the past six years we’ve regularly seen new events launch successfully and deliver significant income in their first year – and older campaigns refresh to reverse declines – so it does feel like there is space for more innovation," Tasker said.

"Two of the fastest-growing events in the top 25 were introduced less than two years ago, and four out of five of the events that are less than four years old grew in 2018, suggesting there is an opportunity and an appetite out there for new mass-participation events."

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