Mass participation events bounce back strongly with charities raising £132m, says Massive

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After a slower-than-expected recovery in 2022, the UK’s top mass participation fundraising events saw a significant bounce back last year, according to the latest figures released by events agency Massive.

The Massive Top 25 is a list of the UK’s largest charity mass participation events, compiled by the mass, major and outdoor event delivery specialist.

The report, which has been compiled every year since 2013, revealed that the largest 25 charity-owned fundraising events collectively raised £132 million in 2023 – a 16 per cent increase over the previous year.

This growth was fuelled by the return of many major in-person events like Race for Life, Macmillan Coffee Morning, Movember and The Mighty Hike Series exceeding pre-pandemic participation levels.

John Tasker, partner at Massive, said: “2023 marked an impressive resurgence for the mass participation fundraising sector. Despite economic pressures, we saw significant growth in participation numbers across the Top 25 events with over 900,000 people taking part in just the 25 most successful events.”

Accessible in-person events and social activities were among the fastest-growing categories, with in-person events growing 16 per cent and social events growing 21 per cent respectively.

Tasker added: “The attraction of accessible in-person events and social activities appears to be as strong as ever. There was a strong performance from almost all walking challenges in the Top 25 this year, in contrast to Facebook and virtual challenge events which dropped for a second year.”

With Race for life retaining its spot at number one, raising more than £31.2 million, the fastest growing events this year were:

  • Breast Cancer Now’s Afternoon Tea – 66 per cent
  • Sober October – 53 per cent
  • Marsden March – 50 per cent

With inflation easing and disposable incomes forecasted to rise, the future outlook is promising. More than 70 per cent of charities behind this year’s Top 25 expect further participation growth in 2024, while 59 per cent anticipate an increase in fundraising value.

“With mass events on an upward trajectory and potential improvements to the economy, we’re looking forward to seeing what can be achieved by the Top 25 next year”, Tasker concluded.