Peer-to-peer fundraising, also called “social fundraising” or shortened to “P2P fundraising,” can be an easy way for nonprofits to raise a significant amount of money and expand their donor base.
If you’ve determined that a peer-to-peer campaign is the way to go for your organization and want it to be successful, you’ll need to:
- Determine what kind of campaign you want to run
- Identify your key fundraisers
- Use a great peer-to-peer platform
- Empower your supporters
- Tell a story
- Keep track of your donor acquisition and retention
So let’s get started!
1. Determine what kind of campaign you want to run
Did you know there are different types of peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns out there?
It’s true! These are the three most popular kinds of peer-to-peer campaigns:
Time-Based Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
Time-based peer-to-peer fundraising is pretty self-explanatory. It is a fundraising campaign that takes place within a fixed amount of time.
Usually these campaigns will span a few weeks, but they can last as long as a year!
Time-based fundraising events are probably the most popular peer-to-peer fundraising format; event-based P2P events (like 5Ks or bike rides) are examples of time-based fundraisers.
Rolling Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
Rolling peer-to-peer campaigns don’t have a definitive end date. They can, in theory, go on forever. They are usually intended for general fundraising purposes.
Rolling campaigns are a great opportunity to grow your donor base and explain your nonprofit’s mission to a lot of people at once.
Giving Days are a growing trend for nonprofits who want a challenge. When an organization participates in a Giving Day, they set a monetary goal that needs to be raised in 24 hours or less.
The Giving Day is usually organized by a larger organization, and many nonprofits participate in the fundraising sprint. They typically rely on their friends, supporters, and donors to spread the word about their participation on their social networks.
Many nonprofits who participate in Giving Days can raise a significant amount in donations, especially if their participation in the event gets a lot of attention on social media. People usually get extremely excited about raising a lot of money in such a short amount of time.
These three types of peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns can be used interchangeably and with great success depending on your nonprofit’s particular needs and goals.
2. Identify your key fundraisers
Once you’ve decided which kind of campaign you’re going to launch, you need to identify who your main supporters are going to be.
They’ll be the people who will start to spread the word about your peer-to-peer fundraiser, which will help attract new fundraisers and will hopefully help your fundraiser gain some traction quickly (which is important, especially for time-based events!).
Since these are the people who will be out fundraising on your behalf, you want to make sure that they have:
- A strong connection to your nonprofit.
- A good sense of your mission and the specific project for which you’re raising money.
- A strong personality and a go-getter attitude.
- A giving history with your nonprofit.
- A network of easily-reached potential donors.
These people might be readily apparent to you. You might be able to picture a loyal supporter who has given both money and time to your organization over the years.
But if you are left with a giant question mark over your head, don’t worry. Just dig into your CRM or donor database to look at past giving history and nonprofit involvement.
It’s also useful to reach out to donors who have previously expressed interest in having a larger role in your organization. Maybe a loyal donor wants to do more than give money. Maybe a volunteer wants to have a bigger role.
These are the people that you need to recruit for your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.
Whoever you choose to spearhead your P2P campaign, you’ll want to make sure that they also have a social network of potential supporters. You might have the most loyal supporter in the world, but they’ll be most successful if they have an active social media presence with friends and followers that might be interested in your cause.
Choose supporters who have a mix of the aforementioned qualities to give your nonprofit the best chance at growing your donor base and raising a lot of money.
3. Use a great peer-to-peer platform
The peer-to-peer fundraising platform that you choose will be one of the determining factors that contributes to the success of your fundraiser.
A great peer-to-peer platform can be the difference between acquiring a handful of donors or doubling or tripling your donor base.
Because a great fundraising experience is necessary if you want your participants to actively raise money for you, look for a platform that has the following features:
- Individual or team pages: Your fundraisers might want to personalize their own fundraising messages and stories to their donors. Choose a platform that gives them the ability to create their own pages or team pages (that are still tied to your organization, of course).
- Comprehensive social sharing mechanisms: Peer-to-peer fundraising is all about social sharing. And since 90% of American households have at least one social media account, it’s crucial that your campaign’s page is shareable across multiple social platforms.
- Merchandise options: Many peer-to-peer fundraisers are tied to events like 5Ks and Fun Runs. These events usually have merchandise like t-shirts, water bottles, and other products attached to them. If your donors want to purchase these items, your peer-to-peer platform should be able to give them this option on the campaign’s page.
- Customizable pages: Your nonprofit is unique. Your peer-to-peer campaign is unique. But if your platform gives you a standard cookie-cutter layout, it might not be for you. Use a platform that you can easily customize to fit your organization’s needs.
- Cost-effectiveness: You don’t want to raise a lot of money just to have your peer-to-peer platform take a massive cut of those funds. Look for a platform that can offer stellar service without a shiny price tag. Most companies will either take a percentage of donations or a flat fee per donation processed.
Choosing a peer-to-peer platform should be an important conversation among your nonprofit’s staff (and perhaps your main fundraisers!).
On average, each crowdfunding donation is about $90. With a great peer-to-peer platform, your average individual donations could be even more than that!
4. Empower your supporters
Once you’ve determined what kind of campaign you’re going to run, identified your key influencers, and chosen a peer-to-peer platform, it’s time to give your supporters the fundraising power that they need!
You’ll want to provide your fundraisers with the following resources to help them make the most of their peer-to-peer experience:
- Email and social media templates: Your fundraisers don’t have to use a template every single time they talk about your campaign online, but it helps to have a starting point, especially if this is their first peer-to-peer fundraiser. These templates can be as detailed or vague as you want. Just make sure that they communicate the need for funds to be raised and explain how people can donate.
- Acknowledgment and follow-up templates: Your fundraisers should have ample resources for thanking the people that contribute to the peer-to-peer campaign (and your organization should send all donors a thank-you as well!).
- Online training and support: If something breaks, your fundraisers need to know who to turn to. Make sure that they’re all aware of your training and support systems to keep your fundraiser running smoothly.
By giving your fundraisers the tools they need, they can successfully go out and raise money on your behalf!
5. Tell a story
Let’s be honest: people aren’t likely to give to your organization (which they may never have heard of) just because their friend or family member asks them.
That’s why, instead of just asking for donations, you need to tell a story that goes along with your peer-to-peer campaign—something that will really tug at people’s heartstrings and encourage them to give to your cause.
Telling a story will not only encourage others to support you — it can also give your fundraisers a way to broach the topic of donating with their friends, family members, and coworkers.
For instance: instead of Sara Supporter emailing her aunt and saying, “How would you like to donate $20 to [fill in the blank]?”, she can lead with a story about someone your nonprofit helps or a community you’re improving.
Your nonprofit’s story should be center-stage on your peer-to-peer campaign’s page. Most platforms have an option for nonprofits and fundraisers to copy and paste some text into a prominent place on the page. That way, when donors visit the page, the first thing they see is a story about the people, animals, or community that your nonprofit is helping.
Additionally, donors can share their own connections to your cause and tell their own story!
Storytelling is necessary for nonprofits who need to convince a lot of people that their cause is one worth supporting. Make sure that your story is compelling enough to grab donors’ attention and encourages them to donate.
6. Keep track of your donor acquisition and retention
Once your fundraisers have started spreading the word about your peer-to-peer campaign, you can sit back and watch the donations roll in, right?
While you may not be actively doing all the fundraising, you still need to be keeping track of your brand new donors and welcoming them into your organization.
Make sure that you’re sending out prompt acknowledgment letters or welcome packets and logging all available information about your new donors into your database or CRM.
You’ll want to update all of your current information about your loyal supporters, as well.
That way, when another campaign rolls around, perhaps a larger, more time-intensive one, you’ll know who you can count on to start fundraising on your behalf again.
Keep track of all of your incoming donors’ information so that your organization is in a better position to ask for donations in the future.
Hopefully, with these six tips, you’re ready to get out there and start your own peer-to-peer campaign.
There are, of course, other peer-to-peer fundraising tips out there, but I hope that this article helps get you started!
For more info, check out Qgiv’s Guide to Peer-to-Peer Fundraising for answers to all of your questions!
What about your nonprofit? Have you recently launched a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign? What strategies did you use? Were they successful? Let me know in the comments section!