By DonorSearch

Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns have become an extremely popular option for nonprofits in the social networking age. By allowing the most dedicated supporters of your nonprofit the opportunity to create individual mini fundraising pages, they raise money and promote your cause on your behalf! For the savvy organization, peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns represent an incredible opportunity to engage their supporters and community like never before while at the same time reaching their fundraising goals quickly. One of the greatest benefits of this kind of campaign is that they relieve a great deal of the day-to-day operational stresses of a traditional fundraiser, instead allowing you to more focus more fully on the direction and strategy of the campaign as a whole. When launching a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, overarching strategy and communications should always be a consideration. These kinds of campaigns can occasionally do fine on their own, spreading through the relatively small social media circles of your supporters, but for the greatest outcome, they need some conscious outside direction. Each of these peer-to-peer fundraising strategies represents a key aspect of your campaign that needs conscious planning and careful forethought:
  1. Plan your campaign around your timeframe.
  2. Focus your communication while offering new outlets.
  3. Incorporate gamification elements.
  4. Host creative campaign engagement events.
  5. Always remember your campaign’s core purpose.
Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns can be an ideal solution for the nonprofit with a focused vision and a desire to engage donors in new ways. By remembering these core strategies, you can easily build a creative and unique peer-to-peer campaign that will take your organization’s fundraising to the next level! Plan your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign around your ideal timeframe.

1. Plan your campaign around your timeframe.

If your organization has ever conducted a crowdfunding campaign, you know that deadlines and required levels of raised funds tend to be the norm for those kinds of platforms. Peer-to-peer fundraising platforms, on the other hand, tend to be much more adaptable. It’s very important, then, that before you officially launch your peer-to-peer campaign, you carefully consider the timeframe you’d like your campaign to follow. As with any fundraising campaign, but particularly with peer-to-peer campaigns that must keep their participants more actively engaged, timeframe can dictate quite a lot about the campaign’s tone and intensity. Consider all of your options and then choose the strategies most relevant to the campaign’s timeframe. That’s the first step to a successful peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.

How to put this peer-t0-peer fundraising strategy into action

What are your campaign’s exact goals? Are you looking to raise funds for a specific project or cause? Are you trying to grow your general base of support? Both time-based and rolling peer-to-peer strategies are useful to specific kinds of fundraising goals:
  • Time-based, supplementary peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns are used to support very specific projects or events with a clear deadline. The sense of urgency will generate energy, encouraging your supporters to get involved, spread the word, host pages, and donate. These campaigns can generate a lot of interest quickly.
  • Standalone peer-to-peer campaign strategies have longer timeframes and more generalized project goals. Use these campaigns to more generally support your overarching fundraising projects. These campaigns are perfect for reaching new donors, especially for cause-based or advocacy organizations.
Many organizations assume that newer fundraising methods like peer-to-peer or crowdfunding are only effective for higher profile, time-based campaigns, but they can be easily adapted to fit whatever your fundraising needs might be. Online tools and platforms are flexible and meant to be used creatively. Consider what kind of timeframe is best suited to your peer-to-peer campaign’s goals, and then think of creative ways to best make use of your platform within that timeframe. Remembering to never take these aspects for granted is the key to building a truly creative and engaging peer-to-peer fundraising strategy. Focus your peer-to-peer fundraising communication but take advantage of new peer-to-peer outlets.

2. Focus your communication while offering new outlets.

Just as you should never arbitrarily choose or take the timeframe of your campaign for granted, your communication strategy must be consciously planned for your peer-to-peer campaign as with any other kind of fundraising campaign. A peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, however, offers unique communication challenges and opportunities.  It’s important for any organization to have simple and streamlined custom donation forms and donation pages on its website, but especially so for a peer-to-peer campaign. With rapidly increased exposure on social media, it’s crucial that your website look its best for the increased traffic. It’s equally important that your message and tone be unified across all your content since donors will see your campaign or reach you through a number of platforms or social media outlets. This broadening of your audience represents a great opportunity to better engage your all your supporters.

How to put this peer-to-peer fundraising strategy into action

Peer-to-peer campaigns require your message to be focused and persuasive. Social media, despite its huge audiences, doesn’t often encourage much engagement in its users beyond skimming text and images. Your message, its words and its images, must be carefully chosen to quickly convey the purpose, goals, and scope of your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign in an eye-catching way. Aside from your organization’s official message, your supporters are then free to supply their own direction and content to their individual fundraising pages. This is an incredible engagement opportunity! Consider some different ways that all of your supporters can communicate with each other and potential donors, generating buzz and discussing your work:
  • Key supporters could contribute their own content to their peer-to-peer pages to show others why they support your organization.
  • Your organization could supply creative templates for supporters to begin the process of reaching out to new donors and expanding your network.
  • Your organization and supporters could work together to create a new viral video challenge to spread through your supporters’ networks and direct viewers to their peer-to-peer pages.
Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns are special for the way that they encourage communication between all levels of your organization and support. Always remember to include your supporters and peer-to-peer page hosts in your campaign communication strategies to maximize the unique impact of this kind of campaign. While your central campaign message must be unified and clear, use your network to more broadly communicate with your potential donors in creative new ways.


Your peer-to-peer fundraisers want to do good in the world. It’s also human nature to seek rewards and positive affirmation by reaching (and celebrating!) milestones. By incorporating gamification elements in your peer-to-peer campaign, you can encourage your peer-to-peer participants to raise even more. Gamification is the process of adding game mechanics to a non-game situation. Peer-to-peer gamification elements can make fundraising more entertaining and motivating for your participants, which helps keep them engaged as the campaign progresses.


Whether or not you implement gamification strategies is largely dependent on the peer-to-peer fundraising platform you’ve invested in. A comprehensive one should provide all of these features:
  • Goals and thermometers. Using progress thermometers to track your fundraising creates a sense of urgency in participants and donors. Urgency increases as you near the end of your event! Your participants will be more motivated than ever to ensure you reach your fundraising goal as the deadline approaches.
  • Badges. You can use peer-to-peer fundraising badges to reward active fundraisers and keep them excited as well as to incentivize other participants to reach the same milestones. This is a great way to encourage friendly competition between participants or teams.
  • Leaderboards. Leaderboards display the top fundraising performers during your campaign. Participants can compete to keep their top spot or make it on to the leaderboard at all.
  • Quests. Many of your participants are probably fundraising for the first time. To maximize their success, they need to understand how to set up a personal fundraising page and use their fundraising tools. However, learning these processes can be dull and disengaging. Consider providing “welcome quests,” “walk-throughs,” or simple checklists to help participants get started.
Peer-to-peer fundraising is already fulfilling in and of itself. When it’s combined with fun gamification elements, your volunteer fundraisers will be more motivated than ever! Host creative peer-to-peer fundraising events to engage your donors.

4. Host creative campaign engagement events.

The ability to engage with your supporters in new ways is one of the greatest benefits of peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns. In addition to directly involving your most dedicated supporters in the fundraising process, peer-to-peer campaigns offer great opportunities to integrate other types of live fundraising events. This can amplify the donor engagement on both ends, at your live events and on your peer-to-peer pages, increasing your exposure and donations. Before you launch your peer-to-peer campaign, consider what kind of live fundraising events would be well-suited to complement its goals and tone. Over the course of your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, host several live events; these can serve as checkpoints for the campaign as a whole and keep your supporters excited and engaged.

How to put this peer-to-peer fundraising strategy into action

Consider the different kinds of live fundraising events your organization has hosted in the past. How might elements of your peer-to-peer campaign augment or blend easily with these events? Here’s an example: Say a university is looking to fund some new growth and has hosted galas and charity auctions for alumni in the past. With a peer-to-peer campaign, dedicated alumni can raise funds on the university’s behalf, and then, at another special event, the fundraising committee awards prizes to its highest fundraising volunteers. By making use of the pre-existing connections, this combination of peer-to-peer fundraising campaign and traditional fundraising event could be quite successful. Of course this applies to any organization or project, not just university fundraising. You can easily integrate peer-to-peer campaign elements into any of your fundraising events, like:
  • Holiday parties
  • Dinners or game nights
  • Galas and auctions
  • Merchandise or food sales
One easy way of doing this would be to establish and then promote reward tiers for your most successful volunteer fundraisers. Maybe you could even host a special thank-you event just for these volunteers who host your peer-to-peer pages. The most important thing to remember, though, is to never simply let your peer-to-peer campaign loose on social media and then forget it about it. As a creative networked fundraising format, you should feel free to experiment and combine peer-to-peer fundraising strategies with any of your other successful fundraising events and tools!   Keep your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign's core purpose and context in mind.

5. Always remember your campaign’s core purpose.

In the example in Strategy #3 above, the university successfully used a peer-to-peer campaign to engage donors because there was a pre-existing network well-suited to carry the campaign’s message. In this situation, the university made use of a natural network to raise awareness and funds. Your organization should likewise consider the specific context of its peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.  The context and scope of your campaign can affect the exact kind of strategies you might wish to pursue. Before launching, always think about these nuances of your campaign.

How to put this peer-to-peer fundraising strategy into action

What are your campaign’s exact goals? What is your organization’s focus? Peer-to-peer campaigns can be great strategies for any organization, but the specific area of your work can affect the kind of fine-tuned methods that will best maximize your campaign’s impact. For instance, your organization might focus on:
  • Cause-based or digital advocacy projects. Eye-catching campaigns and more emotional messages are very well-suited to peer-to-peer social media campaigns. Consider ways to maximize exposure quickly and create a sense of urgency to increase the impact of your campaign.
  • Local, regional, or community-based issues. These campaigns thrive with peer-to-peer strategies because they make use of naturally pre-existing connections. By targeting well-connected local individuals, businesses, or organizations, you can be sure your campaign will be seen those whose community it’s meant to benefit.
That said, forging those kinds of natural partnerships is an excellent idea for any organization’s peer-to-peer campaign. Maybe a local business wants to start and promote its own peer-to-peer page for you, or maybe a company relevant to your campaign would be open to providing its employees a matching gift program for their peer-to-peer donations. Remembering the contexts and nuances of your nonprofit’s work is another key to directing a successful peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.  As an element often taken for granted, context can make a big impact on your campaign. It defines the ways that supporters think of your organization, and it defines the kind of natural connections that you can most easily form with partners and donors. Bonus tip! If your organization is on the larger side or might have a capital campaign in its near future, these smaller-scale peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns are a great way to start your prospect research. A successful peer-to-peer fundraising campaign will lay the groundwork for larger-scale campaigns by revealing some of the most important connections and links in your network, including your most well-connected donors or even potential corporate partners through matching gifts programs. Use these insights to guide the early stages of your donor prospecting!
These general strategies are ideal for guiding your next peer-to-peer fundraising campaign because they focus on elements of campaign planning that are often overlooked or not consciously planned. It’s important in any fundraising campaign to plan and define every element of your strategy, but especially so for peer-to-peer campaigns. While you lose some degree of direct control through these campaigns, you gain the ability to more broadly shape their direction, deeply engage with your supporters, and truly work together like never before. Use thoughtful strategies and creative decision-making to guide your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign to success! Check out some additional resources that you might find useful in planning and implementing your next peer-to-peer fundraising campaign: pr_cta_02
Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaigns: 5 Key Strategies for Nonprofits