You may have heard that peer-to-peer fundraising is one of the best ways for nonprofits to:
- Raise more money.
- Acquire more donors.
- Strengthen existing supporter relationships.
The rumors are true! Peer-to-peer fundraising is one of the most cost-effective ways to raise money from your supporters while involving them in the fundraising process.
We’re going to take you through the top three tips for peer-to-peer giving and offer two additional ways that you can maximize donations.
1. Start planning early.
While peer-to-peer campaigns are effective and can help your organization raise more money, they still take time to properly plan. This is especially true since peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns make it easy to incorporate all kinds of unique fundraising ideas and engaging events to boost momentum.
There are several steps you’ll need to take on the front end to ensure that your nonprofit is successful in your peer-to-peer endeavors.
A. Select the right peer-to-peer platform
You won’t be able to engage with your supporters and raise money if you aren’t using a great peer-to-peer fundraising platform.
Some of the features you’ll want to look for include:
- Social sharing integrations. Your supporters are going to share their fundraising pages via social channels and email.
- Customization options. Your peer-to-peer fundraising page (and your supporters’ individual pages) should look distinct and unique.
- Fun features. Elements like fundraising thermometers, badges, leaderboards, and message boards can keep supporters engaged and motivated.
- Mobile-responsive design. Over one-third of all peer-to-peer donations are made on mobile devices. Without a mobile-responsive peer-to-peer platform, you could miss out on serious contributions.
Of course, there are countless other features that you should look for when shopping around for a peer-to-peer platform. These four just happen to be the ones that are most important for your campaign’s success.
B. Plot out the details of your event
Most peer-to-peer fundraisers end with some kind of active event, like a marathon, walkathon, or cycling event. You want to make sure that this event is fun and safe for your participants and onlookers. Events can help rally your supporters together and jump-start the cultivation process, which can lead to more donations in the future.
Plus, an event is the perfect place to celebrate your fundraisers’ success and potentially meet first-time donors. Fundraising events offer the perfect opportunity for new donors to see your nonprofit in action and engage with your passionate supporters. If you’re in need of more fundraising ideas, check out this epic list.
You’ll need to determine logistics, such as:
- Merchandise like t-shirts and water bottles.
- Refreshments and snacks.
- First-aid and medical equipment.
- Celebratory ending ceremony.
When determining the logistics of your fundraising event, you might realize you need the help of fundraising software to manage attendees, accept donations, and track data.
There are a whole host of tools that you can use to ensure that your event is a success. When you begin your search for the right software, be sure to assess your nonprofit’s needs and budget to find the tool that will work best for your event.
Planning your final event from the beginning will help you focus on the fundraising component of your peer-to-peer campaign. Then, the event becomes more about your donors coming together to celebrate their achievements!
C. Add a unique twist to your peer-to-peer fundraiser
Make your campaign stand out by creating a unique fundraising experience. Adding your own spin on this classic fundraising idea will make your fundraiser memorable and potentially motivate participants to continue raising money throughout your fundraiser.
To illustrate this idea, look at how the North Shore Animal League modified the traditional peer-to-peer fundraising structure.
North Shore Animal League created peer-to-peer fundraising options for special occasions: weddings, birthdays, and bar or bat mitzvahs.
Your organization can do something similar or add competitive elements to your peer-to-peer campaign. For instance, you can turn your campaign into a friendly competition by using features like:
- Leaderboards that showcase the top performers.
- Badges that can be displayed on fundraiser’s pages.
- Prizes for top fundraisers.
Of course, not all peer-to-peer fundraising platforms will come with these features. In which case, you might have to seek custom solutions. With the help of a nonprofit consultant and an expansive, versatile tool (like Blackbaud’s peer-to-peer fundraising tool TeamRaiser), you can create a peer-to-peer fundraiser that has all the unique features your nonprofit wants.
D. Select your fundraisers
Finally, you’ll need to choose your peer-to-peer fundraisers. You might already have a good idea about who these supporters might be, but you’ll likely need to do some extra digging into your donor database to look at:
- Donation size and history. Donors with larger donations that stretch out over the course of a year or more are more likely to want to participate in your peer-to-peer fundraising efforts.
- Volunteer experience. Supporters who have worked with your nonprofit on the ground are good bets for peer-to-peer fundraising supporters.
- Social influence and reach. A supporter with multiple followers and friends on different social media accounts will be more successful as a peer-to-peer fundraiser than someone who doesn’t use social media.
Of course, not every single peer-to-peer fundraiser will possess all of these qualities (although, it’s awesome if you find someone who does!). Additionally, just because a supporter looks great in your database doesn’t mean that they’ll be open to asking for donations on your behalf.
Main Takeaway: Picking the right peer-to-peer fundraising platform, planning your event, and selecting the right fundraisers will give your campaign the right trajectory. Your nonprofit’s staff and your peer-to-peer supporters will feel confident as they enter the next stage of their fundraising adventure.
2. Prepare your fundraisers.
Most of your peer-to-peer fundraisers will have never asked for donations before. And even if they have, they might be apprehensive about asking on behalf of a nonprofit organization.
To help them step into the donation appeal arena with confidence, prepare your supporters for their fundraising experience!
According to this OneCause resource, peer-to-peer fundraisers often follow this format:
Most of your P2P participants will likely be long-term supporters of your nonprofit, but it’s still important to educate them on your cause and provide them with materials to most effectively get the word out.
There are a few ways to accomplish this:
- Host in-person training sessions. If your supporters live nearby, you can host a couple of training sessions that walk them through the fundraising process.
- Set up some webinars. If your fundraisers are scattered across the country, you can choose to host webinars to make sure that they get the proper training they need.
- Put together information packets. Your information packets should explain your fundraising need, be branded to your nonprofit, and go through the steps and best practices for asking for donations.
The last suggestion is arguably the most important. The information packets that you compile should guide your fundraisers through each step of the peer-to-peer process and give them the tools they need to succeed.
For example, your info packets could contain:
- Your nonprofit’s story and background.
- The reasoning behind your current campaign.
- A message from your board of directors (or other organizational leader).
- Instructions on how to set up a fundraising page.
- Tips on how to ask for donations from friends and family members.
- Templates for social media posts as well as fundraising letters and emails.
- Your organization’s contact information.
Your info packets should be made available in both digital and paper format. When your fundraisers first sign up for your peer-to-peer campaign, send them an email with a link to the packet or mail a physical copy to them.
If you’re struggling to craft the perfect fundraising letter we encourage you to visit https://fundraisingletters.org/. They have a collection of over 40 fundraising letter templates that you can use for peer-to-peer fundraising communication.
Main Takeaway: Set your peer-to-peer campaign up for success by preparing your fundraisers. Host in-person training sessions and webinars and put information packets together for your supporters.
3. Follow-up with supporters and donors.
Peer-to-peer fundraising is unique in that your donors aren’t giving directly to your nonprofit; instead, they give to their friend or family member’s fundraising page.
This makes things tricky when it comes to donor acknowledgement and follow-up.
Well, since your peer-to-peer donors are giving to your fundraisers, they don’t have as strong of a connection to your nonprofit. This means that, in order to retain these donors longterm, you’re going to need to work a little harder to acknowledge and thank these contributors.
Proper stewardship can reap huge rewards for your nonprofit; in fact, 43% of millennials are donating to nonprofits through peer-to-peer campaigns. At the end of your campaign, you’ll have a well of new donors to reach out to, so you want to take the time to draw them into your organization.
Instead of relying on social media or cookie-cutter emails, your nonprofit should try to personalize and individualize your acknowledgements as much as possible.
Not only should you try to acknowledge and thank your peer-to-peer donors, you also need to offer them other engagement opportunities such as:
- Volunteer activities.
- Attendance to events.
- Tours of your nonprofit.
- The chance to be a P2P fundraiser next year.
- And more!
Make sure that your donors understand the importance of your nonprofit’s work and give them opportunities to get more involved.
Additionally, you’ll want to thank your fundraisers for all of their hard work. Depending on the size and scope of your campaign, your acknowledgement could range from personalized thank-you letters, prizes and/or gifts, or a celebratory “fundraisers only” party where you publicly acknowledge everyone who participated in your campaign.
Main Takeaway: Acknowledging and thanking your peer-to-peer donors and fundraisers is crucial if you want to hold on to the relationships that you’ve formed and strengthened over the course of your campaign. Make sure that everyone feels appreciated!
4. Bonus: How to Maximize Donations During Your Peer-to-Peer Campaign
Now that you’ve read all about planning your peer-to-peer campaign, preparing your fundraisers, and following up with supporters, it’s time to cover our two tips for making the most of your donors’ contributions.
1. Use prospect research
You should be using prospect as part of your everyday fundraising, but it can be especially useful during peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns for a couple of reasons:
- Prospect research can help you identify your peer-to-peer supporters. You may have a database of tens or hundreds of thousands of donors and volunteers. It could be difficult to wade through all of those data points to find the perfect peer-to-peer fundraisers. Instead, rely on prospect research to do your work for you!
- Prospect research can help you learn more about your new donors. During your peer-to-peer campaign, your nonprofit will get an influx of new supporters (along with a ton of new data!). Prospect research can help you identify who has the potential to give or volunteer more with your organization down the road.
Prospect research can help you learn more about your donors and your supporters. Why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of this peer-to-peer fundraising tool?
2. Market matching gifts
You’ve probably heard of matching gifts and how they can help nonprofits potentially double their fundraising revenue.
Most people only think about matching gifts as they relate to annual fund donations, but some companies will also match any money that an employee raises during a peer-to-peer campaign!
These programs are called “fundraising matches,” and they work very similarly to matching gifts. The only difference is that, instead of just matching an employee’s contribution to a nonprofit, the company will match the employee’s contribution and whatever else they raise from friends, family members and coworkers.
Mention these programs during your training sessions and within the info packets you give to fundraisers. Make sure that they know to mention them to donors when asking for contributions.
Many people are more willing to give to a cause or campaign if they know that the money they contribute will be doubled by someone else (in this case, the fundraiser’s employer).
3. Keep your fundraisers up-to-date
Let’s face it: keeping your fundraisers motivated for the entire peer-to-peer campaign can be a struggle. While your supporters have the best intentions and will start strong, asking their friends and family members to donate, the responsibilities of day-to-day life might cause them to become less engaged with your campaign.
We talked about how nonprofits can use a little friendly competition to keep their fundraisers engaged, but nonprofits also need to promote their campaign by sending regular updates.
Not sure what to share? Your updates could include:
- Significant milestones.
- High-achieving fundraisers.
- Details on how the money will be used.
With updates like this, your supporters will not only be able to see how far they’ve come but also keep your peer-to-peer campaign in their minds.
Of course, consistently posting updates on Facebook or sending a peer-to-peer e-newsletter can be a huge endeavor. Luckily, nonprofits have access to plenty of tools that can help automate the process so that your team can schedule content in advance.
For a full list of tools that can automate your nonprofit’s marketing efforts, check out @Pay’s list of nonprofit software. Best of all, the tools on this list are affordable enough to fit any nonprofit’s budget.
Main Takeaway: Prospect research and matching gift programs can help your nonprofit and your fundraisers make the most of the donations that come in during your peer-to-peer campaign. Use both of these helpful tools during your fundraising efforts year-round for even more success!
Hopefully, these three tips (plus our bonus strategies!) will help you find peer-to-peer fundraising success. Check out our additional resources to learn more!
- Wealth Screening Guide – With peer-to-peer fundraising, you’ll acquire tons of new donors. Ensure that you screen them carefully to identify potential major gift donors!
- Top Online Giving Tools – Learn about the top tools that can supplement and facilitate your peer-to-peer fundraiser!
- Fundly’s Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Guide – Need more information on peer-to-peer fundraising? Check out Fundly’s ultimate guide!