Peer-to-peer fundraising is a crowdfunding strategy that empowers individuals to raise money on behalf of a worthy cause. Fundraisers have their own customized donation pages where their friends and family can donate to your nonprofit.
It’s a cost-effective way to raise more money and any nonprofit can benefit from P2P fundraising, especially small ones just starting! So, don’t miss the opportunity to engage your audience and boost revenue. And as you look to implement peer-to-peer fundraising in your organization, or if you want to revitalize your current strategy, consider these tips:
- Thoroughly plan ahead.
- Develop relationships with passionate supporters.
- Incorporate fundraising technology.
1. Thoroughly plan ahead
Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns may be a fairly straightforward way to boost revenue and allow for a lot of creativity, but no fundraising campaign is ever “easy” to run. Just like any other fundraiser, you have to fully understand social fundraising campaigns and thoughtfully plan your own.
Don’t go into your fundraiser blind. You can’t plan for everything, but you can think ahead and avoid some challenging hurdles. There are several steps to planning your campaign that will ensure you’re successful in your fundraising endeavors.
Plot out your closing event
Most P2P fundraisers conclude with some kind of big event that everyone works toward, like a walkathon, a cycling event, or a celebratory dinner. When planning your celebratory event, determine logistics like:
- Volunteer staff
When you plan your closing event ahead of time, you can devote the rest of your time and effort to the fundraiser itself. Thorough planning doesn’t mean your event will go off without a hitch, but it will take some stress off your shoulders in the crucial last stages of the campaign.
Craft your campaign
Peer-to-peer fundraising is a very flexible technique when it comes to how you’ll schedule and time your campaign, but a few of the different options include:
- Time-based campaigns. These fundraisers unfold within a set period of time—typically within a few weeks or months to create a sense of urgency in today’s attention economy. These campaigns usually have a specific theme or activity, such as one that supports a specific project or program, and are often paired with a big event at the end.
- Rolling campaigns. These have no specific timeframe. Instead, the fundraiser continues until you reach a specific monetary goal. To succeed, find ways to make sure your campaign doesn’t lose momentum.
- DIY campaigns. These campaigns enable supporters to use your website or platform to create their own donation page to share with their friends and family, enabling you to turn your donors into fundraisers! These work well for birthdays or the holidays, instead of asking for gifts.
- Giving days. In these campaigns, your nonprofit encourages participants to achieve a predetermined monetary goal within 24 hours. These campaigns rely heavily on social media to spread the word and require thorough marketing strategies to succeed.
Train your participants
You can spend countless hours planning on your end, but what about strategizing on behalf of your participants? Ensure your supporters know exactly what they should be doing by offering the following training:
- Host in-person training sessions. This works well when your supporters live or work nearby. Offer multiple sessions to make sure everyone in the area has a chance to participate.
- Set up training videos. For participants with busy schedules or for those who aren’t in close proximity, offer webinars and archive them for future reference. That way, you make sure everyone has the opportunity to receive some sort of training.
- Put together information packets/brochures. Your fundraiser may be supported by folks entirely new to campaigning, so provide them with all the information you can to set them up for success. Explain your campaign, the need for it, the impact you can deliver, and your fundraising goals, and provide some FAQs, tips, and best practices. Distribute them at your in-person training sessions or via email, whichever works best for your participants!
- Create templates. You want your supporters to spend more time actually raising money instead of thinking about what to post to get their personal networks of friends and family on board. For ideas on how to create effective templates for various social media platforms, visit this post.
The main idea here is that you’ll set yourself up for success by setting your participants up for success. Fully plan all the details of your fundraiser and its closing event, and properly arm your supporters with the knowledge they need.
If you’re scrambling to pull a campaign together at the last minute but are in dire need of funding, you might want to rethink your strategies. Consider pushing your P2P fundraising campaign to a later date to allow for enough preparation time, and try these alternatives that take very little planning.
2. Develop relationships with passionate supporters
Your campaign won’t be nearly as successful if it’s not backed by a powerful team of passionate supporters. When you develop long-term relationships with those who have a connection to your cause, they’ll be much more motivated to raise funds that support your work.
Start by looking for passionate supporters within your existing volunteer base. They’re already devoting their time, so they’re clearly engaged and shouldn’t be overlooked. There are many misconceptions about the role of volunteers, so check your assumptions. And don’t forget to check your board and list of most loyal donors, as they can also be very effective advocates.
Once you have these champions on board, there are a few consistent practices for developing relationships with your key supporters:
The only way to earn your supporters’ trust is by telling them the truth. After all, honesty is the best policy. If you fall behind on your goals, tell them. They’ll respect your honesty and will feel even more motivated to step up their efforts in order to get back on track. But always try to frame things in a positive, “we can do this” way, since people want to be part of a winning team, not a sinking ship.
Beyond letting your supporters know how much your campaign raised, request supporters’ feedback and give them the opportunity to voice any concerns.
When you gather this information, don’t just let it sit there. Do something about it! Otherwise, your supporters will feel like you don’t actually care about what they have to say, and you likely won’t improve your fundraising campaigns in the future.
Whenever your supporters do anything for your organization, say thank you. Let them know they’re appreciated and make them feel vital to your nonprofit’s impact.
Every supporter is different, so learn how they respond to various types of communication—do they prefer a personal phone call, a handwritten letter, or an email? Be proactive in asking about their preferred line of communication to avoid any uncomfortable situations.
When you’re straightforward with donors and take action based on their feedback, you’re telling them their experience matters to you. In order to have a successful P2P fundraiser, you need supporters who are passionate about your cause.
3. Incorporate fundraising software
Once you’ve established a passionate supporter base and armed them with an abundance of tools to support a well-planned fundraiser, enhance your efforts by having the right technology infrastructure.
These days, fundraising software is practically a necessity for your nonprofit’s online fundraising strategy. Peer-to-peer fundraising relies heavily on fundraising software, because it helps you to set up your campaign, keep track of it, and analyze it once it wraps up. This technology can be very effective when used properly.
Select the right platform
You can’t expect to engage your supporters if you don’t pick the right P2P fundraising platform. Every fundraiser and organization is different, so devote some time to choosing the best nonprofit fundraising tools for your P2P fundraising campaign.
Incorporate gamification features
Put the fun back in fundraising by adding engaging, interactive tools that add a bit of friendly competition into your P2P fundraising campaign. Some fundraising software offers eye-catching gamification features, such as:
- Update supporters on who’s raising the most money. All participants can see what others are accomplishing, motivating them to compete for the top spot.
- These are colorful tokens that are displayed on a participant’s online profile when they reach certain milestones. For example, top contributors may have a trophy displayed on their profile. Some platforms even allow you to create personalized badges that align with your branding!
- Fundraising thermometer. A fundraising thermometer like Bloomerang’s is a great visual cue that indicates how far along you are in reaching your goal. It updates in real-time and encourages supporters to step up fundraising efforts.
Struggling to pick the right software for your fundraising strategy? Check out Double the Donation’s top 16 fundraising software platforms to narrow down your options!
Remember, no matter your nonprofit’s size, your organization can benefit from peer-to-peer fundraising. It’s a powerful and effective way to acquire more donors, strengthen current supporter relationships, and even win back lost donors. Start planning now, and provide your passionate supporters with the tools they need to succeed. Implement these tips and tools in your next fundraiser, and you’ll be on your way to a better social fundraising strategy!
Adam Weinger is the President of Double the Donation and is passionate about helping nonprofits raise more money from employee matching gift and volunteer grant programs.