Oct 25, 2016
Definition of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
Peer-to-peer fundraising is a tactic that mobilizes your organization’s most loyal supporters and enables them to raise money on behalf of your nonprofit. A peer-to-peer campaign can take place on its own, but it can also be tied to an event like a marathon, fun run, or other fundraiser.
Learn more about peer-to-peer fundraising with this in-depth guide.
Different Types of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaigns
Peer-to-peer campaigns can be rolling (i.e., they don’t have a defined end-date, but are over when a monetary goal is reached) or they can be time-based (i.e., at the end of June, the campaign is over, regardless of how much money has been raised).
Other Names for Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
Peer-to-peer fundraising goes by many other monikers. It is sometimes called social fundraising, P2P fundraising, or team fundraising. These terms tend to be used interchangeably.
Typical Fundraising Events That Go Well with Peer-to-Peer Campaigns
- Fun Runs
- 5Ks or 10Ks
- Cycling events
- Endurance events
Strategies to Combine Peer-to-Peer Fundraising and Events
Let’s say you’re hosting a marathon in 3 months. You select a peer-to-peer platform and instruct donors on how they can create their own fundraising pages to share with their social networks. You currently have 100 donors who have signed up to participate in the event.
In the months leading up to the marathon, your donors send out the link to their personal fundraising pages, and their friends, family members, and coworkers decide to make contributions to support the donor (and consequently, your organization) during the marathon.
Meanwhile, your organization raises money for your cause thanks to the generosity of your donors and their philanthropic peers!
Asking fundraisers to obtain individual donations is the most common way to pair peer-to-peer fundraising with events.
Your fundraisers can easily ask for donations from friends and family members and convince them that your cause is one worth supporting.
This kind of peer-to-peer campaign also works well because individuals get to control exactly how involved they want to be. If they want to post about the campaign every day on Facebook and send out multiple emails, they can. If they want to tweet out the link once or twice, they can do that, too.
Asking their networks for donations is a great way to get your loyal supporters involved in the fundraising process!
With our example, if all 100 of your peer-to-peer fundraisers only reached out to 3 people, you would triple your donor base. In reality, the average peer-to-peer fundraiser reaches out to eight friends and family members throughout the duration of the campaign.
You’ll need a team of participants who are willing to go out and fundraise on your behalf. They should have a fairly established connection with your nonprofit and cause.
You’ll also need a peer-to-peer platform that can generate personalized and customizable fundraising pages. These pages will be what participants send out via email and social media.
Your peer-to-peer platform should also be able to integrate with your existing donor management system for easy transfer of information and donor data.
Check out the top peer-to-peer fundraising platforms here!
Some fundraising events are more conducive to team fundraising than individual fundraising.
If this is the case for your nonprofit’s upcoming event, encourage your participants to form teams with one another or with their friends or family members and compete against each other!
See who can raise the most money before the day of the event. Or have a race to see who can hit a fundraising goal first.
Either way you choose to host it, a team-based peer-to-peer fundraiser (that’s tied to an event, of course!) can be a great way to introduce a little friendly competition into the fundraising process.
Team fundraising, at its core, is no different than obtaining individual donations.
The only difference is that your participants are working together to raise money instead of doing it on their own.
The competitive nature of this peer-to-peer and event combination makes fundraising, well, fun for your donors and allows them to demonstrate their passion for your cause.
You’ll need the same resources for this kind of campaign as you would for a campaign that relies on individual sponsorship fundraising.
Your nonprofit will also have to assemble a pretty large group of fundraisers and have them divide up into different teams.
Additionally, your organization will need a great peer-to-peer platform that has the option to create customizable and personalized pages.
For more peer-to-peer fundraising tips, check out this article.
A fundraising sprint is a condensed version of a time-based peer-to-peer fundraiser. Donors try to raise as much money as they can in a single 24-hour period.
Fundraising sprints can be large, organized events or fundraising campaigns for single nonprofits. If you try to run a fundraising sprint on your own, you’ll have to get creative with raising awareness about your major fundraising push BEFORE the day of the event.
For example: imagine that you’re hosting a special dinner for your donors; when you send out the invitations, you could mention the fact that the day of the event is also your designated “fundraising sprint.” Donors can contribute at the event, but they can also submit their donations in the 24 hours prior to the event.
Include the link to your peer-to-peer donation form within the e-vite and on your direct mail invitations.
Then, when it’s time for the event, you could have a fundraising thermometer displayed on a screen that shows how much money you’ve already raised and how much more you need to reach your goal.
Donors can share the link on their social media pages and via email during the event to encourage their friends who aren’t in attendance to give to your campaign.
Fundraising sprints work because they’re extremely exciting. Donors and nonprofits alike have the challenge of raising a significant amount of money for a worthy cause in just 24 hours.
While that pressure might seem intimidating to some, it can actually be a great motivator; donors are more likely to give if there’s a deadline instead of putting off making a gift.
Donors who really care about your nonprofit are the ones that will help you reach your fundraising sprint goals. These types of peer-to-peer campaigns work because of your donors’ passion and dedication to your cause.
Since fundraising sprints are usually centered around non-active events, you might need to rethink your standard resources for peer-to-peer campaigns and events.
First, you’ll need a setup to display the donations as they are made. You’ll also need a speaker that can rev people up and encourage them to donate and send out the donation page to their friends and family members during the event.
You’ll still need a great peer-to-peer platform, just like with the other two types of peer-to-peer campaigns, but some are better suited for fundraising sprints than others. Make sure that the provider you choose is capable of handling such a condensed project.
Pairing Incentives, Peer-to-Peer Campaigns, and Events
By now, you know that peer-to-peer campaigns and fundraising events are an ideal combination.
But did you know that there’s another component you can throw into the mix to create an even better experience for your donors while raising more money?
Provide incentives to your fundraisers and donors to see your donations skyrocket!
The types of incentives you choose will vary depending on the type of event you’re hosting.
For instance, the types of incentives you would provide for a marathon would differ greatly from the ones you would offer during a charity auction.
For active events, you could offer different incentives for different goals being met, such as:
- Tier 1: A free water bottle
- Tier 2: A free water bottle + a sweatband
- Tier 3: A free water bottle + a sweatband + a t-shirt
- And so on.
For non-active events, you could do something similar:
- Tier 1: A mug or cup
- Tier 2: A mug + a t-shirt
- Tier 3: A mug + a t-shirt + a tote bag
- And so on.
Takeaway: Incentives help your nonprofit raise more money by rewarding your fundraisers for reaching out to more people in their networks. Consider providing incentives for both your active events (like marathons) and your non-active events (like charity auctions).
Bonus: Check out this article to learn how you can raise more money from peer-to-peer participants!
Communications + Peer-to-Peer Campaigns + Fundraising Events
You already know that you’ll have to get the word out about your fundraising event if you want anyone to show up and participate.
But when you throw a peer-to-peer campaign into the mix, you have to be even more deliberate with your communications strategy.
You could send out direct mail invitations and emails and take out ads in your local media outlets (radio, newspaper, etc.) to get the word about about your event.
But with a peer-to-peer campaign, most of your donors will reach your campaign page via email and social media, meaning that your communications strategy should be a bit more digital than it otherwise would be.
Let’s take a look at some strategies for using those two channels to let donors know about your peer-to-peer campaign and your event.
When to Use This Strategy
Email works well for peer-to-peer fundraisers who don’t have a strong social media presence or prefer a more formal communications method.
Make sure that you provide your fundraisers with customizable templates that they can use when writing their emails.
Why it Works
Email works because it’s a near universal way to get in touch with donors. Most individuals have at least one email account (and some people have two or more!).
Donors young and old all use email to stay connected to nonprofits, companies, and their peers.
Learn more about writing great emails that your donors will want to read!
When to Use This Strategy
If your fundraisers want to take a more informal approach to reaching out to their networks, social media is the answer.
Additionally, if the majority of your fundraisers’ peers are tweeting, liking, and posting on social media, your fundraisers have a better chance of reaching them on sites like Facebook and Twitter.
However, this strategy works best for fundraisers who have a large social media following or influence. Fundraisers with a minimal or nonexistent social media presence might be better suited to sending out emails to their peers.
Why it Works
Social media is perfect for making peer-to-peer campaigns go viral. If you want to get your campaign and event in front of a lot of eyes, the best way to do it is to ask your fundraisers to post about it on social media.
Social media—in all of its forms—is tricky, though. Each site has a different key demographic of users. Make sure that you’re encouraging your fundraisers to post on the sites that will receive the most traffic.
Bonus: Learn how YOU can make the most of fundraising events!