Peer to Peer Fundraising: Tips for Nonprofits
- April 25, 2019
If you’ve never leveraged peer to peer fundraising as part of your online fundraising efforts, it might seem like a daunting task. What are the benefits of this burgeoning fundraising strategy? Who should you ask to fundraise? And how do you support them? We’ve taken the guesswork out of peer to peer fundraising by creating a cheat sheet to explain the benefits of this opportunity and how to make it relevant for your organization.
The Why: Measurable Benefits
Achievable results without the cost or risk.
1) Amplify your reach by tapping into the Network Effect.
If you directly ask 5 people to make a donation, you’ve only reached 5 people. But if you have 5 people that create a fundraising page and each of them asks 20 friends to make a donation, you’ve now reached 100 people. Peer to peer fundraising is an opportunity to exponentially increase awareness and exposure for your organization.
People are 4 times more likely to make a donation when asked by someone they know.
2) Target new donors to your organization.
Donors to campaigns tend to donate in support of their personal connection with the person who created the campaign, and may or may not be familiar with your organization. As a result, you could see an uptick in new (first time) donors because these are people you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to reach. Once these new donors are on your radar, you’ll have the opportunity to convert them into repeat supporters over time.
3) Create new opportunities for your supporters to engage with your organization.
Peer to peer fundraising is a kind of online volunteering that can be done on someone’s own schedule instead of on a specific date and time. Since not everyone has time to volunteer in person, this is a way to encourage volunteering online to help move the needle towards your goals in fun new ways. Offering an entirely online way to get involved and be an ambassador for your organization is a win-win for everyone.
4) Diversify your fundraising strategy.
Peer to peer fundraising is a great way to beef up online and network-based fundraising strategies that work in tandem or in parallel with more traditional fundraising channels like Foundation and Corporate grantmaking.
Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Things like changes to the tax code and other decisions out of your control can have negative effects on charitable giving. Just like when you invest your own money, it’s prudent to have diversified fundraising strategies in place to help counter or offset unexpected changes.
The Who: Recruit Your Ambassadors
Who should you ask to start fundraising campaigns for your organization?
1) Start with your staff!
You already know they are personally connected to your mission. They know your cause inside and out and can speak passionately about it.
Each staff member could set up their own page, or you could identify team captains that create a page on behalf of a specific program, department or school grade, for example, to make it into a team competition.
Fuel the competition by offering a fun incentive for the winner(s), such as a free vacation day, or lunch for the department. Make sure it’s always optional.
2) Consider it a Board Engagement tool, including if you have a Young Executives Board.
Board members are also highly engaged with your mission and have committed to being involved in your organization’s growth and success.
Assist in the creation of their pages. You could set aside a portion of your next board meeting to create the pages together as a group, or tap an intern or staff member with setting up the campaigns on behalf of your board members. Provide resources and make a contact person available for questions.
Consider making it a friendly competition with a creative incentive!
3) Ask your most enthusiastic supporters and volunteers.
The ability to create a fundraising page meets the top three criteria that drive volunteer satisfaction: autonomy, the ability to show mastery, and being a part of something larger.
If you have corporate partners or local businesses that repeatedly support you, ask them to consider putting a team together to create a fundraising page.
4) Create a campaign for your own organization to fund a critical need.
A campaign page is a great way to advertise and call attention to a specific unmet need of your organization, perhaps an unexpected expense that wasn’t accounted for in your annual budget. “Help us raise $1,000 to fix our van!”
Donors are more likely to contribute to a specific ask, and something that is real and attainable in their eyes; an ask of which they can understand the value and necessity.
This allows you to segment your marketing around the promotion of both your general profile page as well as your campaign page, to better target certain audiences.
The How: Support Your Fundraisers
Make it easy for your fundraisers to get excited, and stay excited.
1) Establish a personal connection.
You will be notified via email when someone submits a campaign for your review. Reach out to the person who created a campaign to thank them for participating, establish who their contact person is at your organization, and provide them with our Tips for Campaign Creators to help get them started.
2) Check in periodically with your fundraisers to offer encouragement and support.
Put reminders on your calendar! Some ideal times to touch base with your fundraisers are:
- As soon as you approve the campaign.
- When scheduled donations open.
- The day before the event.
- The morning of the event. It’s game time!
- The afternoon or evening of the event. Last call!
3) Cross-promote the fundraising pages and help to share their stories.
Help spread the word. Highlighting someone’s campaign on social media, in a blog or newsletter increases their enthusiasm. Leveraging this kind of pre-made content also saves you time!
Keep your finger on the pulse of how your fundraisers are doing, and put a spotlight on great progress. Rather than posting another generic social media post about the event, check the campaigns to see if anyone is close to their goal and ask for support in getting them across the finish line. Donors like to have a clear, compelling ask. “If 5 people donate just $10 by midnight, we can send Jim’s campaign over the top!”
Be sure to include the campaign’s unique URL link. That makes it easy for people to click a link and jump directly to that fundraising page.
4) Support everyone at their own level.
Just because someone creates a fundraising campaign doesn’t mean that it will be successful. Gauge how engaged each person is, and tailor your support efforts accordingly.
Give your superstars a push! It can be easier to get a successful fundraiser to raise hundreds more than to get a zero-dollar fundraiser to raise their first $10. While it’s important to support everyone, don’t feel obligated to devote the same amount of time to the folks who aren’t reciprocating your excitement or receptive to your help.
Check out this blog for tips to pass along to your campaign creators.
The Final Step: Thank Your Donors and Supporters
Pay it forward by recognizing everyone who contributed to your success.
Share your gratitude via the same channels you made the asks.
Email: Close the loop by writing personal emails to both your campaign creators, and the donors that supported them. The thank you is a critical part of fundraising best practices, and people you thank will be more likely to support you again in the future.
Social media: This is shareworthy, feel-good news! Pay it forward by giving your fundraisers and supporters a public round of applause for their amazing work.
Don’t forget to thank people who helped in ways other than financial support – those people who cross-promoted, provided in-kind donations, or verbally offered their support and encouragement throughout the process. It really does take a village.
Consider hosting a Thank You celebration at your office or a local place of business.
A great way to further personalize your thank you is to do it in person. Host an after-work happy hour in your office, or coordinate an off-site space for your fundraisers and supporters to celebrate together after the event.
Gatherings like this are also a great place for people to tell their story – you could ask your top fundraisers to share their story, and insight into what they did that made their campaign so successful. It’s a great peer to peer learning opportunity as well!
Be sure to make available any other upcoming volunteer opportunities. People will be in the giving spirit, and getting people involved in something again soon will help to start to cultivate that donor’s loyalty and support over the longer term.