Thanks to the power of online networks and social media, fundraising is more innovative than ever. One of the most exciting trends of the modern fundraising age has been the rise of peer-to-peer fundraising.
Peer-to-peer fundraising (also known as P2P) mobilizes your supporters' online networks and turns donors into fundraisers.
Individuals set up their own personalized fundraising pages, where they can receive donations for your cause from friends, family, peers - anyone!
There are a multitude of benefits to P2P fundraising, from community-building to cost-cutting. In this article, we'll show you some best practices for designing your campaign so that you can maximize those benefits and exceed your fundraising goals.
We'll cover how to:
- Find the right software.
- Pair your campaign with a fundraising event.
- Communicate your campaign effectively.
- Add creative components.
P2P can help you raise more funds in an organic, exciting way. So without further ado, let's get started!
1. Find the Right Software.
The first and most crucial step to crafting the perfect peer-to-peer campaign? You'll need to find the perfect software.
Peer-to-peer software sets you up with all the tools you need to plan, execute, and analyze your campaign.
This software will enable your supporters to set up their own pages (the backbone of P2P fundraising!) as well as equip you with a variety of other important features.
Let's discuss a few of the tools you might have access to (and give you some tips on how to use them to their full potential).
There may be a lot of fun features associated with peer-to-peer software, but let's not forget the most important part!
P2P software should facilitate online donations by providing your fundraisers with functional, user-friendly donation forms on their campaign pages.
You may also have access to other useful donation features for both you and your fundraisers, including event registration forms and merchandise sales tools.
With so many individuals raising money for one cause, it's important that your fundraisers have plenty of customization options for their individual pages.
While your software should enable you to fully brand your campaign pages to reflect your organization's mission (with your color scheme, photos, and more), it should also give your fundraisers the flexibility to tell their stories, too.
Fundraisers should be able to customize their campaign pages with text, photos and videos, and social sharing integration so they can tell the world why your cause is meaningful to them.
Tracking and Analysis
All fundraising campaigns can be improved upon, but in order to make future adjustments, you first must be able to assess this year's performance.
Peer-to-peer software can provide you with reports on your progress throughout the campaign as well as comprehensive data analytics after your fundraiser ends.
You should be able to manage campaign participants and track fundraisers' performance on an individual and collective basis. By doing so, you'll also be in a good position to reward high-raising individuals or reach out to underperforming fundraisers to assist in the process.
The Big Picture: Software is essential to manage and execute your P2P campaign. You'll need to find the right fit for your organization before you can start accepting donations.
2. Pair Your Campaign with a Fundraising Event.
Peer-to-peer campaigns can bring in a significant amount of money on their own, but if you want to really maximize your supporters ' engagement and their donations, you'll want to pair your campaign with some kind of fundraising event.
Because peer-to-peer campaigns are inherently social, they work well with active, community-based events.
Additionally, since your donations will come from supporters' personal networks, it helps to design events where donors feel they're not only supporting your organization's cause, but the fundraisers themselves.
Some of our favorite peer-to-peer events include:
- 5k or 10k races (hint: add a theme to make these events even more fun!).
- Team sports, like community softball or soccer games.
- Bike races.
- Team challenges, such as obstacle courses or endurance competitions.
Because peer-to-peer events spread through your donors' networks, you may have first-time event attendees who aren't very familiar with your organization.
While they may have enjoyed participating in the online fundraising component of your campaign, this event is your chance to really impress them and, hopefully, secure their future involvement.
Offer a variety of on-site activities that will keep supporters engaged throughout the event. For example, photo booths are an entertaining way to keep attendees involved when they're taking a break from the main event (and, the photos serve as a reminder of how much fun they had at your event!).
You can acknowledge your most invested donors by highlighting the highest-raising fundraisers at your event. Set aside a few minutes to publicly award top fundraisers and thank them for their dedication. Not only will these donors feel grateful that you've recognized their hard work, but they'll be more likely to stay involved (and continue donating).
Most importantly, make both new and existing donors feel welcome! Don't be shy about introducing yourself and getting to know your donors.
Additionally, you'll want to include a number of options for further education and involvement. Have volunteers on hand to answer questions about the cause at an information table and throughout the event space.
Then, give supporters a place to sign up for email newsletters, register to volunteer, or donate on the spot. (Hint: For information on how to set up dedicated donation kiosks for easy on-site giving, check out this resource from QGiv!)
The Big Picture: Events are a great way to further engage your online fundraisers and inspire them in person. Use your event as an opportunity to develop new relationships and show your gratitude to long-term supporters - and don't forget to have some fun, too!
3. Communicate Your Campaign Effectively.
Peer-to-peer fundraising relies on social sharing, specifically through online networks. Because P2P campaigns tend to live in online spaces, the best way to get the word out about your fundraiser is through web-based communications.
In particular, let's discuss best practices for using social media and email communications to their fullest potential during your peer-to-peer campaign.
Chances are, your supporters are already using at least one social media platform on a daily basis. And it's even more likely that these social media profiles are their go-to method for promoting their own fundraising pages.
Social media posts are instant, easy, and immediately accessible to your entire online network. With almost no legwork required, social media is easily the most convenient way for your organization - and your individual fundraisers - to spread the word about fundraising.
Here are a few ways to maximize your social presence during your campaign and provide support for your fundraisers' individuals campaigns, too:
- Offer social media templates. Some of your fundraisers might find asking for donations on social media a little tricky. You can help them by creating easy-to-use, customizable templates that include a link to their fundraising page, a campaign hashtag (if you're using one), and a brief campaign description.
- Be visual. It's important to keep your messages visually engaging by adding images and videos. People are much more likely to respond to a picture than they are a block of text, so offer downloadable infographics or photos for your fundraisers to use on their pages, too.
- Interact with your supporters. Personal acknowledgement is one of best ways to let donors know they 're making an impact on your cause, and social media has made it easier than ever! Give weekly shout-outs to high-raising individuals in a "Donor of the Week" feature, or reply to fundraisers who are sharing your organization's posts.
Social media is only one piece of an effective peer-to-peer communications strategy, but when used effectively, it can be a game-changer for your campaign.
Almost everyone has an email address they use on a daily basis, so this is one communication method you can't ignore during your fundraising campaign.
Here are a few of our favorite techniques to catch someone's eye as they 're scrolling through their inbox:
- Write a compelling subject line. No matter how perfectly crafted your email body is, it won't matter if no one clicks through to read it! Write a subject line that packs a punch and captures your reader's attention from the start. (Hint: creativity counts, so don't lead off with something too basic like "Donate today!")
- Keep it simple. Let's face it: people are busy, and your supporters are no exception. Keep in mind that most people scan rather read, so you'll want to break up big blocks of text, include bolded headlines with important information, and get to the point of your message sooner rather than later.
- Be mobile-friendly. While photos and videos are the way to go on social media, too many images can slow down an email's loading time and interfere with mobile optimization. Since so many people are using their phones to browse the web, check email, and even donate to nonprofits, it's important that your email is ready-to-read on a small screen.
In addition to composing your own emails, you'll want to provide email templates for your fundraisers to send to their networks, too.
To get started, each peer-to-peer email should include:
- A brief campaign description, including an introduction to the cause.
- Links to the fundraiser's individual campaign page.
- Links to your organization's website.
- Event details, including time, date, location, and a link to your site.
The Big Picture: Peer-to-peer campaigns rely on social sharing through online networks, so web-based communications like social media and email are ideal for informing and engaging your supporters.
4. Add Creative Components.
With so many peer-to-peer campaigns taking place every day, you may want to go the extra mile to make your fundraiser stand out and to keep donors engaged from start to finish.
A great way to keep fundraising fun for your supporters is by adding gamification elements. This simply means adding game-like features to the online fundraising process to make the experience more engaging and exciting for fundraisers and their supporters.
You can encourage fundraisers to form teams and raise money together, add leaderboards to encourage friendly competition, and include rewards like fundraising badges or real-life perks to incentivize campaigners.
When you offer fundraising incentives (like merchandise), you make it even more exciting for fundraisers to reach milestones. For example, for every $100 raised, a fundraiser might be eligible to receive a custom water bottle, t-shirt, or hat.
Need help incorporating products into your fundraising campaign? Check out these creative ideas from Booster!
There's no end to how innovative your fundraiser can be. Most importantly, you should consider what your donors would want and plan a fundraiser that appeals to them at every level.
The Big Picture: The most lucrative fundraisers are the ones that engage donors at every stage of the game. Be creative and add some out-of-the-box components that will keep your fundraisers excited about sharing the cause with their friends.
Peer-to-peer fundraising has the potential to bring in a host of new donors, raise major fundraising dollars, and re-ignite excitement in your existing supporters.
While it's easy to get started with P2P, we hope that these tips and best practices have inspired you to push your campaign to the next level.
ABBY JARVIS is a blogger, marketer, and communications coordinator for Qgiv, an online fundraising service provider. Qgiv offers industry-leading online giving and peer to peer fundraising tools for nonprofit, faith-based, and political organizations of all sizes. When she's not working at Qgiv, Abby can usually be found writing for local magazines, catching up on her favorite blogs, or binge-watching sci-fi shows on Netflix.
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