One of the best ways to appeal for funds is through a strategy called peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising.
The secret behind this strategy’s success lies in how nonprofits are able to share personal connections between friends, family, neighbors, and acquaintances to raise funds and awareness in an efficient, cost-effective manner.
However, despite the win-win nature of these campaigns, they still take the same level of careful planning and attention as any other fundraising effort.
Never fear, though, because as long as your nonprofit keeps the critical practices we’re about to discuss in check, there’s no telling how far your P2P fundraiser will go.
These steps include:
- Offer training sessions and resources for first-time fundraisers.
- Motivate your team to share personal stories.
- Optimize fundraising for millennial donors.
- Use gamification to increase competition.
- Pair your P2P fundraiser with the right event.
Let’s get started!
1. Offer Training Sessions for First-Time Fundraisers
Remember, this may be the first time many of your fundraisers have done anything like this and you not only want to foster these relationships, but help them get the most out of their experiences, too.
Coordinate In-person and Remote Workshops
The strongest of these measures is to organize in-person community meetings for hands-on training as well as remote workshops for your team.
During this time, your nonprofit should be prepared to administer specific tactics and instructions for your fundraisers to practice when reaching out to online donors.
Even though this network will primarily be reaching out to people who they are familiar and comfortable with, it’s still a good idea to provide them with ideas to increase their odds of success such as:
- A walk-through of the process.
- Setting reasonable goals.
- Maintaining a casual online presence.
- Ways to ask for specific donation amounts.
- Ways to not pressure donors into giving.
Likewise, if your fundraising team is scattered across the country, take the time to create a remote workshop featuring phone calls or video chatting to successfully train your team from afar.
At the end of the day, both strategies will achieve a personal connection with your team members as they go out of their way to help your cause.
Offer Email and Social Media Templates
Additionally, for those newbie fundraisers who are unsure of how to craft an online donation request, you can provide email or social media templates to give them a solid direction to go in and customize to their liking.
Here’s an example of a simple Facebook donation page your nonprofit can reference:
These templates can also help your fundraising team collaborate with their employers on a matching gift arrangement in the works or already in place. After all, a single donation is bound to go further when doubled by an employer or business.
Make Time to Check in with Fundraisers
Once your team dives head first into the sea of online fundraising, it’s important to keep those contact lines open by checking in with them on a routine basis.
Share your nonprofit’s contact information with each of your team members and be available when they reach out with questions or concerns.
After a P2P fundraiser is over, some nonprofits even ask their teams to fill out surveys requesting feedback on how to improve their next initiative.
Above all, a nonprofit must recognize that while your fundraisers are volunteering their time and energy on your behalf, they are by no means taking any responsibilities off your hands.
It’s your job as the organizer to build relationships with your team and implement specific training to suit their needs.
2. Motivate Your Team to Share Personal Stories
Peer-to-peer fundraising is always a great way to foster a team environment. That being said, it’s important to keep in mind that your fundraisers are not telemarketers. They don’t read from scripts, and while it can be helpful to set a few ground rules in place, your team should never rely on a formulaic approach to get donations.
Remember that peer-to-peer fundraising is all about your supporters reaching out to people they know to support a cause.
That’s why it’s crucial for your fundraisers to have the freedom to personalize the cause when garnering support, and the most natural way to do that is by telling stories.
Think about it, your fundraisers most likely partnered with your nonprofit in the first place because they had a personal investment in your cause; so why not have them share it with their friends and family?
One of easiest ways to accomplish this is by encouraging your team to publicize their stories on social media and fundraising emails.
Start by having them set up their own donation pages so that their personal stories are the first thing a viewer sees.
Additionally, if a fundraiser has a particularly inspiring story and isn’t afraid to speak in front of an audience, then you can even arrange for him or her share it as a speech at your next big event.
However you choose to do it, one thing is for certain, and it’s that these shared human connections will always generate the biggest response to your cause.
3. Optimize Fundraising for Millennial Donors
One of the biggest components that will determine the success of your peer-to-peer fundraiser will be how much your fundraisers interact with online users. This means that your primary virtual audience will be tech-fluent millennials.
Even though baby boomers and Generation X are just as likely to become potential donors, millennials donors tend to be more active online.
As a generation that grew up in the age of light-speed communication, millennials, more so than their older counterparts, instinctively expect giving to be fast, efficient, and online.
Plus, as various millennial-driven online-activism movements have proven, this age group responds best to philanthropy tied directly to their communities.
All of these attributes play right into the hands of peer-to-peer fundraisers who can appeal to this influential demographic by:
- Inviting them to like your campaign’s social media pages.
- Inviting them to like or share content related to your fundraiser.
- Inviting them to take a poll or quiz related to your fundraiser.
- Using “real” conversational language in your posts.
- Using lots of visuals in your online communication.
- Encouraging them to check out offline connections like mobile giving.
For some nifty social sharing ideas, take a look at this Twitter template perfect for P2P fundraising:
Peer-to-peer fundraisers should also be aware of the rapidly changing nature of technology by staying on top of new platforms as well as updates on old ones.
Have your team be familiar with what strategies can make a post go viral and how to best incorporate hashtags to boost awareness of the cause.
By utilizing new and existing forms of digital communication, your fundraising team can harness the power and population of millennial donors now more than ever before.
4. Use Gamification to Increase Competition
Your fundraising team already has passion for the cause and online connections, but what else can you do to inspire them to get even more donations faster?
Well, as many advertisers will tell you, one of the best ways to engage and excite your audience is by rewarding them with prizes or incentives.
In other words, your nonprofit can make peer-to-peer fundraising even more fun (and more successful) by entertaining your team with gamification strategies.
Implement Competitive Tools with Gamification Features
There are several ways to launch a competition among your team members (for more info, check out this guide from Qgiv), and it goes without saying that it’s best to have these rules and games in place before your peer-to-peer fundraiser starts.
Get your fundraisers’ heads in the game with some of these competitive tools and rewards:
- Virtual badges, certificates, or trophies to celebrate fundraising milestones.
- Leaderboards that promote top performers.
- Widgets and thermometers that track the nonprofit and fundraiser progress.
- Social media shout-outs to top-performing fundraisers.
- Merchandise and event ticket prizes.
In addition, your nonprofit must set up ways to track your fundraisers’ progress and keep score of donations.
This can be done by providing your team with custom reports to assess their strengths and weaknesses as well as setting up an interactive dashboard on your website for tracking individual performance.
For a fun example of nonprofit gamification, check out The Green House Plant-a-Thon’s unique P2P fundraising page:
This quirky donor leaderboard should also give your nonprofit some great ideas:
Because your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign will be held almost exclusively online, it’s also essential for your nonprofit to invest in an online peer-to-peer platform that can accommodate all of the gamification tactics mentioned above.
Luckily, there are a variety of platforms to choose from with a range of marketing and fundraising tools built in, such as:
- Resources for building event and individual/team fundraising pages.
- Custom text and graphics.
- A drag-and-drop interface.
- Integration with other marketing software.
- Donor and donation tracking.
- Mobile-friendly web design or app.
- Event registration options and merchandise storefront.
Typically, P2P fundraising platforms will also allow a nonprofit to implement its logo, copy, and branding as well as display photos and videos showcasing fundraising goals and stories.
All in all, nothing will send your peer-to-peer campaign into motion faster while achieving better results than friendly, old-fashioned competition.
5. Pair your P2P Fundraiser with the Right Event
Oftentimes a nonprofit will take its peer-to-peer fundraiser to the next level by pairing it with a live event.
As much as we love technology, events are a great way to engage with your supporters offline as well as promote the cause in a public arena.
To begin with, there are three types of events that work well with peer-to-peer fundraisers:
- Time-sensitive (a fundraiser open for a limited amount of time).
- Rolling (a fundraiser open all year).
- Individual giving days (a fundraiser only open on one day, such as #GivingTuesday).
These events are always worth the investment because they provide a large-scale and in-person opportunity to secure a hefty amount of donations.
Where most nonprofits go wrong however is in planning the right event that will pair nicely with your online peer-to-peer fundraising efforts. Thankfully, there are some key tips you can follow to guarantee your event is a success.
Active Competitions Are Best
The best way to draw in a crowd of potential donors is to unite them in an active competition that promotes community and provides a tactile way for your audience to feel like they’re making a difference.
These events can take several forms, but due to their physical involvement, they tend to work better if organized in the spring or summer. A few popular options include:
- Team sports
- 5K races
- Themed races (The Color Run, The Krispy Kreme Challenge, etc.)
This is your chance to be creative in getting a large group donors together, so go all out and make it fun!
Thank Your Event Supporters
Don’t forget that one of the greatest advantages to coordinating a P2P fundraising event is the opportunity to thank your supporters!
During the marketing stage, encourage your supporters to bring their friends and family along to your event and then thank everyone who showed up in a gracious public speech.
If you really want to go the extra mile, have someone record your speech at the event and then blast the video across all your social media the next day.
Following up with event supporters is also as equally important as recruiting them in the first place. You want them to know how integral they are to your fundraiser and, in addition to issuing a thank-you post on social media, make sure to send out handwritten thank-you cards and emails to both your donors and fundraising team.
In today’s digital age, utilizing online marketing strategies is vital, but sometimes your P2P fundraiser will make an even bigger impact if complemented by the right event.
Overall, whether you captivate millennials with gamification strategies or train your team to charm donors with heartwarming stories, there are endless ways for a nonprofit to have fun organizing a lucrative peer-to-peer fundraiser.
With the help of these best practices, though, your nonprofit will put the rest to shame.
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.