Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns have huge amounts of potential if they’re executed properly. Between your organization’s network and your fundraisers’ networks, you can gain massive exposure and collect plenty of donations.
But first you need two things: the right tools and the right motivation. That second element is why so many peer-to-peer campaigns start off with a stellar kick-off event!
We’ve broken down five easy steps to hosting the best fundraising event1 for your upcoming campaign:
- Recruit a Leadership Team for Your Fundraising Event
- Choose a Date, Time, and Venue for Your Fundraising Event
- Craft Registration and Donation Forms for Your Fundraising Event
- Promote Your Fundraising Event
- Thank Your Donors After Your Fundraising Event
If you’re interested in a thorough run-down of a peer-to-peer fundraiser, check out Qgiv’s Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Guide2.
If you’re ready to host an amazing fundraising event to kick off your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, let’s dive in!
1. Recruit a Leadership Team for Your Fundraising Event
What is a leadership team, really? Simply put, a leadership team is made up of individuals who plan and organize your event. They’ll lead initiatives like procuring supplies and materials as well as managing setup and cleanup.
Typically, a nonprofit’s development director, who gets involved in planning because of their expertise, will head the leadership team to ensure a smooth event-planning experience. This individual will make sure the group stays on task and is also in charge of recruiting and training volunteers.
The development director, who should understand your peer-to-peer campaign and event goals, may also want to reach out to local companies and establishments and major donors to ask for event sponsorships.
In addition to your leadership team, you’ll want to form at least three different committees for different aspects of your event:
- Planning Committee. The first group should be your planning committee. They’ll be in charge of getting everything up and running; they’ll figure out logistics like date, time, location, sponsors, budgets, guest list, and more.
- Hosting Committee. These are the individuals who fundraise for your event! They’ll target donors and seek out individuals in their own networks for more engagement and involvement.
- Volunteers and Staff. This group leads the event on the big day. They’ll manage things like registration, checkout, and everything in between!
The bottom line: Your event might be small or it might be massive, but, either way, you’ll need teams of individuals to help your fundraiser run smoothly.
2. Choose a Date, Time, and Venue for Your Fundraising Event
Once you have your different teams all set up, you’ll want to put your planning committee to work first!
First, take a look at a calendar. You’ll want to compare your nonprofit organization’s schedule to a rough timeline of the event’s planning and execution processes.
Many fundraising events, like walkathons3, take about 6 months to plan, so if you want to host your walkathon in the beginning of September, you should begin planning in March.
Once you have an event date in mind, you’ll want to think about the time of day. Let’s stick with the idea of a walkathon. It’s important to keep in mind that most walkathons are held during the day.
Since you’re hosting your event in September and walkathons are usually outdoor events, you’ll probably want to stick with an afternoon timeframe because mornings might be a bit too chilly for some participants.
Also keep in mind that students are back to school in September, and adults will most likely have jobs to work during the week. A Saturday or Sunday afternoon is most likely your best bet.
Now that you have an idea of a date and time, think about a venue. You’ll need a large location that is equipped to handle registration, merchandise sales, and, naturally, a walking course.
Helpful hint: Many walkathons, races, and bikeathon courses are designed in loops to save some space!
However you choose to arrange your event’s course, be sure to inform your participants. Look into providing a map online and a print-out for participants to use the day of the event. This way, if it’s not a closed circuit course, they can make the proper transportation arrangements for beginning at one point and finishing at another.
Many of these types of fundraising events are hosted at public parks and trails with permits and permission from the city. But be aware: some locations may charge for popular dates and times!
The bottom line: Your organization should really think through each detail of your date, time, and venue before committing to anything. That way, you can be sure you’ve selected the right logistics to make your event a success.
3. Craft Registration and Donation Forms for Your Fundraising Event
In order to have supporters participate in your event or make contributions to your organization, you’ll need to expertly craft both your registration and donation forms4.
Check out a few helpful pointers for creating forms:
- Your form should be mobile optimized. Your form should be usable on any size of device. You wouldn’t want to miss out on donations simply because your form can’t be used on a cell phone!
- Your form should include social sharing options. Put social sharing buttons to Twitter, Facebook, email, and more5 right on your forms so your supporters can share your form with their networks and encourage their peers to donate, too!
- Your form should be branded. Branding your form builds upon the trust a donor has for your nonprofit. If they click your “Donate Now” button and are directed to a form that looks and feels nothing like your website, they’ll be hesitant about entering their credit card information on it. Branding your form ensures they feel that the form is trustworthy, credible, and secure.
- Your form should be easy to use. Don’t let an overly detailed form ruin your chances of obtaining donations. Make your donation process simple; while you can offer other options like creating an account and signing up for recurring giving, stick to just two required information fields: the donor’s contact information and payment information.
The bottom line: Your donation form can be a lifesaver or it can ruin your fundraising efforts. It all depends on how much attention and customization you give it!
Bonus: Never leave any donation form uncustomized. See how Qgiv can help you brand a donation form for your Facebook page6!
4. Promote Your Fundraising Event
An event is only as successful as its donors are generous. But an event definitely can’t be successful if there are no donors in attendance!
In order to have your supporters attend for your big day, you’ll have to promote your event. Just as your individual supporters are fundraising on your behalf, you can have them promote your event to their networks, too!
The idea behind this is that their promotion starts a domino effect and encourages their friends, family, and peers to share your campaign with new networks.
But don’t forget that tried-and-true promotion ideas can work for you, too. Think about:
- Sharing your campaign page on social media.
- Creating an event page on Facebook.
- Emailing your lists about your upcoming campaign.
- Sending out press releases to local media sources.
- Creating an ad for your local paper.
Your promotion and marketing strategy should adopt a multi-channel approach, meaning you don’t limit yourself to promoting your event in only one place7!
The bottom line: Your event is only as good as its promotion. Don’t stop your efforts at email blasts; get your entire nonprofit community involved in ensuring your campaign’s success!
5. Thank Your Donors After Your Fundraising Event
If you only take away one thing about your donors (besides their names), it’s that all donors love to be thanked—and for good reason! Without their generous contributions, your nonprofit wouldn’t be able to fund your projects and missions.8
While some donors adore public recognition, others prefer more personal emails or other forms of communication. This is where list segmentation will come in handy. You can categorize supporters by preferred method of communication, level of giving, or other descriptives.
No matter how you choose to show your appreciation, you’ll want to make sure you send some type of thank-you note within 48 hours of your event’s completion.
Waiting any longer than just 2 days might leave your donors feeling like an ATM and hurt your donor relationships! You don’t want them to feel like they’re neglected when it comes to communication or gratitude.
Begin crafting your acknowledgements right after your event ends. Depending on the peer-to-peer software9 your nonprofit is using, you might be able to send out automatic thank-yous that you’ve customized ahead of time!
The bottom line: Your donors are crucial when it comes to your nonprofit’s success, so make sure they feel valued and important! Never leave a donor or volunteer unthanked.
Now that you have our 5 easy tips, you’re sure to host an amazing fundraising event to kick off your peer-to-peer campaign. With the help of volunteers, a branded donation form, and some authentic thank-yous, there’s nothing standing in your way.
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.