I hope last year was a great fundraising year for you and your organization. But I’m sure you’re wondering how you can make this year even better for your nonprofit.
Well, if you want to raise more money, acquire more donors, and strengthen relationships with your current supporters, why not try peer-to-peer fundraising?
If you read “6 Back to School Lessons for Online Fundraising,” you’ll know that I praised peer-to-peer fundraising as being one of the best ways to raise money while staying engaged with your donor base.
Peer-to-peer campaigns are so effective because supporters are able to fundraising on your behalf. Organizations can not only raise money but also obtain new followers in the process.
Technically, you can host a peer-to-peer campaign at any time of year, however, they work best in the spring and summer months. Since most campaigns are tied to active events like walkathons or marathons, they work better when the weather is warm.
While your fundraisers take on much of the leg work by asking family and peers to donate, that doesn’t mean your organization can sit back and watch the funds role in. Peer-to-peer campaigns require a lot of planning, and there’s no better time to start preparing than right now!
This article is going to take you through the steps you’ll need to plan a fantastic peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.
- Select your peer-to-peer fundraising platform.
- Choose the fundraisers for your peer-to-peer campaign.
- Put peer-to-peer fundraising packets and templates together.
For more in-depth information about peer-to-peer fundraising and how to make it work for your organization, check out this article.
1. Select Your Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Platform
It’s going to be difficult to start a peer-to-peer campaign without the proper software. Before you get too deep into the logistics of your fundraiser, shop around and choose a peer-to-peer platform.
Of course, not all peer-to-peer platforms are equal. For instance, here is an example of a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign on Fundly, a leading crowdfunding platform for individuals and nonprofits:
As you can see, the main fundraising page displays the total funds raised so far and includes a list of all the teams fundraising for the Austin Habitat for Humanity. The page also lists out various giving levels so donors know exactly how their money is being used.
Depending on your nonprofit’s needs, you might need different capabilities for your campaign, but here are some universal features you should look for:
- Social sharing integrations. One of the key components of a peer-to-peer campaign is the ability to share fundraising pages on social media and via email. Choose a platform that has sharing buttons in prominent locations so supporters can easily share your fundraisers with their friends and family members.
- Visual fundraising tools. From fundraising thermometers to leaderboards to badges, your organization needs to find a platform with these features. They can help keep fundraisers motivated throughout your campaign and add a little friendly competition into the mix. Plus, when donors can see how much they’ve raised, they’ll be more determined to reach their goals.
- Custom fundraising pages. Your peer-to-peer fundraising pages should represent your nonprofit and its brand. Look for a platform that lets you customize fundraising pages and create templates for your fundraisers. Supporters can use these templates to build unique pages that still maintain your particular style.
- Integration with your fundraising software and CRM. Once your peer-to-peer campaign is complete, you’ll have a load of new donors and other information that will need to get transferred to your nonprofit CRM. Look for a peer-to-peer platform that integrates with your existing software so migrating information can be completed with a click of a button.
You can sort features by their priority to your nonprofit. For example, if you know that many of your supporters enjoy giving via their mobile devices, it will be important for you to look for a mobile-responsive peer-to-peer platform.
If your nonprofit can’t find the features you need, you can always purchase a platform that offers even more customization and work with a consultant to design your fundraiser. For instance, Blackbaud users can use TeamRaiser, a tool that allows nonprofits to adjust every aspect of their campaign.
Pro Tip: Get as much information as you can about a peer-to-peer software provider before you get on board. The last thing you want is to start a campaign with a subpar peer-to-peer platform!
Bonus: For help selecting peer-to-peer software, check out this list.
2. Choose the Fundraisers for Your Peer-to-Peer Campaign
Once you’ve chosen your peer-to-peer fundraising software, it’s time to select your fundraisers!
This is arguably one of the most crucial steps of the peer-to-peer planning process. Without dedicated and motivated fundraisers, your nonprofit won’t be able to meet your goal.
Plus, according to this article, the top 5 percent of your social influencers reach 85 percent of your entire network reach. This means that if you can select the cream of the crop, you’ll be able to raise enough money to reach your goal!
Dig into your donor database to find these individuals. You want to look for patterns and traits such as:
- Average donation size. Larger donations signal a willingness to see your organization succeed.
- How long the individual has been giving to your organization. The longer someone has been giving to your organization, the more likely they’ll be to help with your peer-to-peer fundraiser.
- Volunteer history and level of involvement. Individuals with a history of non-monetary involvement with your nonprofit have demonstrated their desire to help you accomplish your mission.
- Event attendance history. Supporters who have attended several events (as opposed to none) are more likely to want to help you with your peer-to-peer efforts.
- Social influence and reach. Someone with 400 Facebook friends, 500 Instagram followers, and a strong Twitter profile is more likely to raise more money than someone who doesn’t have any social media profiles.
Of course, not all of your peer-to-peer fundraisers are going to possess all of these qualities. Additionally, just because someone looks like the perfect candidate in your database, it doesn’t mean that they’ll want to participate in your fundraising efforts.
However, these five data points are worth analyzing when trying to choose your peer-to-peer supporters.
Send out emails and make phone calls to the individuals you think would be the best fit for your organization’s peer-to-peer efforts.
You can also advertise the opportunity by creating a banner that goes across the top of your site inviting visitors to join your peer-to-peer fundraising efforts.
While you can allow people to join your peer-to-peer campaign at any time, I recommend that you institute a deadline for your fundraisers to register by. That way, you can train everyone at once, and no one is jumping into the fundraising at the last minute.
Pro Tip: When asking people to join your peer-to-peer fundraising efforts, highlight the importance of your mission and the benefits of fundraising for your organization.
3. Put Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Packets and Templates Together
Your info packets and/or templates should ideally be created before all of your peer-to-peer fundraisers are registered and on board.
These information packets or templates are designed to help supporters navigate their fundraising experience.
Since most of your fundraisers will have limited experience asking for donations, they’ll need your help to prepare!
Your info packets and templates should include information about:
- Your nonprofit’s general mission and the specific purpose behind your campaign.
- Setting up and customizing a fundraising page.
- Asking for donations from friends and family members.
- Using social media and email to raise money and awareness.
- Any events tied to your peer-to-peer campaign.
Your packets and templates should also be branded to your nonprofit and include your colors, logo, and/or mission statement.
March of Dimes has a great example of an effective peer-to-peer fundraising info packet.
This is only one page out of their six-page packet, but there are several awesome things about this page:
- They highlight the top five ways to raise money and emphasize that “successful fundraisers use a combination of the five channels below.”
- They provide a link to guides, posters, and other peer-to-peer fundraising resources that fundraisers can download.
- They include a team T-shirt order form.
- They talk about their “March for Babies” app and remind fundraisers that they can use it to track their donations in real time.
- They mention matching gifts at the end of the page to remind fundraisers that they may be able to double the money they raise.
A page like this is a great starting point if you’re just beginning to put together your fundraisers’ info packets and templates.
As for your peer-to-peer templates, your organization can provide fundraisers with materials that will make soliciting donations easier. For example, you could create templates for:
- Fundraising letters and emails
- Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts
- Acknowledgement letters.
Since you’ll have a better understanding of your organization’s fundraising plan, you can create materials that ask for donations in a way that encourages donors to give. Just make sure that your templates have plenty of space for fundraisers to include their personal reasons for supporting your cause.
In addition to creating peer-to-peer fundraising packets, your organization can create online and in-person workshops. This way, fundraisers have the chance to ask questions and meet other supporters who are participating in the campaign.
During your workshops, you can walk fundraisers through the process of setting up their peer-to-peer fundraising page and creating a fundraising goal. If you’re incorporating any competitive elements into your fundraising campaign, let your fundraisers know how the competition works.
Depending on how long your campaign will last, you might want to have several workshops during the campaign to address some of the challenges that fundraisers have faced and provide additional tips on how they can reach their fundraising goal.
Pro Tip: You should also ask your fundraisers what they need to be successful. They might need some kind of support or resource that you didn’t even think about!
Bonus: If you’re training peer-to-peer fundraisers in person (or if you’re hosting a webinar), check out “Getting Started as a Fundraising Trainer” for training tips.
Hopefully, you’ll be able to implement these peer-to-peer planning tips within the next few weeks or months. I hope that your peer-to-peer fundraiser is successful!
Adam Weinger is the president of Double the Donation, the leading provider of tools to nonprofits to help them raise more money from corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs. Connect with Adam viaemail or on LinkedIn.