First of all, we should establish what peer-to-peer fundraising actually is. Peer-to-peer fundraising, also known as social fundraising or P2P fundraising, is a fundraising tactic that mobilizes your organization’s most loyal supporters to raise money on behalf of your nonprofit.
Peer-to-peer campaigns can be rolling (i.e., they don’t have a defined end-date, but are over when a monetary goal is reached) or they can be time-based (i.e., at the end of June, the campaign is over, regardless of how much money has been raised).
A peer-to-peer campaign can take place on its own, but it can also be tied to an event like a marathon, fun-run, or other fundraiser. Peer-to-peer campaigns have a social sharing component attached to them, as well. Your fundraisers are given their own individual or team fundraising pages that they can share via email and on social media.
Your supporters then ask their family members, friends, and coworkers for donations or sponsorships. This results in more donations for your organization at a much lower cost than traditional or internal fundraising efforts. You also have the potential to double or even triple your donor base (with the assumption that every donor recruits one or two new supporters to your cause.)
Peer-to-peer fundraising now accounts for nearly one-third of all online fundraising dollars, and that trend is only set to rise in the future. This article will show you how you can successfully pair peer-to-peer fundraising and fundraising events!
This post will cover a lot of ground, but here’s a sneak peek of what you can learn:
- Why Should you Pair Peer-to-Peer Fundraising and Fundraising Events?
- Merchandise + Peer-to-Peer Fundraising + Events
- Strategies for Combining Peer-to-Peer Fundraising with Events
- Communications + Peer-to-Peer Fundraising + Events
Why Should you Pair Peer-to-Peer Fundraising and Fundraising Events?
Peer-to-peer fundraising and fundraising events go hand-in-hand. Asking people for donations can be a time-intensive and expensive endeavor, especially when you’re running up against a deadline (i.e., the date of your fundraising event!).
With peer-to-peer fundraising, your organization can broaden its scope and acquire new donors in a shorter amount of time. Additionally, your newly-acquired donors can decide whether they want to participate in your event. You could have more donations and a larger turnout.
What’s not to love?
Merchandise + Peer-to-Peer Fundraising + Events
A large number of fundraising events have some kind of merchandise component attached to them. Whether it’s t-shirts for a marathon or special wine glasses during a dinner, merchandise and events can complement each other and help you raise more money.
Merchandise and peer-to-peer campaigns can also go well together. There are many peer-to-peer platforms that can help your nonprofit sell your merchandise to your supporters during the donation process.
When a donor is directed to your peer-to-peer donation page, you can give them the option to buy a t-shirt, mug, or other type of merchandise. The cost of the item(s) is then added to their donation; they pay for everything in one place! This makes donating and purchasing easy and simple. If your event has merchandise attached to it, skip the hassle of selling it all during your event. Pick a peer-to-peer platform with merchandise capabilities and sell your merchandise online!
Strategies for Combining Peer-to-Peer Fundraising with Events
1. Ask fundraisers to obtain sponsors for an event.
The most straightforward and obvious way for your organization to combine peer-to-peer fundraising with your upcoming event is to ask your participants to obtain monetary sponsorships for the event.
Let’s say you’re hosting a marathon in 3 months. You currently have 100 donors who have signed up to participate in the event. You select a peer-to-peer platform and teach donors how to create their own fundraising pages to share with their social networks.
In the months leading up to the marathon, your donors share the link to their personal fundraising pages, and their friends, family members, and coworkers decide to make contributions to support the participant (and consequently, your organization) during the marathon. Donors can even send out event registration links so that their peers can sign up for the marathon themselves, if they want.
Meanwhile, your organization raises money for your cause thanks to the generosity of your donors and their philanthropic peers! This is the most common combination of peer-to-peer fundraising and events. Most organizations use peer-to-peer campaigns alongside their more active events like marathons, 5Ks, and fun runs, but it could be used for any kind of event!
2. Ask fundraisers to form teams and raise money together.
Some fundraising events are more conducive to team fundraising than individual fundraising. If this is the case for your nonprofit’s upcoming event, encourage your donors to form teams with one another or with their friends or family members and compete against each other! The type of event you host might be slightly different than a typical marathon or fun run. You might try planning a relay race or hosting a tournament featuring a team sport like basketball, volleyball, or kickball.
See who can raise the most money before the day of the event. Or have a race to see who can hit a fundraising goal first. Either way you choose to host it, a team-based peer-to-peer fundraiser (that’s tied to an event, of course!) can be a great way to introduce a little friendly competition into the fundraising process. Your donors will have a great time fundraising together and participating in your event.
Communications + Peer-to-Peer Fundraising + Events
You already know that you’ll have to get the word out about your fundraising event if you want anyone to show up and participate. But when you throw a peer-to-peer campaign into the mix, you have to be even more deliberate with your communications strategy.
You could send out direct mail invitations and emails and take out ads in your local media outlets (radio, newspaper, etc.) to spread the word about your event. But with a peer-to-peer campaign, most of your donors will reach your campaign page via email and social media, meaning that your communications strategy should be a bit more digital than it otherwise would be.
Plus, your fundraisers will be reaching out to their networks through these mediums, as well! Let’s take a look at some strategies for using those two channels to let donors know about your peer-to-peer campaign and your event.
Email is one of the most cost-effective ways to get in touch with a lot of supporters in a short amount of time. The problem is that many nonprofits aren’t crafting well-written and compelling emails. A lot of these messages are ending up in donors’ spam or trash folders, unopened and unclicked, a scenario that won’t do much to help you get the word out about your peer-to-peer campaign and/or your fundraising event.
But, your organization can boost your open and click-through rates by:
1. Writing Powerful Headlines
The subject line is the first thing donors will see when they access their emails. If yours just says, “Donate now!”, it probably isn’t going to be opened. However, if your subject line is something along the lines of, “Compete in our Zombie Marathon! Sign up today!”, your recipients will likely become intrigued.
2. Creating Beautiful Emails
There are any number of services and programs out there that can help you craft aesthetically appealing emails. Your donors don’t want to stare at a plain block of text that dryly tells them about a peer-to-peer campaign. Incorporate images, icons, and colors to make your emails stand out.
3. Segmenting your list
Not all of your donors should receive the same kinds of emails. Your loyal supporters have a different relationship with your nonprofit than someone who just volunteered with your organization last weekend.
When you send out invitations to your event and information about your peer-to-peer campaign, make sure that you separate your supporters into appropriate segments to increase the chances that each donor will receive the right kind of message. Additionally, since your donors are the ones fundraising on your behalf during a peer-to-peer fundraiser, you’ll need to make sure that you give them great email templates that they can send to their networks.
These templates should include:
- The link to your peer-to-peer donation page.
- Instructions on how to donate and/or buy merchandise.
- Information about the event (date, location, etc.).
- Ways to get in touch with your nonprofit (phone number, email, address, etc.).
- Any other pertinent information about your peer-to-peer campaign or the fundraising event.
Your email templates can vary depending on the segments you established earlier, but they should all contain the above information regardless.
Your social media posts will likely be a bit more informal than the emails you send out to your fundraisers and donors. Each post should link out to your peer-to-peer campaign’s donation page and provide important information about both the campaign and the fundraising event. Each social media platform will have certain best practices for posting about peer-to-peer campaigns and events:
Let’s look at each one:
The current social media giant is a good place to start promoting your peer-to-peer campaign. You can create regular posts that consist of text and a link or create images with accompanying captions that include a link. Either way, make sure that your template explains the details of the event and your peer-to-peer campaign.
You might want to consider spending a little money to promote this post to your Facebook followers. Due to updates to the algorithm Facebook uses to show users different posts, only 1-2% of your nonprofit’s Facebook fans will see your posts unless you pay to boost your post. Only a few dollars can make a huge impact!
You won’t have a lot of space on Twitter, but if you can get your message across in 140 characters or less, you’ll be set. Again, you should include the link to your peer-to-peer campaign’s donation page as well as compelling copy that convinces followers to give to your campaign and participate in your event. You can also include the link in your Twitter bio.
As an image-based platform, Instagram gives fundraisers a bit more creative flexibility when it comes to promoting a peer-to-peer campaign and an event. While you can’t post the link to your donation page in the description of the images you post, you can include it in your Instagram bio and direct followers to it by mentioning it in your images.
Your pictures should be inspiring and somehow tied to your peer-to-peer campaign or your event. For example, you could highlight one of your loyal supporters and quote them in the description. Get as creative as you want!
Using social media to promote your peer-to-peer campaign and fundraising event just makes sense. Many of your donors are on at least one of the aforementioned social networks. If each of your core fundraisers has approximately 100 followers and friends, you already have the potential to exponentially expand your reach (and many people have more than 100 followers and friends!).
Just make sure that you’re giving your core fundraisers the tools, resources, and templates they need to successfully reach out to their social networks and recruit more donors for your cause!
Hopefully, this article has offered you some insight and guidance for your next peer-to-peer fundraising campaign or fundraising event. For even more information, check out Qgiv’s introductory guide to peer-to-peer fundraising.
What about you and your organization? Have you recently combined peer-to-peer fundraising with an event? Let me know in the comments! And make sure you check out GrantSpace’s online fundraising resources to learn more about raising money online.
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.