What does it take to launch a successful peer to peer fundraising campaign?
Well, all it takes is a trip down memory lane! Whether it was selling chocolate to raise money for the school field trip, gift wrap for the year-end events, a bake sale for charity, or any other number of childhood fundraising activities, you can recall a time when you desperately wanted to raise the money for something, and you called on your friends and family to help.
That is called peer-to-peer fundraising, and that means you already know what peer-to-peer fundraising entails: reaching out to your friends and family. This time around, however, it’s your family of supporters you’ll be engaging and it’s their friends (or networks) that will become your donors.
To launch this kind of campaign effectively, there are a few strategies that
you’ll want to implement that can turn the basic fundraising principles behind selling girl scout cookies into a polished campaign that can raise thousands in funds for your nonprofit.
The first thing you should do is figure out what kind of peer-to-peer strategy would fit best for your nonprofit. There are three types of peer-to-peer fundraising strategies that are common.
This is structured around one nonprofit campaign site and your supporters create their own personal fundraising pages that work toward that goal.
This is a good fit for you if you have a community of supporters, have a particular goal in mind your supporters can work toward, and have fixed time period.
This is the type of peer-to-peer fundraising that happens when someone is a lone ranger, completing a journey themselves while raising money for a cause.
This is a good fit if you have a few, passionate supporters that are looking to start a campaign with their own goals and tactics, and there is no fixed period required on the part of your nonprofit.
This strategy includes a physical activity or event your supporters participate in as part of the fundraising process, such as a walkathon.
Usually health related organizations tie in this strategy well to their cause. You should consider using this strategy if your cause is health related and if you have a lot of Millennial supporters. Sixty-four percent of Millennials prefer to fundraise through walk/run/cycling events.
The key to getting your peer-to-peer campaign started is to empower your supporters to launch their own personal fundraising page. Send a set of emails before you launch your campaign to get a group of people informed and interested in the upcoming campaign.
As your supporters commit to raising funds on your behalf, you’ll want to invest in your supporters in such a way that they’ll feel like they are part of a community.
By serving the role of a mentor for your fundraisers, they’ll be empowered to raise funds effectively. You can guide them through the fundraising process by:
- Appointing one person as a point of contact for fundraisers to provide support and guidance before and during the campaign.
- Equipping supporters with a toolkit containing all the information they’d need for the campaign, including: logos, videos, and suggested email and social media copy.
- Providing information on opportunities to increase the amount of funds they raise through matching gifts and fundraising matches.
- Engaging with supporters on social media with high-quality content. You can encourage supporters to use your hashtag, post pictures, or share your campaign video. Additionally, you can interact with supporters on social media to offer your support, congratulations, or help as needed.
Tip: Guide personal fundraisers to include their story about why the cause means something to them in their appeal.
Setting up your campaign site in a way that offers information that is both clear and effective in sharing your mission is critical in helping your peer-to-peer campaign flourish.
There are tons of online donation tools to choose from, but the one that will work best for your nonprofit will depend on:
- Your nonprofit’s size.
- The type of organization (some software is specialized for schools, etc.).
- Your budget.
- Your unique needs and challenges.
Though the perfect peer-to-peer software will vary by organization, there are some standard features that are important for any peer-to-peer campaign.
Make sure your campaign site contains these elements that are proven to engage those who are creating a personal fundraising page:
- A look and feel that reflect your branding. Your branding says a lot about the personality of your nonprofit. Make sure that shines through -- it’ll create a sense of belonging for your supporters and introduce new ones to your style.
- Putting a face and a name to a cause through videos and images can really create a personal connection with supporters, the cause is no longer about just text on a page - it’s about helping these people. For example, take a look at how Humans of New York shared a picture and leveraged the community to raise funds for Mott Hall Bridges Academy.
- A fundraising appeal that connects with your audience and moves them to give. A good fundraising appeal is comprised of background information about your organization, the story of your campaign, and you call to action.
- A fundraising goal, an impact goal (the specific tangible impact you want to make), and and end date.
By creating fundraising and impact goals, you put a fixed point where you can make tangible success within your cause. This will motivate donors, while the end date will add a sense of urgency for donating.
4) Create a follow-up strategy
One of the most important (and often overlooked) aspects of a successful peer-to-peer fundraising campaign is what to do once the campaign is over.
After all, your supporters have dedicated their time and energy to fundraising for your organization! You need to demonstrate proper gratitude.
Likewise, you need to thank the influx of new donors who contributed to your campaign. Engage them with information on your nonprofit and cause (since they most likely donated to support the friend or family member who shared the campaign, not necessarily your nonprofit).
You’ll need to plan your follow-up strategy in advance to make sure that everyone is properly thanked and welcomed into your organization.
Some peer-to-peer platforms will have donor management features that will ease this process.
These features may include:
- Automated donation receipts. It’s vital that you steward all of your donors by confirming their gifts ASAP. Even better, you can customize your receipts to invite new donors into your organization and thank your long-time donors for their continued support.
- Donor database integration. Your donor data will provide valuable insights that can help you create future fundraising strategies. It’s important to update your database with the new information you receive. Integrated software will automate the process for you!
With your strategy all set, your personal fundraisers equipped, and your campaign page ready to go, you’re ready to launch your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign! You already had peer-to- peer fundraising down in 3rd grade, but now you’re a professional with the strategy you need to run a successful campaign.
To learn more, download our free ebook The Ultimate Guide to Peer-to-Peer Fundraising.
Candace Cody is the Fundraising Insights Editor at CauseVox, a nonprofit crowdfunding platform. She works to empower nonprofits on crowdfunding best practices and curates the latest fundraising insights on the CauseVox Blog.