Peer-to-Peer Fundraising: Tips for Implementing

20 Jun 2016

There are two primary reasons people donate to nonprofit organizations: 1) they have been asked, and 2) they have been asked by someone they care about. The latter is the birthplace of peer-to-peer fundraising. And the secret recipe that cause-driven organizations count on when they coach individuals on how to fundraise.

Peer-to-peer fundraising helps scale relationship-building by tapping into your current supporters’ respective networks—their friends, family, and colleagues. At its core, peer-to-peer fundraising is grassroots and social. And those two terms – grassroots, social – are good ways to describe the millennial or young supporter audience. As Rachel recently discussed in The Donors of Tomorrow,  if the majority of your donors are over a certain age, now is the time to expand your efforts to reach new supporters. Peer-to-peer fundraising is social, it’s crowdsourcing, and it speaks directly to younger audiences.

Rather than banking on instant mass appeal, peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns build momentum by engaging and activating fundraisers, who then reach out to their own networks for support. Who has bigger networks than the demographics who live on social channels? People are more likely to donate to a cause their friend or family feels strongly about. If you have a friend that shares a personal story and makes an ask to you via email, Facebook post, Tweet – you are more likely to donate to their cause due to your relationship.

Tools and Tips

The key to igniting the peer-to-peer fundraising fire in the belly of a millennial, is to ensure you are offering support for their efforts. You must provide the tools and education your fundraisers need for their personal success. Resource tools should include:

  • Fundraising tip sheets
  • Email templates
  • Suggested social media posts
  • Videos featuring the work and success of your organization
  • Graphics and infographics
  • Data-points on your mission

If You Build It, They Will Come

If your organization lives on a platform that allows DIY fundraising, provide the support needed to help the individual build and create a personal fundraising page. And provide suggestions for rolling or year-round fundraising campaigns. These campaigns typically revolve around your supporters’ life events. It could be a birthday, holiday, wedding, or athletic endeavor. Encourage your supporters to use any (or all!) occasions to fundraise for your organization.

Example: World Wildlife, Panda Nation

CE_June_WWF

If you aren’t able to support DIY efforts, but still do defined peer-to-peer fundraising events, having a strong peer-to-peer site for time-sensitive events (like a walk/run) is necessary so individuals, teams and groups are able to direct friends and family to a single location to support their cause. Be sure to include photos and videos showcasing how teams across the country are supporting your cause. A little peer-pressure with your peer-to-peer fundraising never hurt anyone!

Example: National Kidney Foundation, Kidney Walk

CE_June_Kidney_Walk

Kick it Off, Keep it Fun!

You have the pieces in place, the tools are set, and you’re ready to go. Like all campaigns in your organization, it’s important to have a kick-off of your peer-to-peer fundraising. Whether you’re managing a time-sensitive walk or a rolling DIY campaign – a kick-off will help your fundraisers feel like you’re supporting their efforts. Create campaign-specific fundraising “thermometers” and social media badges that fundraisers can use to show off their progress. Earlier this year we discussed how gamification can take your fundraising to the next level. Consider offering appreciation gifts such as t-shirts for fundraisers who reach specific milestones or enter top fundraisers into a drawing for a prize. And don’t forget to thank and recognize the people advocating for your mission!

Peer-to-peer fundraising has evolved from just coaching emails for your annual walk. With the explosion of social media in the recent years, the ease of asking and spreading information to donors is growing. If you put the tools and support in place, you can reach that millennial donor and you can diversify your donor reach with peer-to-peer, crowdfunding campaigns.