Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

How to Increase Your Fundraiser Proceeds with Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

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Do you want to increase your fundraising proceeds dramatically, without significantly increasing your resources?In this post, we will show you how to effectively increase your fundraising proceeds through the inclusion of peer-to-peer campaigns in your fundraising strategy. But first, what is Peer-to-Peer fundraising?

Peer-to-peer fundraising (P2P fundraising) is a form of crowdfunding focused on the idea of leveraging your cause and turning your organization’s supporters into fundraising advocates in order to expand your mission’s reach, donor database, and donations.

P2P Fundraising is a multi-tiered approach, where donors are asked to raise money, in addition to donating.  The basic premise behind peer-to-peer fundraising is that donors will be more likely to support someone they trust (friend, family member, etc.) rather than a stranger soliciting donations. Hearing about a cause from a trusted friend or family member also creates an emotional affiliation for potential donors to your cause.P2P fundraising empowers an organization’s supporters to become its best fundraising advocates, and harnesses the collective giving power of a MUCH larger audience in the process. All of this comes as a result of motivating your initial supporters to become fundraising advocates in order to inspire their own networks of friends and family.

Why does this make sense for fundraising? Because people trust word-of-mouth recommendations from their friends and family.Let’s use a non-fundraising example to illustrate this idea. When choosing a restaurant for dinner, would you be more likely to visit a restaurant that a friend recommended to you, or a restaurant that you may have heard about on TV or the radio? You would most likely choose your friend’s recommendation, because you trust their opinion over that of an advertisement. In the same fashion, people are more likely to support or donate to a cause introduced to them by their friends or family, over a cause they heard about from a stranger or an organization soliciting donations. P2P fundraising is just another form of word-of-mouth marketing!

And with today’s landscape being dominated by the Internet and social media, now is an easier time than ever to embrace the benefits of word-of-mouth and peer-to-peer fundraising.Online fundraising pages and social media profiles help your supporters to instantly spread the word about your cause, creating an immediate boost in potential donor base, while also gaining exposure for your organization and cause.By setting up your fundraiser properly from the start and leveraging your network of peers, you will effectively grow your giving power by building a HUGE group of supporters. Many hands make light work. The best part about peer-to-peer fundraising is that you see benefits without a dramatic increase in your resources or workload because of the help from your supporters! In this post, we will give you all of the information you need to increase your fundraiser proceeds by utilizing peer-to-peer fundraising, including:

  • Benefits of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
  • How to Set Up Your Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign

Benefits of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

The most obvious benefit of P2P fundraising is dramatically increasing your donor base and proceeds raised from your fundraising campaign. But beyond raising significantly more proceeds for your cause, peer-to-peer fundraising has lasting benefits that will continually give back to your organization:

Utilize Technology Effectively

While the Internet continues to mesh with every aspect of our lives, it is no surprise that a crucial part of a successful fundraising campaign is building an effective online strategy for your fundraiser.  You may be wondering how to leverage the Internet for your fundraiser, especially with many organizations relying on outdated and traditional fundraising tools...

Luckily, Peer-to-Peer fundraising goes hand in hand with online fundraising methods. In fact, incorporating online fundraising with your P2P campaign is one of the easiest and quickest ways to create your successful P2P Campaign (more to come in our Campaign Setup section!).

Expand Donor Base & Supporters

One of the longest lasting benefits of using Peer-to-Peer Fundraising methods is that, by leveraging its key principles, you will automatically increase your donor and supporter base. With P2P fundraising methods, fundraiser organizers provide their donors with the necessary tools to raise money themselves. This new group of donor advocates then passes on the same tools and knowledge to their friends and family, creating a cycle which leads to viral and rapid growth in your donor and supporter pool. This continuous cycle is one of the best ways to build a sustainable fundraising campaign that will continue to grow your donor base and proceeds in future.

Engage your donors more effectively

In addition to growing your donor base, a Peer-to-Peer fundraising campaign can be extremely effective in engaging your current donors. Too often, we hear that fundraiser organizers and non-profit staff are struggling to keep their best donors engaged, and that donation levels are volatile throughout the course of the year.

Creating a P2P fundraising campaign will allow you to directly engage your donors by providing them with a greater sense of purpose and responsibility.By getting your donors involved and asking them to help raise money instead of simply donating money, you are giving more meaning to the status of being a donor, and are now elevating your donors’ sense of pride in supporting your cause. As a result, your donors will feel more appreciated, will have a sense of purpose, and will continue to support your cause (while also spreading awareness for you!).

Raise Awareness for Your Cause

In the same way that Peer-to-Peer fundraising will increase your donor base, so too will it raise awareness for your cause. Transforming your fans, supporters, and donors into fundraising advocates means they will spread your message and mission to their networks, friends, and family. Whether through in-person conversations, or online recommendations (social media posts, emails, shared web pages, etc.), these conversations will dramatically increase the offline and online chatter about your fundraiser and cause. The resulting increase in conversation will amplify your message, and will boost the social footprint of your cause, effectively raising awareness, support, and proceeds.

Setting Up Your Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign

Increasing your proceeds through P2P fundraising relies heavily on proper setup of your campaign. While the original setup may be time-consuming, the results will speak for themselves and will eventually save you incredible amounts of time and resources in the future.

1. Set Your Goals

Again, while your ultimate goal will be to increase proceeds and donations for your fundraiser, try to prioritize one or two secondary goals for your P2P Campaign. Our favorites to focus on include:

  • Increasing your donor base
  • Reaching a new target demographic to add to your donor base
  • Engaging your current donors more effectively
  • Raising general awareness for your cause

2. Identify Your Target

While you may feel that everybody will relate to your cause and want to support it, this is unfortunately not the case.Instead, we recommend identifying a few key targets to begin with. By focusing on your key targets, you will develop initial donors who are more passionate about your cause, setting your fundraiser up for future success. As a result, your P2P Campaign will grow your presence in these targets, and your awareness will eventually spill into new targets.Some factors to consider when identifying your targets:

  • Age
  • Geography
  • Donor Resources (small donation sizes vs. large donation sizes)
  • Interests

3. Determine Your Resources

Before beginning your Peer-to-Peer fundraising campaign, identify your available resources. Will you be running this campaign by yourself? Do you have a volunteer staff or committee? Here are few areas you will want to consider when looking at your available resources:

  • Staff Available
  • Volunteers / Committee Available
  • Time
  • Budget

4. Select Your Campaign Type

Now it’s time to choose your actual fundraising campaign! Keep in mind that almost any type of fundraiser can become a P2P fundraiser, simply by engaging your fan base, and encouraging them to actively spread the word about your fundraiser.Still, there are a few tried and true methods that work especially well for Peer-to-Peer fundraising. We typically break these down into independent and affiliated events:

    • Independent Events - These campaigns encourage your organization's supporters to create their own Do-It-Yourself campaigns to support your cause.
    • Personal Challenges - Personal challenges allow a donor’s friends and family to rally around their cause by supporting a challenge that the donor has pledged to complete. This could be anything from running a marathon or race, to dumping a bucket of ice water over their head (Ice Bucket Challenge!).
    • Celebration Events - Celebration events are a quick and easy way for your donors to spread the word about your cause while raising money. Here, your donors choose a traditional celebration event (birthday, holiday, wedding, etc.), and ask their friends and family to donate to their cause instead of providing gifts.
    • Memorial Campaigns - Memorial campaigns focus on creating shareable fundraisers that honor the memory of a loved one.
    • Affiliate Events - Affiliate events are some of the most effective and well-known Peer-to-Peer fundraising campaigns. Here, an organization creates  or becomes an affiliate of a large event, and encourages its supporting donors and participants to create smaller, individual fundraisers which support the organization. Some of the best examples include:
    • The Boston Marathon - Here, supporters of an organization can pledge to raise a certain amount of money, in order to run the race in the name of a charity

    Again, the above examples are just a few of the fundraisers you could choose from, but based on your theme and cause, there are a ton of fundraising ideas from you to choose from!

    5. Incorporate Technology

    Once you’ve chosen your P2P Campaign type, it’s essential that you determine the best way to incorporate your online strategy.  Online fundraising is crucial to an effective P2P Campaign, as it enables your campaign to be easily shareable, and also simplifies the donation process. Typically, effective fundraising campaigns will revolve around three major tools:

    • Online Web Page
    • Email
    • Social Media

    Combining these three tools effectively will allow you to share your message to your fan base and donors, while enabling them to share the same message and become advocates for your cause. And to make things even easier, there is a multitude of great P2P platforms available to make your campaign even easier to organize!Online Pages - These can be simple donation pages, or can be something even more engaging, like a mobile silent auction or raffle page.  There are many quick and easy ways to combine your P2P Campaign with online fundraising.Are you running the Boston Marathon, and pledging to raise money for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in the process? Great! Simply leverage your online silent auction to raise more money for your pledge. When your supporters bid on your silent auction items, they will be encouraged to share your fundraising page with their friends, immediately increasing your audience and potential donor base!Of course, this thought process applies to most P2P campaigns, not simply marathons.

    Email & Social Media - These tools both act as the means of delivery for your Peer-to-Peer Campaign and online page. Once your campaign is set up, use your organization’s email list to provide a description of your campaign to your entire list of donors, and be sure to include a link to your online page, silent auction, or raffle. At the same time, it is crucial to encourage your email recipients to share the email with their friends and family! In a similar fashion, be sure to frequently post on your social media pages to announce your fundraiser, but also to give updates to your fans about the progress you’ve made. Urge your donors to become fundraising advocates for your cause, by sharing updates on their pages as well!


    While there is a TON of information here, we hope that this post will act as a great first step in turning your fundraising campaign into your first Peer-to-Peer fundraiser. By using these methods, we are sure that you will be on the path to increasing your proceeds, growing your donor base, and mobilizing a new army of supporters ready to spread your message!

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