Making the Most of Your Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaigns

Making the Most of Your Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaigns

Those familiar with the nonprofit fundraising world already know the basics of peer-to-peer campaigns. But are you doing everything you should be doing to help your campaign realize its full potential? Engaging your nonprofit's supporters in activities designed to attract new donors is a great start, but you need to know which of the many strategies available can help your organization maximize its social fundraising efforts. After all, the future is peer-to-peer.

So, how do you make the most of your peer-to-peer campaign? As we've outlined in the OneCause guide to peer-to-peer fundraising, it's not that complicated:

  1. Use all available channels.
  2. Tell your story.
  3. Build up to events.
  4. Recognize your fundraisers.
  5. Don't skimp on the merchandise.

1. Use all available channels. While peer-to-peer fundraising mainly takes place online, there are a number of more traditional methods you can use to promote your campaign. In fact, combining both on- and offline methods of promotion can create greater impact.

Think about all communications channels at your disposal, including:

  • social media
  • email
  • direct mail
  • word of mouth and in person

If you want to see significant revenue from peer-to-peer fundraising, as many nonprofits have in recent years, be sure to use different channels to appeal to different audiences in the way they prefer to be solicited.

2. Tell your story. You already know that telling your story is an important part of fundraising. Your peer-to-peer fundraising supporters feel connected to you through your cause, so be sure to tell the story behind your organization and let potential donors know how their contributions can make an impact.

People are motivated by compelling stories. Here are some tips for telling yours effectively:

  • Incorporate visuals. Use photos and videos on your campaign page and in other campaign materials to illustrate the stories of the people who benefit from your work and how your organization is creating impact. Putting a face to a cause goes a long way.
  • Make the case for your cause. Engage your audience with a strong narrative and provide examples that underscore that narrative. Explain how your donors' money and/or time are making a difference and make sure the messages you communicate resonate with your audience.
  • Keep it going. Don't stop when the campaign ends. Keep donors updated after the campaign has wrapped and be sure to let them know when your goal has been reached. Keeping donors engaged also is the key to retaining their support for future campaigns.

In addition to telling your nonprofit's stories, ask your peer-to-peer campaign participants to share their connection to the cause. The best way to do this is on a personal fundraising page that they share with their networks and friends and family. 

3. Build up to events. Peer-to-peer fundraisers work particularly well when they're tied in with a larger event like a walkathon, a bikeathon, or a 5K race that gives your donors, and everyone in their social networks, something to look forward to.

For example, you can:

  • Tie the campaign to "ambassador" fundraising. Ambassador fundraising mobilizes your organization's top supporters to run their own personal fundraising campaign in the leadup to your signature event, gala, or auction. "Ambassadors" are provided with social fundraising tools that enable them to compete with one another to raise the most funds and be recognized as the winning ambassador. To learn more, check out the OneCause guide to ambassador fundraising.
  • Establish a sense of urgency.When using peer-to-peer fundraising as a leadup to an event, set the day of the event as the deadline for the campaign. This will help create a sense of urgency among donors and encourage them to contribute before the campaign comes to an end.

Communicate a clear call-to-action on the campaign page. When planning a walkathon, make sure your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign page is the source of information for anyone who wants to learn about your organization or the event. This means your page should include a clear call-to-action (i.e., register or make a gift in support of the cause).

4. Recognize your fundraisers. The most successful peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns make a point of recognizing their participants for their efforts on your behalf. People like to be acknowledged for the work they do, and showing your appreciation will go a long way in keeping them engaged in the campaign and feeling motivated to help you meet your fundraising goals.

Here are a couple of ways to recognize your fundraisers:

  • Use gamification. Gamification tools like milestone badges and leaderboards showcase your campaign's progress and put the efforts of your leading fundraisers on display for all to see. Encourage some friendly competition to keep them engaged and on track with the campaign.
  • Show appreciation. In addition to highlighting fundraisers (and donors) on your social media pages or at your event, thank them personally. Digital and physical "recognition walls" are a great platform for displaying public appreciation.
  • Offer ongoing support. Keep encouraging those peer-to-peer stars who are raising a lot of money! And be sure to offer those who are struggling or flagging in their engagement  continued support and encouragement.

Just as you should make donor recognition a priority, you should also recognize your peer-to-peer participants for all the effort and time they're devoting to the cause. You can't have an effective peer-to-peer campaign without supporting those who are driving it.

5. Don't skimp on merchandise. Merchandise is a great incentive to keep your peer-to-peer participants going strong. And by throwing it into the mix, you create even more awareness of your campaign (thanks to all the people out there wearing your swag). In short, it' a great way to promote your cause, raise more money, and provide a nice token of your appreciation to the folks doing the work — all at the same time.

Here are a few merchandise ideas:

  • Create awesome designs using a t-shirt fundraising platform like this one.
  • When fundraisers hit a campaign milestone, reward them with branded t-shirts or other swag.
  • Set up a merchandise table at your event to sell branded t-shirts and other items and promote your cause.

Merchandise makes everything more fun, so don't forget to give your peer-to-peer participants and donors the boost they need to make the campaign a success.

Peer-to-peer fundraising is one of the most powerful social giving methods out there, but you won't get vary far with it if you don't make the most of the resources available to you. Try out the above strategies to make your campaign count!

Joshua Meyer, director of marketing for OneCausehas nearly fifteen years of fundraising, volunteer management, and marketing experience.

The sustainable nonprofit

July 23, 2018