Creating a Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Strategy: 5 Steps

Creating a Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Strategy: 5 Steps

Peer-to-peer fundraising is a great way for your organization to generate more revenue and connect with supporters.

Also known as P2P fundraising, social fundraising, and team fundraising, peer-to-peer fundraising is used by nonprofits to recruit their most loyal and committed supporters to fundraise on their behalf. It's a great opportunity to increase supporter engagement while furthering your cause and bolstering your bottom line.

There are lots of elements that go into creating a peer-to-peer fundraising strategy, but to keep things simple, we've broken it down to five easy steps:

  1. Organize your campaign.
  2. Choose your software.
  3. Recruit your supporters.
  4. Empower your supporters.
  5. Tell your story.

Ready to learn more about creating an effective peer-to-peer fundraising campaign? Let's get started!

1. Organize your campaign. First, you'll need to choose what type of peer-to-peer campaign your organization wants to host. Think about your nonprofit's goals before organizing a campaign. Remember that different types of campaigns may be better suited to different goals.

There are three main types of peer-to-peer campaigns:

  • Time-Based. A time-based campaign unfolds within a set period of time — typically a few weeks (although some can go on for a year). This type of campaign is often paired with a big event at the end.
  • Rolling. Rolling campaigns do not unfold within a set time frame, meaning your organization can have as long as it needs to meet its monetary goals. But it also means you'll need to make sure your campaign doesn't lose momentum and sputter out.
  • Giving Days. Giving days are perfect for organizations that love a challenge. With a giving day, your organization sets a monetary goal that it tries to achieve in twenty-four hours. This type of campaign also is a perfect opportunity to use social media to spread the word.

Remember to keep your goals in mind when deciding on which type of campaign is likely to work best for your organization.

2. Choose your peer-to-peer fundraising software. Selecting the right peer-to-peer fundraising software is a huge decision for a nonprofit, as it requires a solution that fits all your needs as well as your budget.

With its marketing and donation features, your peer-to-peer fundraising platform can make or break your whole campaign, so selecting the right provider shouldn't be an afterthought. Look closely at your organization and its fundraising needs and compile a features “wish list” so you know exactly what to look for.

Here are some of the typical features offered in today's most popular solutions:

  • Giving form customization
  • Team and individual peer-to-peer fundraising pages
  • Merchandise sales functionality
  • Gamification tools (fundraising badges, leaderboards, etc.)
  • Social sharing capabilities
  • Fundraising “thermometers”
  • Software training and technical support

Be sure to include your staff and board in the decision. After all, your staff will need to use the software and your board needs to approve the budget. Their input can help you make the right decision.

3. Recruit your supporters. Now that you've decided on the type of campaign you're going to run and have selected a reliable provider, it's time to recruit your supporters!

It can be difficult to know who would and wouldn't be a great fundraiser for your nonprofit; certainly, you'll want to try to enlist your most loyal supporters, your board members, and your regular volunteers. After that, try to recruit like-minded individuals who have a strong connection to your cause, who might be willing to give, and who are eager to spread the word.

If you're struggling to find supporters willing to help you fundraise, use your CRM to help identify candidates. Or take a look at Salsa's Guide to Constituent Relationship Management Solutions for additional pointers.

4. Enable your supporters. Your next (and most important) step in creating a peer-to-peer campaign is to provide your supporters with the resources they need to maximize their efforts, engage other supporters, and become effective advocates for your cause.

Here's what they'll need:

  • In-person coaching meetings
  • Email templates
  • Social media templates
  • Acknowledgement templates
  • Online training and support

Just because you're not doing the fundraising doesn't mean you're off the hook. You don't want to leave your supporters hanging, so make sure you're available to them should they have a question or need further assistance.

5. Tell your story. Telling your organization's story or leading off with an emotional appeal  often is a better strategy than making a direct ask right away.

Remember, just because your supporters are passionate about your cause doesn't mean their network of peers will be. Telling your story is a way to educate individuals who may not be familiar with your organization and give them a compelling reason to support you.

To really get your message across, be sure to feature a story-related paragraph on every campaign page, and complement it with great photos and/or videos and a compelling call to action.

You also want to provide your supporters with a platform that makes it easy for them to share with why they feel so connected to your nonprofit and cause. This will help their friends, family, and acquaintances understand your organization better and feel more compelled to give.

The holidays are almost here, and a new year is right around the corner. Now is the time to start thinking about what you need to do in 2018 to advance your cause and bolster your bottom line. If you follow these five easy steps for creating a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, there's no reason for 2018 not to be your best fundraising year yet! 

Dan Quirk is marketing manager at Salsa Labs.

The sustainable nonprofit

February 5, 2020