5 Must-Haves to Maximize Your Peer-to-Peer Fundraising


Peer-to-peer fundraising is essential to every charity today. If you’re deep in peer-to-peer or just getting started, you’ll find these 5 tips helpful.

Want to hear something amazing?

25% of people are likely to say “yes” to a donation request from their friends

That’s the magic of peer-to-peer fundraising. Aside from taking you through the definition of peer-to-peer fundraising, today we’ll show you some sure-fire ways to engage your supporters in their peer-to-peer fundraising ambitions to help them have a brilliant fundraising campaign of their own.

Back to basics…

signs pointing up a mountain

If you weren’t aware of it already, peer-to-peer fundraising (often called P2P) works by raising funds for your charity through a supporter’s existing networks, such as friends, family and neighbors. If you have ever filled in a sponsorship form for a fun run or donated online to your friend raising money by climbing Kilimanjaro, you’ve been involved in peer-to-peer fundraising.

As a professional fundraiser, it is easy to see how peer-to-peer has many benefits for your charity since this kind of fundraising utilizes your supporter’s natural social circle. Your fabulous supporters are introducing your charity to their friends as a cause that they are passionate about, and furthermore, your supporters are opening the door for your friends to give you their first gift. In many ways, your supporter is doing the hard work for you! Well, not quite.

Let’s break it down a bit…there are two main kinds of peer-to-peer fundraising

DIY (Do It Yourself) Peer-to-Peer Fundraisers

These are fundraising events that are supporter-led or initiated. They may include spontaneous events that your supporter creates, such as fundraising for special days like birthdays where they ask for a donation instead of a gift. Your supporters may want to ask their friends to respond quickly to a recent disaster. Other supporters may invite their friends to donate in honor of someone’s memory to a cause close to their heart.

Event Peer-to-Peer

This is typically a challenge event such as a midnight walk or half marathon. Perhaps your charity has organized the event or it’s a well-known event such as the London or Boston Marathon. Participants will most likely have to register to join in, and they may even be a part of a team. These types of peer-to-peer fundraisers can be very popular.

  • Event example – Huntsman 140 for the Huntsman Cancer Foundation

Either way, whether it is signing up to a pre-organized event or using their initiative to start something new, these fundraisers unleash the energy of your supporters to ask their friends to sponsor them. It can be overwhelming to see the many kinds of inventive things people will do to raise money for your charity: from a sponsored silence to 24-hour dance-a-thons, your supporters will walk, run, cycle and swim literal miles to show their dedication to your cause.

A peer-to-peer fundraising campaign is a fundraising event or activity where the fundraising is volunteer led. It could be spontaneously initiated to raise money for your charity by a supporter who will then request donations from their family, friends and neighbors in their existing social circle.

Here are 5 strategies that will help take your peer-to-peer fundraising to the next level

1) Those crazy kids…
baked beans
Sorry, there weren’t any pictures of bathtubs full of beans.

Your supporters can be so creative. Think of those weird and wonderful ways in which your hero supporters are helping your charity, from sitting in a bath of baked beans to children giving up their birthday gifts, they are true heroes. A peer-to-peer ‘must do’ is to be prepared and allow for your fundraiser’s creativity to run riot. How can you facilitate this online? By letting your supporter get started and set up their own fundraising page, you can give them the freedom to share their special story, pictures and progress. Ensure that you are able to lead your supporters to a place online where they can get their unique campaign up and running.

The beauty of a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign is that it can get started in minutes. As well as giving supporters the ability to build their own sites, you can showcase all the wacky things your supporters have been doing for your charity that will inspire others.

2) Email trail – be an automation sensation

A robust email journey is one that is well planned and thoroughly tested. From the very moment your supporter sets up their fundraising page, you can start them on a journey to support, motivate and cheer them on along the way. If your tools allow for marketing automation (like Engaging Networks) you can preset an automated journey for supporters based on actions and triggers that will help build momentum and increase success.

Do you want to send out a Welcome Pack to new supporters at the beginning of their fundraising journey, but that pack is completely different if they have given up their birthday, or are hosting a coffee morning? That’s no problem! As long as you have a peer-to-peer fundraising platform that gives you complete control, you can ensure that each supporter gets help and recognition, whatever their fundraising path looks like.

“You’re halfway to your goal!”

This is a perfect time to give your supporter a boost. Tell them they are brilliant and let them know how wonderful you think they are. Once you’ve crafted your email, this should be entirely automated, so that every one of your supporters gets the email when it is right for them.

If your fundraising event is on a specific schedule, that’s great! You can set up a series of helpful hints and tips, tailored to that supporter and event, meaning all your correspondence will be sent out according to your schedule be it training tips or advice.

Now your supporters are armed with relevant information and have been neither bombarded with irrelevant information nor worse (much worse), ignored and unsupported.

Why is this important? This ensures that you never miss a moment to give a boost to your supporters. Your job is to help them be a success, and by automating the journey, you can be sure you never let them down.

3) It’s also about you too

Your supporters and their friends will benefit from a platform that allows you to customize the look and feel of fundraiser pages. Not just so they can add their own pictures and story, but also so that those individual pages match the branding of your organization.

Why would your branding help your supporters? It’s simple. They need to feel confident that their fundraising page looks great and that people will see why they are fundraising for your great cause. Being able to easily navigate to your charity’s website after making a gift will help them see the impact of that gift.

It’s about trust. Your supporters are inviting their friends to give to you, and often making that first – crucial – introduction. These friends might not know much about your charity, but they care enough to support their friends. Here is your chance to invite them in and be a part of something great.

4) Recognition: I see you shaking that bucket, shaking that bucket

As a fundraiser, you will know that putting effort into properly thanking, showing the impact of giving a gift and recognising your supporter is proven to be more important than any other incentive when it comes to making repeat donations.

You’ll always thank people who give a gift, but it could also be said that peer-to-peer fundraising provides inbuilt recognition as a supporter may also personally thank a donor that has financially supported their efforts. This is great as it means that all your donors will get a personal connection.

But what about thanking a supporter who has made the effort to set up a page and gather gifts for your cause? That follow up phone call, letter or email saying thank you, or that social media post acknowledging their efforts will increase the chance of them donating again by a whopping 51%. Isn’t that incredible?!

It’s essential to recognize your supporters’ time and effort.

But here’s something else to think about: Team Leaders are a particularly special group of people. Team Leaders are the Major Donors of peer-to-peer fundraising. Make sure that you are able to identify your Team Leaders by giving them the tools to build a team, and again, recognizing their tremendous work.

Without marketing automation, thanking supporters can involve a lot of human labor for your not-for-profit. Choose a peer-to-peer fundraising platform that can help you set up this process just once, and be secure that your supporters are being embraced through their journey with you.

5) Twice as nice

Question: What’s even better than ensuring you have a fantastic follow-up plan for your peer-to-peer fundraisers?

Answer: A plan that also follows up with your supporters’ friends too!

Your supporters’ donors (i.e. friends and family who are supporting their fundraising efforts!) might have never heard of your charity before, and yet now a natural chain of awareness has been created. A trust has been built due to their friend’s connection with your charity, and the willingness they have to run/cycle/dance/sing especially for your cause.

Hopefully, you’ve also given them a great giving experience where they can find out about your organisation as they give their gift. That way, there’s a much higher chance that they will have opted into your list than if they had donated on a generic or third party giving site.

So what now? A dedicated welcome journey, especially for these new supporters is essential. It’s unlikely that they would have shared their contact details with your charity if they were using a generic giving platform or from traditional methods of donating such as a pen and paper sponsorship form!

These new contacts initially only donated because of their friend’s connection, yet by giving them a great experience, they are on the journey to self-identifying as a donor to your organisation directly.

Bag it up

Time to check out with everything you need for a successful peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. Having a dedicated online presence for peer-to-peer fundraising means your supporters’ madcap plans can take shape and start raising money for you on your wholly customizable pages. Together with automated email journeys – ready to use straight out of the box – you’ll be away in no time.

You know the value of your supporters (not forgetting your team leaders!) so you’re ready to go those much-needed email pats-on-the-back, thank yous, and notes of appreciation.

We hope you now have lots of new ideas to help your supporters participate in some great peer-to-peer fundraising activities. Reach out to us if you would like more information about how to get your own fundraising pages up and running….. Just don’t ask us to sit in a bathtub of beans!

Check out just how easy it is to spin up your peer-to-peer efforts on Engaging Networks!

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