Peer-to-peer fundraising is one of the most impactful methods of raising money for a cause. This is when a nonprofit recruits its supporters to fundraise on its behalf. As a result, you can reach a wider network through your supporters’ personal connections.
But, in spite of how effective it can be at engaging the modern donor, there are still some best practices you should incorporate to ensure you make the most of your campaign.
First, let’s break down how peer-to-peer fundraising works:
- First: Your nonprofit decides on its campaign structure and goals.
- Second: You select your peer-to-peer fundraising platform.
- Third: You set up your main campaign page.
- Fourth: You provide support and training to your peer-to-peer participants so their individual campaign pages are set up for success.
- Fifth: You continue to monitor the campaign’s progress and motivate participants to hit goals.
There are advantages to using this social fundraising method for both organizations and donors. In order to reap those benefits, there are a few avenues your team can take:
- Set a goal.
- Select the right platform.
- Incorporate Ambassador Fundraising.
- Incentivize your campaign.
- Use all your channels.
Following these guidelines will help you boost your fundraising potential and make the most of your campaign. Let’s take a closer look!
1. Set a goal.
Before you launch any sort of campaign, it’s important to have a clear idea of the goal you’re working toward. According to the OneCause guide to peer-to-peer fundraising, this is the very first thing you should do.
There are two types of goals to consider: financial and non-financial. Financial goals focus on how much money your cause wants to raise. These goals include more than individual donations—they encompass all revenue sources: sponsorships, registration fees, participant/donor/team fundraising stats, and external fundraising sources that are aimed at maximizing funds raised.
Non-financial goals come into play when figuring out how your nonprofit wants to grow its audience and engagement. Think of this as what you want to achieve with your supporters: net new participants and donors, number of teams fundraising, social reach, and social sharing.
Ask yourself a few key questions so you’re clear on the financial and non-financial goals you are trying to achieve:
- What are you trying to fund?
- How much funding will you need?
- What are your financial goals?
- What are your non-financial goals?
- What are your year-over-year growth projections?
- How many participants and teams do you need to fundraise for your campaign?
- Will you tie this fundraiser to an event?
The bottom line? Your goal needs to be realistic, though you still want to stretch yourself to an extent to maximize your fundraising potential.
Having a clear outlook during your peer-to-peer campaign planning will keep your staff on track as well as your peer-to-peer participants. If everyone’s on the same page and knows what they’re working toward, you’ll have an organized campaign approach and be on the way to fundraising success.
2. Select the right platform.
Choosing the right peer-to-peer fundraising software is essential for any campaign, but this especially applies to peer-to-peer. This is what makes it possible for your nonprofit and your participants to set up their fundraising pages and collect donations.
When selecting your peer-to-peer fundraising software, consider the following:
- How many campaign pages will you need to accommodate? Make sure your solution is scalable so that it fits your fundraising needs now as well as your needs down the road. Search for software that can accommodate the number of participants you anticipate having for your current campaign, with room to grow as well.
- Does the software fit your budget? Though peer-to-peer fundraising software will likely require an initial investment on your part, the investment can be worth it. However, watch out for expenses down the road, too, such as training costs, payment processing fees, and others.
- Will it help you track your progress and analyze success? You’ll want to be able to keep up with your fundraising campaign, so be sure to choose a platform that allows you to manage your progress during and after, and includes built-in analytics. Software with comprehensive reporting features will help with this.
- Will it integrate with your other tools? With each donation, you’ll be gathering donor data. That’s why it’s important that your software integrates with your nonprofit CRM so you can seamlessly collect all of the information you need.
- What support or training will be provided? Some software is user-friendly and easier to learn, but not all platforms are created equal. Ask your provider what training and support they offer in case you come across any issues.
- Is it secure? Security is a big deal when it comes to processing donations, so make sure the payment processor maintains the highest standards of security.
- Does it allow for more than one campaign? Does the software offer year-round uses or is it only for a one-time campaign? Your peer-to-peer fundraising software should allow you to fundraise year-round.
Choosing the right platform for your needs will help you get the most out of your campaign. It makes it easy to set up multiple campaign pages, process donations, and keep track of everything from start to finish. Get the most out of your campaign with the right solution for you.
3. Incorporate ambassador fundraising.
You may already know that peer-to-peer fundraisers are excellent ways to lead up to a larger event. But did you know there’s a new form of peer-to-peer fundraising that boosts even more engagement?
Ambassador fundraising takes social fundraising to the next level. You can use it in conjunction with galas, auctions, or other types of events. Your nonprofit chooses “ambassadors” (your organization’s top and highly visible supporters) to fundraise leading up to your event.
Peer-to-peer Ambassador Fundraising works for several reasons, including:
- It broadens your network even more. By giving your ambassador fundraisers the right tools, you can grow your donor network using their connections and maximize your donation revenue.
- It re-energizes events. Leveraging ambassador fundraisers boosts engagement before, during, and after your event through excitement and competition. You can create new revenue streams before your event even starts!
Whether you’re running a gala, charity walk, or any other kind of event, you can count on your ambassadors to help you fundraise. Just be sure to select your most ardent supporters, encourage them to become ambassadors, and provide the right tools and training.
For more information on peer-to-peer Ambassador Fundraising, check out the comprehensive guide by OneCause.
4. Incentivize your campaign.
Part of running your peer-to-peer fundraiser means incentivizing your campaign. This is done to keep your participants motivated and on track. One of the most effective ways to do this is through gamification, and there are a lot of ways you can incorporate this into your campaign.
With the right peer-to-peer fundraising platform, you can leverage all sorts of gamification elements, such as:
- Leaderboards so participants can see how they stack up compared to others (and inspire some friendly competition).
- Fundraising thermometers so you can keep everyone, both participants and donors, updated on how your campaign is progressing.
- Rewards to the highest fundraisers, like milestone badges, to keep everyone motivated to reach their goals.
Beyond gamification, there are other ways to incentivize your campaign. Sometimes your fundraisers still need an extra push to keep the efforts going strong. Why not reward participants with branded t-shirts or other products as they hit campaign milestones?
For example, you can use a t-shirt fundraising platform to sell shirts online and also bulk order them so you can give them out at your event. A merchandise table at your event will also promote your cause even more when people walk around wearing your gear.
Staying hands-on throughout your campaign will keep your participants on track and focused on the end goal. Be sure to recognize them throughout with merchandise and other rewards, and also offer encouragement to those who might not be raising as much as they had hoped. Stay on track with your participants, and if you’re finishing the campaign with a big event, be sure to recognize and congratulate them there, too!
5. Use all your channels.
Of course, your peer-to-peer fundraiser won’t get off the ground if you don’t take advantage of multiple marketing channels. The more you diversify your marketing tactics, the more likely you’ll be to expand your networks and reach a wide range of donors.
Be sure to incorporate channels like:
- Social media
- Direct mail
- Phone calls
But your efforts don’t end there. Don’t simply encourage your peer-to-peer participants to use these channels. Show them how to use them. This means:
- Providing campaign support. Provide toolkits and resources for your participants to use so they leverage these channels effectively. Help them personalize their campaign pages and encourage them to incorporate videos and photos to communicate what your cause means to them.
- Supplying templates. Your participants most likely are not seasoned fundraisers. This means they need some help getting started with what they want to say to their audience. Offer templates that they can use as a foundation for their communication. Check out this template for a starting point.
- Sending ongoing campaign communications. Keep your participants motivated and actively fundraising by regularly sending out campaign communications.
When you provide the right resources to your participants, you’ll enhance their fundraising efforts as they promote their campaign pages across a variety of channels. Make the most of the channels available and ensure your participants are prepped to use them effectively.
There are many ways you can make the most of your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. From choosing the right platform to marketing successfully across channels, following certain best practices and guidelines can help you maximize your impact and meet your fundraising goal. Determine what works best for you and get your fundraiser started. Good luck!
Joshua Meyer brings over 14 years of fundraising, volunteer management, and marketing experience to his current role as the Director of Marketing for OneCause. Currently, as a member of the OneCause sales and marketing team, Josh manages all of the firm’s marketing efforts. He has a passion for helping to create positive change and loves that his current role allows him to help nonprofits engage new donors and achieve their fundraising goals.