10 Ways to Make Your Peer-to-Peer Fundraiser a Success

Special to the Philanthropy Journal

By Joshua Meyer

Peer-to-peer fundraising (P2P) is a great way to energize your supporters and raise funds. Also known as social fundraising, P2P fundraising empowers supporters to fundraise on your behalf. A great example is the ALS ice bucket challenge, which raised an estimated $115 million for ALS research.

Because P2P fundraising has the potential to reach a bevy of new supporters while raising a lot of money, many organizations are wondering how they can easily host their own successful campaign.

Here are 10 steps to hosting a successful P2P fundraiser:

1. Plan early. Although your supporters technically are fundraising for you, P2P still requires careful planning. Items to consider include: timing, what kind of event you will promote (walks, runs and rides are popular), what resources you will need, how you will market the event, and what software will be used to manage the fundraisers and supporter communications. Make sure you make an emotional appeal to supporters because the more connected they feel, the more likely they will be to lend their support and solicit donations from others.

2. Decide on your fundraiser based on your supporters. Since your P2P fundraising warriors will come from your existing donor and volunteer pool, look for fundraising events that fit with their interests. P2P events tend to work best with social media savvy supporters who are well connected and willing to leverage their contacts.

3. Choose a fundraising platform. Because P2P fundraisers involve supporters fundraising on your behalf, a fundraising technology platform is imperative. P2P efforts require an easy way to communicate with supporters, accept donations and promote individual supporter involvement. Look for a technology platform that is easy to use, customizable, promotes sharing via email and social channels, and provides reports that allow your staff to track and report on progress.

4. Give supporters the knowledge and tools to succeed. While your supporters might be excited about your campaign, actually asking for donations may be new to them. It’s crucial to train supporters properly about how to fundraise and how to use your technology tools. This training can be done through meetings, webinars, online information packets, and more.

5. Create special branding for your event. Make sure all materials contain your event logo, slogans and colors using a cohesive branding platform. Make logos available for your supporters to use in social media efforts. Cohesive branding helps to establish trust in your event and builds your brand presence.

6. Offer incentives. Perks are a great way to acknowledge the successes of your supporters. Offer incentives that reward supporters at different levels of fundraising, or build in incentives for donors. For example, offer a t-shirt for a $50 donation.

7. Keep up with your data. If your P2P campaign gets started off on the right foot, you’ll have a lot of incoming donor data. Updating this information is critical. Not only will it allow you to get deeper insights into your donors, but it will help you to start building relationships with supporters. Make sure your donor profile includes donor status (has the donor contributed before?), campaigns to which the donor has contributed, and any other past engagement. Selecting a fundraising technology platform that integrates with your CRM system/donor database will streamline this process.

8. Communicate far and wide. Just like other fundraising efforts, P2P should be multichannel. This includes reaching supporters and donors in various ways that are readable on different communication vehicles, including mobile phones, computers and tablets. The top ways to reach supporters include your website, social media channels, email and direct mail. Since supporters communicate with donors during P2P campaigns, make sure they have access to templates for social media, email and direct mail.

9. Rally event volunteers. Since most P2P efforts include an event, such as a walk, run or ride, the culmination of all your efforts will be the event itself. It’s important to thoroughly plan and staff the fundraiser. Start with a steering committee, then put volunteers or staff in charge of subcommittees to organize logistics, volunteers, food, security, first aid, set up and clean up, etc.

10. Acknowledge your supporters. Once your P2P fundraiser is complete, don’t forget to thank volunteers, sponsors, community resources, those who raised funds and your donors. This can be done with emails, handwritten notes or phone calls, depending on the level of involvement of the person you are thanking. Make sure you let everyone know how much money was raised, how the funds will be used, and provide information about how supporters can stay involved with your organization.

More information about peer-to-peer fundraising can be found at https://www.bidpal.com/peer-to-peer-ultimate-guide/.

Joshua Meyer is director of marketing at  BidPal, a cloud-based mobile bidding and payment solution for nonprofits.

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