There are several strategic options to consider when it comes to fundraising for your nonprofit, but there’s one powerful social giving method that can really boost your efforts and propel you toward achieving your mission. We’re talking about peer-to-peer fundraising.

Peer-to-peer fundraising can help expand your fundraising reach beyond your inner circle and bring in donation revenue from sources you wouldn’t have found otherwise.

Of course, when it comes to setting up your first peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, you’ll probably have a lot of questions and even wonder if it’s the right choice for you. We’ve compiled this introduction to peer-to-peer fundraising to answer common questions nonprofit marketers have when entering unfamiliar territory.

We will discuss:

  1. What is peer-to-peer fundraising?
  2. Is it a good fit?
  3. How do I get started?
  4. Who do I reach out to?
  5. How do I support my fundraisers?

Let’s take a closer look at how exactly peer-to-peer fundraising works.

What Is Peer-to-Peer Fundraising?

During a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, nonprofits will recruit individual volunteers to fundraise on their behalf. Instead of fundraising directly to your audience, you’ll support volunteer fundraisers as they reach out to their family and friends for donations.

A common example that you’ve likely run across are Facebook Fundraisers, where supporters can create fundraising pages on the social media platform to share with their friends.

Is Peer-to-Peer Fundraising a Good Fit?

Of course, there are a few factors to take into consideration when looking at putting on a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. How do you know if it’s the right fit for your nonprofit? Consider the following:

  • Your financial goal. If you’re looking to raise a lot of funds for a large project or event, peer-to-peer fundraising is a great way to expand your donor circle and raise more money from more donors.
  • The type of campaign you’re running. Some campaigns may not be the right fit for peer-to-peer fundraising. For example, campaigns directed toward major donors or prospects will likely be more successful building direct relationships and using in-person fundraising methods. On the other hand, peer-to-peer fundraisers are great for a far-reaching campaign culminating in a big event.
  • Your resources. Do you have sufficient staff and time to put into developing a strategy and then recruiting, training, and supporting amateur fundraisers? Do you have the budget to invest in a peer-to-peer fundraising platform?
  • Your supporters. If you have a network of dedicated supporters who aren’t afraid to spread awareness about your cause, there’s a good chance that they’ll also be open to fundraising for you.

If you have the resources and manpower to invest in a well-planned campaign, peer-to-peer fundraising has the potential to expand your donor base and open up opportunities for engaging with a whole new group of supporters.

How Do I Get Started?

Once you’ve decided to run a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, you may be wondering how to get started. There are a few things to think about at the beginning.

Choose Your Tools

If you’re just starting to get a feel for peer-to-peer fundraising and aren’t ready to make a long term commitment, Facebook Fundraisers or setting up campaign donation forms and pages on your nonprofit’s website are both great options to get your feet wet.

However, if you’re going to be managing a larger number of participants and plan to continue to run peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns in the future, you’ll want to pick a platform.

Ideally, you’ll want to look for a platform that allows each peer-to-peer fundraising page to be customized to your nonprofit’s needs as well as those of your supporters. Social media integration is also an essential addition, so supporters can share campaigns on their personal social media profiles.

When picking an online fundraising platform, you should also consider:

  • Pricing
  • The expected number of volunteer fundraisers
  • The ability to create separate pages for fundraisers
  • The ability to upload photos or videos

Research your options with these components in mind to find the best method for your organization.

Kick Off Your Campaign

Once you’ve chosen a platform, start building out your campaign page. Make sure you have a compelling campaign name to pique people’s interest. And start building out resources that explain to your volunteers how they can set up their campaign pages and run a successful campaign. You’ll want to:

  1. Determine your nonprofit’s fundraising goals for the campaign. This will include your financial and engagement goals. How many donations do you want to secure? How many people do you want to recruit to help fundraise?
  2. Recruit and train your volunteer fundraisers. Reach out to your most involved supporters first. Schedule enough time to train them, explain how the campaign will work, provide them with necessary resources and get their fundraising pages set up.
  3. Have the volunteer fundraisers launch and share their individual campaign pages. Once the campaign begins, volunteers (using the resources you provided them) will then create their own posts, send out emails, and direct their network to their fundraising pages.
  4. Track the campaign’s performance and provide continued support. Actively manage the campaign and analyze your performance data to make sure you’re progressing at the rate you want.

Who Do I Reach Out To?

Of course, your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign won’t work without your volunteers. So how do you know who to reach out to? You want to choose people for your campaign who are already familiar with your mission and have a network of their own. Here are some best practices to consider when recruiting:

  • Check your volunteer base. Do you have volunteers who regularly assist with your nonprofit’s events and other tasks? Reach out to them to see if they would be willing to take part in your fundraising campaign.
  • Consider long-standing donors. Donors who are familiar with your mission and values are great fundraiser candidates because they understand how important the cause is and have already demonstrated financial support.
  • Make your supporters feel valued. Just the fact that you’re including supporters in your fundraising strategy will make them feel valued and like they’re a special part of your mission. Be sure to drive that point home and emphasize how important they are to achieving your fundraising goal.

Remember: your volunteers are going to be matching a familiar face to an otherwise unfamiliar campaign for other donors. Donors are more likely to contribute to a campaign if someone they know is pushing for it and demonstrating their own connection to the cause.

Social media is also a great platform for sharing your campaign. Leverage your social media pages to communicate information about your nonprofit and its campaign. This can include updates about the progress of your campaigns, top-performing volunteer fundraisers and event information. Just be sure to post regularly to keep your audience and prospective supporters engaged.

How Do I Support My Fundraisers?

Your efforts don’t end when you’ve found your supporters. Many of them won’t have extensive experience fundraising on behalf of a nonprofit, much less running a campaign on their own. That’s why it’s important to offer ongoing support and sufficient training before they even publish their page.

Try out these strategies to stay on top of your fundraisers and provide continued support:

  • Train your volunteers. Hold in-person or online training sessions, make a short how-to video, or create a participant toolkit with your top tips.
  • Offer templates. Provide templates that your volunteers can use to communicate with their friends and family via email and social media. This way, all of your volunteers will be more or less consistent in how they communicate about your fundraiser and still keep the flexibility to add their connection to your organization and a bit of personal flair. Fundraising Letters offers a great peer-to-peer template to help you get started.
  • Provide inspiration. Your volunteer fundraisers should personalize their peer-to-peer campaign pages. Offer them some starting points for what they can include on their page, such as why they decided to participate in the campaign, how your nonprofit has affected them, and why people should donate now.
  • Remain engaged. Regularly check in with your volunteers and communicate with them based on their level of involvement. For instance, if someone is doing really well and raising a lot of money, congratulate them and thank them for their work. If someone is struggling, offer encouragement, tips for increasing results and inspire them to stay involved. Having one point of contact for your volunteers to reach out to at your organization is crucial to keeping this process streamlined.
  • Use gamification techniques. Use elements like leaderboards and fundraising thermometers to encourage friendly competition among your volunteers. People like to be rewarded for their efforts, so building badges they can earn for each milestone they reach can work well, too!
  • Measure your success. Continuously monitor your volunteers’ progress. This means keeping track of the funds they’ve raised and measuring the results of the campaign to make adjustments in the moment and keep notes for improvements next time around.

The key to a successful peer-to-peer fundraising campaign is remaining involved with your supporters. It’s essential that you provide continuous support, resources, and encouragement when they need it.

Start with the training, keep them involved through gamification techniques, and you’ll be well on your way to a successful peer-to-peer fundraiser!

Doing your research and finding the resources that are best suited to your needs will only propel you forward. Ask yourself the important questions and get your campaign started!

Has your nonprofit tried peer-to-peer fundraising? What methods and strategies worked best for your organization? Let’s talk in the comments.