What Exactly Is Peer-to-Peer Fundraising?
Peer-to-peer fundraising is tailored for our increasingly social world. At its core, peer-to-peer fundraising, also known as social fundraising or P2P, is about letting your supporters get involved and fundraise on your behalf, reaching out to their networks to raise both awareness and monetary donations.
Peer-to-peer is nothing new, but it’s taken on increasing prevalence in the age of social media. The classic form of peer-to-peer fundraising that many of us are most familiar with, and which continues to make up the majority of peer-to-peer campaigns, is the event-based model, often structured around a walk-a-thon or similar activity. Participants sign up, using one of the best peer-to-peer fundraising platforms for their cause, to collect donation pledges from their friends, family, and coworkers contingent on their participation in the event.
It’s a great way to fundraise, but modern peer-to-peer fundraising doesn’t have to be tied to an event. By combining social media with the best peer-to-peer fundraising platforms available, including FundRazr, it’s easy for your supporters to sign up as volunteers or advocates, then run their own sub-campaigns under the brand of your cause.
With peer-to-peer campaigns, you’ll have new people working to support your cause – and reaching out to their people. This means organizations are tapping into new potential donor markets and multiplying their donations far beyond what you may be able to achieve by reaching out directly as nonprofits.
What’s more, the networks potential donors these new fundraisers are going to be reaching are those they have existing relationships with – as we said, family, coworkers, and friends. That means the fundraiser has a high amount of trust already established with these people, lending credibility to your campaign much more quickly than if you were to start building a donor relationship from scratch with these same populations. You’ll attract fundraisers who are already invested in your cause, and they’ll personalize your message as they share it to your friends and loved ones – it’s a mutually beneficial situation that allows your supporters to work towards positive change, and greatly broadens the scope of what your organization can achieve.
Many users of competitive peer-to-peer fundraising platforms complain that donors acquired from the referral of friends are not very committed to the cause and are only contribute in support of their friend’s fundraising request. At FundRazr, we believe this is because many competing peer-to-peer fundraising platforms focus too much on just getting cash from the potential donor and don’t take the time or make the effort to educate the potential donor of the value of the work performed by the nonprofit. Our peer-to-peer campaigns are different in that we let both the cause and the individual fundraiser tell a much richer story of why they are raising money and why the nonprofits’ mission matters. This results in greater “stickiness”, more donations, and more long term supporters. These long-term supporters are an important factor in your mission’s success – in 2016, income from these sustaining donations grew 10%.
Steps to Success
Let’s get down to business. Here’s how to go about setting up your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign for maximum results.
1. Laying the Groundwork
Before you make any final decisions, you’ll want to see what’s out there. Have a look and see what some other nonprofits in your niche or sector are doing to make themselves the best peer-to-peer fundraising platforms possible. What are they doing right? Which are the most successful? What could be improved?
Next, set out some firm goals, and make sure everyone in your team agrees on them. How will you define ‘success’ for this campaign; in terms of dollars raised, dollars spent, and people signed up?
Come up with a realistic number of people that already support your cause that you anticipate will sign up as campaign participants. Multiply that number by ten, then the resulting number by five to get a good goal for the total amount of fundraisers you’d like to see register, as those who have signed up will recruit more participants.
Will you be charging registration fees? Project what your campaign will aim to take in from any fees charged to participants and donations they will raise. Also important at this phase is setting up a detailed budget that includes staff, marketing and event costs.
Then, you’ll need to decide what form the actual campaign will take! Will this campaign be based on a virtual, or real-world event? Will you give participants to option to fundraise in memoriam, or in relation to a special day? What about a “virtual drive” where donors can give virtual items that represent the impact of their donation? The sky’s the limit here, so be creative!
2. Putting it Into Action
Now, you’ll begin to construct your actual campaign – the text and visual content that donors and participants will see as they interact, sign up, and move through the various stages of peer-to-peer fundraising. The core of this content is your campaign story and branding. Your campaign story will communicate the power and urgency of your mission, telling a compelling story that will urge those reading to get involved. The visual branding of your campaign will give it a specific identity, helping it to stand out from the crowd and feel cohesive through all its stages and sub-campaigns.
Well ahead of time, compose all the text and visual content that participants will see, from pre-campaign marketing content to the messaging participants will receive as they sign up and meet fundraising benchmarks. Unify all this content into a calendar that maps out when it will be used, from the first promotional message to a final thank-you to all donors and participants. Make sure to prepare enough authentic content to offer fresh images and content every week. Your donors may need to see 5-7 images, call-to-actions and stories before they decide to support your cause. Work together with your team to create a comprehensive communications plan and calendar.
When building your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, make sure to answer following questions:
> Does your page have your logo and links to the main website?
> Does it effectively communicate the story of your cause and answer why you raise money?
> Does it have unique images or video that help donors be engaged?
> Does it encourage a donor to enroll as a fundraiser and raise money for your cause?
> Does it have easy sharing functionality in social, text or email?
> Does it help your fundraisers add their own story and give reasons why they raise money?
> Does it show the leaderboard or celebrate your peer-to-peer fundraising champions?
3. Ready, Set, Go!
Launching your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign is all about getting the word out to attract as many new fundraisers as possible. Kick off your campaign with direct messaging to all your lists of existing supporters and past donors. Don’t underestimate the power of email – studies show that since 2010, the likelihood of an email message to inspire a donation has jumped from 6% to 28%! Spread the word in other ways, too, with shareable posts on social media, traditional advertising in print, radio and online media, and even physical signage out and about in your city!
One thing we focus on at FundRazr is that the things you do before your campaign are some of the most important factors in its success. Reach out to staff and your existing community and get a core group of fundraisers lined up to participate as soon as the campaign goes live. This will lend social credibility to the campaign and increase potential donors’ faith and trust in your organization.
You just need to get out there, in the real world, and recruit your fundraisers! Try reaching out to community groups such as Boys & Girls Clubs, religious organization, fraternities and sororities, and athletic clubs if your campaign is based around a run or walk.
Be careful to tailor your messaging to each audience, thinking about their goals and background. If you can, attend events in your community to make connections in person and leave a lasting impression. Start with messaging directly related to registration (“registration now open!”), then move into more urgent language that communicates the potential impact fundraisers could have on your cause.
4. Never Stop Improving
Make sure to stay in contact with your fundraisers throughout the campaign. Keep messaging fun, upbeat and brief to boost morale and keep everyone engaged. Consider sending out a weekly email, recapping the past week’s achievements and offering tips on how to raise more money.
Harness the power of social media as well, creating a campaign hashtag and posting graphics and video content that relate to your mission and campaign and encouraging fundraisers to share them. Consider making a private Facebook group that can act as a support network for fundraisers, where they can share their experiences and ask questions to each other and to nonprofit staffers.
Don’t forget about phone calls and text! Personally reaching fundraisers at appropriate times, such as when they recruit someone else or hit impressive donation goals, can do wonders towards ensuring they feel appreciated and have a positive experience. And finally, as with the rest of your campaign communications, make sure messaging is tailored to be relevant to each segment of your fundraiser audience.
The platform or tool that nonprofits pick for their peer-to-peer fundraising campaign can significantly alleviate the coaching-related workload. For example, here at FundRazr, we have an automatic coaching that will teach your fundraisers about the main principles of successful crowdfunding.
5. Finishing Strong
After your event or campaign is over, it’s take to sit down and analyze how you did. Where did you measure up to or surpass your goals, and where did you fall short? How much of your nonprofits’ effort and expense went into the campaign, and was it worth it? What can your organization learn from this when setting goals for the next campaign?
It’s also crucial to thank all your sponsors for their participation, acknowledging the time and hard work they put into supporting your cause. For your top fundraisers, you could even consider a personal phone call letting them know the impact their contribution will have.
Make sure you set up a channel to receive post-campaign feedback from your fundraisers – you will want to know what parts of the process were easy and enjoyable for participants, and which could use reworking the next time around. You should be using these insights to already start looking ahead to your next peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, building on what worked well and improving on any rocky areas.
Also, don’t lose touch with your fundraisers just because the campaign is over! Keep the lines of communication open with regular updates on your nonprofit’s activities and invitations to get involved – they can hopefully take part again next time, or move on to play a great role in your nonprofit, in other ways.
Keep in mind that the ultimate goal of peer-to-peer fundraising is not receiving one-time contributions from donors (who only contribute because of their friend or family member). The big goal is introducing your cause to new donors who will stay and support you after your peer-to-peer campaign is over. You can achieve that by effectively communicating the story of your cause and creating positive, long-lasting donor engagement with your nonprofit or charity.
And of course, give yourself and your entire team a pat on the back – you’ve worked hard, and you did it!
You Can Do It!
And here is the last thought:
While peer-to-peer campaigns are the most common and famous crowdfunding types of campaigns, there are also other innovative crowdfunding types emerging on the market. Micro-projects, charity storefronts, sponsorship campaigns and more – be creative!
If you take anything away from this guide to peer-to-peer fundraising, let it be that planning and organization are key to a successful campaign. From a comprehensive content plan created well ahead of time, to having open and constant communication with fundraisers throughout your nonprofit’s campaign, clarity and coordination are what will truly take your campaign to the next level.