by Mark Becker, Founding Partner, Cathexis Partners
Peer-to-peer fundraising is big. According to a peer-to-peer fundraising study by NonProfit PRO and Frontstream, 43 percent of nonprofits engaged in peer-to-peer fundraising said that fundraising made up more than 50 percent of their revenue. And according to Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum’s Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Thirty, 2.2 million people took part in peer-to-peer fundraising programs in 2020.
Stats like these suggest that it’s worth investing more time in your peer-to-peer fundraising program.
So, let’s take a look at three areas where you can improve your peer-to-peer fundraising results:
1. Recruit more participants.
One key thing peer-to-peer fundraising requires to be successful is participants. Here are some ideas for recruiting more participants for your next peer-to-peer campaign or event:
- Create powerful messages – To get your supporters excited about helping you raise funds, it’s important to have a compelling story. Make sure your messaging addresses key ideas, including:
- What makes your organization unique
- What impact you are having on your mission
- How your peer-to-peer campaign or event is solving a problem
- What the funds raised from your campaign or event will help your organization accomplish
- How participants can help you reach your fundraising goals
- Make your story easy to understand and share – Make sure the messaging for your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign is easy to:
- Understand – It should be obvious why your organization has launched the peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.
- Convey – Your message should be simple enough for your supporters to easily explain to others.
- Share – Your peer-to-peer fundraising tools should make it easy for participants to share your message.
- Analyze your data – Take time to gather, analyze and use data from your past peer-to-peer campaigns or events to uncover trends and find new opportunities to improve your recruiting efforts. For example, review funds raised based on your top fundraisers’ connection to your organization. Understanding more about them can help you target your recruitment efforts with greater precision.
- Do a “soft” launch – Consider doing a soft launch of your campaign in which you have staff members, board members, and your most involved constituents register to begin fundraising ahead of the official launch. Then, when other people come across the campaign, they’ll see that it already has an interest.
- Build targeted recruitment emails – Segment your audiences and tailor messages for each segment for greater impact. For example, create email audiences based on past participation and past team membership. By doing so, you can send targeted messages, such as an early announcement email to those who have participated in the past and follow-up messages encouraging past participants to sign up.
- Reach beyond your list – Think about other communications channels that reach beyond your constituent list: social media, your website, signs at your organization’s events, public service announcements, local morning TV news shows. All of these channels can be used to announce your campaign and recruit participants.
2. Motivate your participants to raise more.
Getting participants to sign up to fundraise for your organization (and providing them with basic details, sample emails, and suggestions about how to raise funds from their family and friends) is just the beginning. Your ability to reach your fundraising goals depends heavily on your ability to engage with your peer-to-peer participants and keep them motivated to raise funds.
- Issue social media challenges. Create social media challenges to get participants more excited about your campaign and help them engage with potential donors. For example, at the beginning of the week, issue a challenge via your website, social media, and email. Challenges can be related to your organization’s mission, such as “the participant who posts the most pet-themed photos wins the challenge,” or generic, like “the participant with the most donor selfies wins.” Then, promote the winner the following week.
- Send out a call for videos. Ask participants to create videos to help inspire other participants. For example, ask your top fundraisers to develop a short video about why they’re raising funds for your organization or what have been their most effective approaches for raising funds from friends and family.
- Provide incentives. Those who sign up for your peer-to-peer event or campaign have already shown interest in raising funds for your organization. But a little extra incentive can help you keep up the fundraising momentum. For example, offer a t-shirt, an online gift card, or another gift for participants who reach specified fundraising milestones.
3. Consider your peer-to-peer fundraising software platform.
The software platform you use to manage your peer-to-peer campaigns and events and to provide participants with the tools they need to raise funds is critical to your fundraising success. Be sure to periodically re-evaluate your software platform to ensure it’s still meeting your needs.
Here are three signs that it might be time for a change:
- Your peer-to-peer participants aren’t as happy as they should be. Here are some signals that your participants are finding the online experience for your peer-to-peer campaigns and events difficult to navigate:
- Registration abandonment. If you see a high number of people abandoning the registration process, or if that number starts to go up, it might be a sign that you need software that supports an easier and more intuitive participant-facing online experience.
- Support requests. If you find your staff is receiving an increasing number of support requests for your peer-to-peer campaigns and events, it’s a signal that your software might not be as easy for participants to use as it should be.
- Survey responses. After each event or campaign, it’s a good idea to send participants a survey to capture their feedback. Be sure to ask questions about their online experience. They’ll let you know if the experience is clunky or outdated.
- Staff productivity is decreasing. If your organization’s peer-to-peer fundraising team doesn’t seem to be working as efficiently as it seems like it should be, it might be time for new software. You might hear them say things like:
- It’s difficult to run reports and get the information they need when they need it.
- Making changes to the participant-facing design is difficult and/or they aren’t getting the results they expect after making changes.
- It seems to take too long to set up and/or edit a new campaign.
- Your organization’s strategy is evolving faster than your software. As your organization evolves, it’s not uncommon for technology that once met your needs to no longer work for you. Here are some things to watch for:
- Your software will not integrate with your donor database/customer relationship management platform, email marketing platform, or other key software that your organization uses or plans to add soon.
- Your organization’s strategy has expanded to include more social media, apps, SMS, matching gift tools, and other technologies, but your software does not support or integrate with those technologies.
- Your organization has shifted money or resources toward other technologies, and you need a more cost-effective solution.
Whether you’re just getting started with peer-to-peer fundraising, or you’ve been at it for years, the approaches in this article can make a positive impact on your peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns and events.
If you need more ideas or an extra set of hands for your peer-to-peer fundraising events or campaigns, the Cathexis Partners team is ready to help. Contact Cathexis Partners today.
About Mark Becker and Cathexis Partners: Mark founded Cathexis Partners in 2008 to help nonprofit organizations get the most from their existing technology tools, implement new technology to address gaps, and find the best overall approach to using technology to support their missions. He previously served as director of IT consulting at a fundraising event production company focused on nonprofits. Cathexis Partners helps nonprofits use technology to raise funds and engage supporters more effectively.