The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

What Is Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Anyway?

Peer-to-peer fundraising is empowering your supporter base to fundraise on your behalf. Peer-to-peer fundraising is also known as social fundraising, P2P, or personal fundraising.

Think beyond the walkathon

When you think of social fundraising, you probably think of a walkathon, dance marathon, or another event that social fundraisers will attend. Although this is the best-known type of social fundraising, you don’t have to have an event to justify launching a social fundraising campaign.

Project-focused vs. mission-focused fundraising

The most successful social fundraising campaigns are project-based campaigns. Project-based campaigns drive support and excitement about a specific initiative. It’s much easier to encourage social fundraisers to reach out to potential donors with a project-based ask than with a broad appeal.

  • More often than not, when you send an appeal to donors, you are asking them to support your mission. You might feature a story about a client or a recent success, but the story is usually directly related to your day-to-day programming and not a specific need. I like to call this mission-focused fundraising. You are asking donors to support what you do every day. Donors’ dollars help you accomplish your mission.
  • Project-focused fundraising asks donors to fund something specific. There’s a fundraising goal in mind and (usually) a deadline. Here’s an example: A food bank needs to upgrade its freezer by the end of the summer. The board has been recruited as social fundraisers to hit a $15,000 goal.

How do you recruit social fundraisers?

In a traditional fundraising model, you (the nonprofit) send appeals to acquire donors or ask existing donors to give again. In a peer-to-peer fundraising model, you must recruit and motivate supporters to step into the role of fundraiser. Then, you empower these fundraisers to ask their social circle for donations.

Your peer fundraising campaign will be the most successful when you find advocates who are excited to serve as fundraisers. Start by reaching out to five to 10 loyal supporters. They could be board members or longtime volunteers. Begin recruiting with people you know and those who know your organization’s mission. Equip these social fundraisers with the tools they need to recruit donors: email templates, a peer fundraising donation page, FAQs, and confidence.

P2P Fundraising

When to host a peer fundraising campaign

Social fundraising campaigns see the most success when the campaign has a firm deadline. Without a date for an event (like a walkathon) on the calendar, how do you set a deadline and put pressure on your fundraisers to bring in donations during a defined time period? It’s not that hard, but you need to get creative.

Think about the timing of holidays and celebrations throughout the year and how you could easily piggyback on these dates. If your cause has an awareness month, use those 30 days as your social campaign timeline. If your cause works with single mothers, a campaign ending on Mother’s Day would be a good fit.

Or think about the nature of your work and any natural timelines that arise. Do you host a summer camp? Organize a social fundraising campaign a month before campers arrive, and announce the total dollars raised during the first meal the campers share together. Does your food bank host a big Thanksgiving meal? Craft a campaign in November that ends on Thanksgiving.

Are you ready?

Although this is not a new model of fundraising, it is evolving thanks to technology and the new ways we share stories and communicate. Peer-to-peer fundraising might be something your supporters have been waiting for. Are you ready for it? Do you have the right peer-to-peer software to help you succeed?

 

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About This Blog

Liz Ragland
Senior Associate, Marketing and Content

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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