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Children’s Museum Brings in 85% New Donors with First P2P Campaign (Case Study)

Hands-on Executive Director, Jillian Shaver, who also founded the new-ish Children’s’ Museum of Oswego (CMOO) shares tips from CMOO’s first peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising campaign. CMOO built its campaign on this gorgeous image that beautifully captures the organization’s mission and a clear, doable call to action. Lots to learn from Jillian—the campaign pulled in 85% new donors with just 11 fundraisers! Read on.


Nancy: Jillian, please tell me about your P2P campaign to help CMOO expand exhibits and programs

Jillian: We asked our existing donors to ask their friends and families to support CMOO, the first time we’ve done a peer-to-peer (P2P) campaign. The campaign lasted two incredible weeks, with great results.

Nancy: What motivated you to add this first-time P2P campaign to CMOO’s fundraising agenda last year?

Jillian: Let me give a bit of context: We’re a tiny organization with just one staff member (me) and a group of fantastic volunteers who fundraise and staff the museum.

We were having difficulty reaching the very last stretch for our year-end annual fund goal and knew it was vital to bring in as many new donors as possible to fuel our first-time capital campaign, but we were stuck. Then a board member encouraged us to try Network for Good’s (Network For Good) tools for this campaign, events, and online donations for our capital campaign!

Nancy: How did you decide on the P2P approach?

Jillian: Traditionally, like many organizations, we’ve asked our board members to be the fundraisers. This time we wanted to ask our current donors to reach out to their networks to fundraise for our organization. We figured it was a no-lose experiment!

Nancy: What kind of results did you see—in dollars raised, first-time donors, more participation, and anything else?

Jillian: 11 donors stepped up to bring their friends and families on board, and these loyal individuals worked hard to exceed our fundraising goal. Even better, 85% of the folks who gave were first-time donors who are now part of our CMOO family. We never expected that!

Nancy: Any idea which fundraisers did something unique or particularly effective to generate donations from their friends and families?

Jillian: Some fundraisers worked hard to engage their co-workers in donating by emphasizing the company’s matching donation program. Network for Good’s peer-to-peer software made that really easy.

Nancy: Who did what to launch and support the P2P campaign?

Jillian: I created the P2P page and emailed out to those who might be interested in signing up as fundraisers. I found the Network For Good tool quick and easy to use. I was able to develop a good-looking, effective campaign, even though I’m so time-strapped, and in no way a design or tech wizard.

I also sent our P2P fundraisers sample ask and “thank you” email templates, to save them time, build confidence, and make it easy for them to do a great job.

Nancy: How are you thanking and retaining the donors (returning and first time) who came in via the P2P campaign? The first-timers are typically thought to have the tie with the friend or family member who brought them in, rather than the organization or cause.

Jillian: We offered donors who gave $15 or more a free admission pass to our winter program. And we are in touch regularly to update them on what is going on with the museum, so they know their dollars helped us to accomplish more. We continue to connect those dots for them.

Nancy: How are you nurturing your 11 P2P fundraisers?

Jillian: We cultivate them with regular newsletters and invite them to join us at hospitality events to keep them engaged in the progress of the museum. And to show our thanks, of course.

Nancy: What did it take (in terms of talent, time, and budget) to run the P2P campaign?

Jillian: Very little time and no special skills were needed; Network for Good’s software and our fantastic and loyal fundraisers did all the work for us!
Nancy: What’s the most important advice you can share with fundraisers considering launching a first-time P2P campaign?

Jillian: That’s an easy one: Use powerful images and stories to convey your mission and motivate donors to give to your organization. It worked wonders for CMOO!


With specific tips and inspiration like this, why not launch your first P2P campaign? If your colleagues or boss are pushing back on that idea, share this case study. Showing, rather than telling, is always the most productive communications approach.


Ready to use peer-to-peer fundraising to acquire new donors, activate your supporters, and raise more money for your programs? Schedule a time for your personalized demo to learn how Network for Good’s peer-to-peer fundraising software makes it easy to launch a P2P campaign.

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