What Is Peer-to-Peer Fundraising & How Does It Work?
Today’s digital tools and communication platforms make it easy for supporters to raise money on their favorite organizations’ behalf. Social media, access to personal networks, and the ease of online giving combine to make peer-to-peer fundraising one of the most effective ways for organizations to increase donations. Nonprofits that empower their supporters to become fundraising partners are reaping the rewards of increased revenue and a wider donor base.
What is peer-to-peer fundraising?
Peer-to-peer fundraising is a fundraising strategy in which individual supporters host personal campaigns to collect donations from their friends, family, and colleagues on an organization’s behalf. This approach can help an organization organically expand its reach to new, previously unexplored networks of supporters.
Additionally, peer-to-peer campaigns can raise money through a variety of activities, including crowdfunding, hosting or participating in events, or selling a nonprofit’s branded products.
Examples of peer-to-peer fundraising
Almost anything can be turned into a peer-to-peer fundraiser. To help you brainstorm the perfect approach for your organization’s peer-to-peer campaign, we’ve collected a list of our favorite events to add a peer-to-peer element to:
- 5K race
- Virtual challenges
- Giving day
- Bake sale
- Game night
- Pub crawl
Concepts for peer-to-peer campaigns are limited only by your creativity. But you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Look at the fundraisers other organizations have hosted in the past and hold conversations with supporters about how you can best connect with their passion for your cause.
Peer-to-peer fundraising strategies
We are all influenced by the opinions and actions of our friends, family, and colleagues. We want to feel like we belong, like we’re part of a group. With the right approach, peer-to-peer fundraising can help expose your organization to new audiences and establish a social norm of giving. Here are a few strategies your organization can add to your campaigns:
1) Peer-to-peer fundraising is a two-way relationship.
Traditional fundraising appeals are typically one-sided: An organization promotes a project or cause and invites people to give their support. On the other hand, peer-to-peer campaigns, which leverage existing relationships between an organization’s supporters and their personal networks, require a two-way street. Make sure to help your fundraising partners set up their campaign pages, highlight them in your newsletter, on your website, and through social media, and regularly share your gratitude for their above-and-beyond support.
2) Make your message personal.
Stories from people we know feel more personal and authentic than those we hear from an organization. We see our friends and family as trustworthy, and their words often inspire us to act. For the greatest peer-to-peer fundraising success, give your fundraising partners agency to tell their specific stories and share why they care about your cause. Friends, family, and colleagues will be more likely to contribute when they know why a cause matters to someone they know personally.
3) Give your partners guidance.
While it’s important to give fundraising partners the freedom to tell their own story and fundraise in the ways that will best connect with their unique network, you should provide structured guidelines available to those who want them. Give your fundraising partners a campaign page template, pre-written donation request letters, and images, videos, and social media posts they can easily share with their network. Taking these extra steps up-front will avoid confusion, establish a consistent brand for your organization, and create a positive fundraising experience for all.
4) Leverage peer-to-peer fundraising tools.
An impactful peer-to-peer fundraiser requires an equally impactful fundraising platform—one that can be widely shared and easily process donations. In addition to offering individual, customizable fundraising pages for your supporters, your peer-to-peer software solution should give you a centralized dashboard where you can keep track of the overall campaign and communicate with your fundraising partners.
Now that you’re familiar with the basics of peer-to-peer fundraising and how you can use it to raise money and increase exposure for your organization, take a look at these additional ways to supercharge your next peer-to-peer fundraising campaign:
- 7 Exceptional Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Best Practices. Looking for more guidance to set up your fundraising campaign? Explore these best practices.
- Launching a Powerful Peer-to-Peer Campaign in 10 Steps. Follow this step-by-step guide to hosting your own peer-to-peer fundraiser.
- The Secrets of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Success. Download this free resource to learn how to create and run effective peer-to-peer campaigns.