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10 Ways to Jump-Start Your New Year P2P Fundraising Efforts


By Contributing Author

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Peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising has become an important element of nonprofit development, with more and more organizations recognizing the potential to increase their donations. The beginning of the year is a great time to strengthen and grow your organization’s strategy. Here are 10 ways to build on your peer-to-peer efforts as you head into the New Year.

1. Do a Deep Dive

Take time during the first week back in the New Year to do a deep dive into your program analytics. Use data to inform your goals and strategies for the year ahead. Plan a meeting for the first week of January, when everyone is back in the office and full of New Year energy. Set this meeting now so that everyone knows what to expect. Even if you are a team of one, still set a date, time, and agenda. It’s important that this feels like a dedicated time to reflect, analyze, and brainstorm.

Your meeting agenda on this deep analysis might look like this:

  • Analysis
    • Review prior year’s stats and how they compare to the year before that. Identify your top fundraisers—who they are and what type of fundraising they did. Consider how many fundraising pages were created and how many were active versus inactive. Compare online and offline donations. Identify peak fundraising times throughout the year and reasons for these peaks.
  • Strengths
    • What makes your organization or supporters great at peer-to-peer fundraising? Identify the donor segments, types of campaigns, and strategies that have worked well.
  • Weaknesses
    • Take a look at how your peer-to-peer program can improve. Perhaps you have many people creating a fundraising page, but a large portion never get their first donation. Brainstorm solutions for the challenges you identify.
  • Opportunities
    • These are the segments of your community that have the potential to boost your peer-to-peer fundraising. Discuss how you can market this type of support to different people.

2. Set Auto Emails

Past fundraisers are the best candidates to lead your peer-to-peer program in the year ahead. Eleven months after someone sets up a fundraising page, you should reach out to encourage them to do another fundraiser. The easiest way to do this is with automatic emails in which you remind them of the impact they made. Now’s the time to set these follow-up emails so that they’re on autopilot throughout the year. Use data from your peer-to-peer platform to create a list of fundraisers with whom you want to get in touch.

3. Plan a Thank You Event

Invite your fundraisers from last year to an in-person thank you event to show your top advocates how much you accomplished last year. Be prepared to share your overall numbers and success stories, and tell your attendees how much they’ve made a difference and how much you appreciate their support.

You can also pick their brains on how to market the P2P program more in the coming year. These fundraisers are your ambassadors. Use them. Instead of asking for a donation, you can ask these advocates to send an email out to their contacts asking them do their own peer-to-peer fundraiser. You should draft the email for them and tell them to tweak it as they see fit before sending it to their network.

While you have people in front of you, don’t miss out on the opportunity to collect testimonials and take photos. You could even take pictures with them holding signs of how much they raised. Use the photos you collect for social media updates and also for general program marketing.

4. Target Your All-Stars

As a follow-up to this event, put together your target list of people you want to ask to do another fundraiser this year. You’ll also ask this group of people to increase their fundraising goal. This is your fundraiser renewal list. These are important donors for you to keep in touch with monthly.

If you don’t have much experience with major gifts, then this is a great opportunity to loop in your colleague who is responsible for major gifts. The two of you may be able to think of more creative ways to engage this fundraiser who is clearly well connected and can raise a significant amount of money. Also, the people who donate to this fundraiser’s campaign can be added to the list of people you target for future P2P campaigns.

5. Reach Out to Third-Party Donors

Take your top 5 to 10 fundraisers from last year and email their donors telling them how successful their friend/family/page creator was and include a call to action (CTA) for them to create their own page this year. Your CTA will be based on your data. For example, if you learned that your birthday P2P fundraisers are the most successful, then you may want your CTA to be to “pledge your birthday” and to “raise money instead of birthday gifts this year.”

Here is a sample email:

Dear John,

Thank you so much for donating to Sarah’s fundraiser in memory of her grandma. With your donation, Sarah was able to raise $1,200 for our organization. We are so thankful to Sarah and to her donors, like you!

Happy New Year,
Your Name

P.S. You, too, can make a difference like Sarah did. Pledge your birthday today and in lieu of gifts, ask for donations. Click here.

Also send a general email to all of your other donors (minus the ones you already emailed) thanking them for making a donation and asking them to create a fundraising page.

6. Use Your Success to Create Buy-In

Put together a short presentation on the success of your P2P program with stats, examples, and potential opportunities to raise more money. Schedule time to share your findings with your Executive Team, Board, Fundraising Committee, key major donors, colleagues, etc. Showing the rest of your organization the value of peer-to-peer will get them excited about the program and make them more willing to help.

Your presentation should be about 15 minutes to allow for questions and dialog for 15 minutes. I’ve found that most people will not say no to you asking for a 30-minute meeting. As with any meeting you have, be sure to know what you want to walk away with afterwards (this may be different based on who you are meeting with) and ensure that you accomplish this during the meeting. You may only get one chance in front of your board or executive team, so make it worth their while.

7. Gather Referrals

Your presentations to staff, board members, and advocates are an opportunity to get referrals for potential fundraisers. Ask your team which contacts, donors, or partners would be interested in the program. Ask your colleague to make an email introduction for you or arrange a breakfast or lunch meeting to discuss the idea.

Many development professionals neglect to build a fundraiser prospect list, so use these types of opportunities to build your pool of peer-to-peer candidates.

8. Identify Prospects in Your Database

Another key way to build a P2P prospect list is to look through your database. From your data, pull a list of all online donors who gave between $100 and $500 but have not created a personal fundraising campaign. Then create a marketing plan for these donors.

There is an opportunity to get them to make their online donation and then follow up with an ask to create a page to raise that same amount from their friends and family. So, if the donation was $250 online, then the communication can be something like this:

“Thank you so much for your generous $250 donation. Did you know you could double your impact when you create your own fundraising page? All it takes is 10 loved ones who are willing to donate $25 each to your campaign!”

9. Re-Engage Lapsed Fundraisers

Call supporters who did a fundraiser two years ago but did not participate last year. Ask them to do one this year. Make this a really positive call where you update them on the work of the organization and thank them again for the impact they’ve already made.

To help these supporters get started with a new campaign, offer them a fundraising tips sheet and some sample emails they can send to family and friends. Show them how much you appreciate your peer-to-peer fundraisers and make it easy for them to get involved again.

10. Survey Past Fundraisers

A survey of your peer-to-peer fundraisers (both active and inactive) reveal opportunities for improvement. You should include your fundraisers who created a page, but then never fundraised. These are people who were interested or curious enough, but then never executed.

If you do a survey, include an incentive to get people to actually complete it. Even offering a prize for one person chosen at random will inspire people to spend a few minutes on your survey. Hopefully you can gain some insight and also get a few fundraisers to try again.

Emily Dubin Field, MBA, is a Senior Associate at Envision Nonprofit, a nonprofit recruiting and consulting firm. She spent several years as a Director of Development for City of Hope where she launched their first-ever peer-to-peer program called ourHope, which utilized the Classy platform. She has her MBA in nonprofit management and is a New Leaders Council Fellow and a Coro Fellow. Emily is also a public speaker. Contact Emily at [email protected].

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