9 Actionable Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Tips
Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns are an essential part of any far-reaching giving strategy. Evolving expectations, technology, and desire for personal connection all set new standards for peer-to-peer campaigns that can bring in more fundraising for nonprofits.
These nine peer-to-peer fundraising tips are your go-to guide to deliver giving opportunities that meet supporters in the new era of giving.
Peer-to-Peer Fundraising in the New Era of Nonprofit Giving
1. Set the Tone with a Strong Goal
Every successful campaign starts with knowing how to define success. Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns thrive on setting goals, from your big-picture goal to the smaller goals that can guide each fundraising team or individual.
Like any good goal, ensure it’s specific and concrete before jumping ahead to campaign creation and outreach ideas. With some clarity on the numbers, you can make intelligent decisions at every step, from setting up your campaign to getting it in front of the right supporters.
Dedicate some time to setting goals to get clear on a few key questions:
- What exactly are you trying to fund with your campaign?
- Are you financing a concrete, programmatic service (like 50,000 meals) or a sum to disperse more broadly (like supporting 2024 operations)?
- How much funding do you need?
- What is the average donation amount you want to attract from each individual?
- How can you tie dollar amounts to tangible outcomes to prompt donors?
- How many donors will need to participate to reach your goals?
- How will you measure the success of your campaign as you go?
- How will you know if you’ve reached your fundraising goal?
Getting as detailed as choosing an ideal average gift per donor helps you create strategic appeals, like impact blocks, to drive that behavior. That way, you can make more specific asks, such as “$100 can feed a family for a week” or “Start your own fundraising page to raise $500 for a classroom’s year of supplies.”
An achievable goal helps mobilize fundraisers. But a lofty donation goal without context can make people feel like their participation is negligible. Helping them visualize how every donation plays into tangible outcomes encourages action. It can also inspire them to create personal goals based on results they envision, such as meals for a family.
Goal-Driven Behavior in Action
Shriners Children’s invites supporters to play a role in its larger goal to support families with a Fundraise for Love campaign. Anyone can host a peer-to-peer campaign or support an existing fundraiser to take their goal to 100% (or more).
2. Incentivize Participation with New Supporters
Peer-to-peer campaigns are a great tool to build awareness and acquire new supporters. In fact, Classy’s The State of Modern Philanthropy report found that 80% of people who donate to a peer-to-peer campaign on Classy are new to the organization.
Adding a little incentive to activate anyone considering joining can be incredibly persuasive. Unlike donors who’ve supported you for some time now, first-time donors may seek a combination of emotional connection, a simple way to get started, and maybe something extra to sweeten the deal.
Here are a few incentive ideas to consider for your peer-to-peer campaign:
- Physical swag like T-shirts with your organization or campaign branding
- An opportunity to meet beneficiaries and hear their stories firsthand
- Access to discounted tickets for an event you’re hosting
- A donation match that doubles the impact of a single gift for a specific period
- Public shoutouts for highly engaged supporters on a campaign leaderboard, your nonprofit website, social channels, or at a live event
- A special honor for those who raise the most to share and be proud of while encouraging others to achieve the same (like, The Top 10, The Champion Circle, The Loving Leaders, The Changemakers, and more)
Take some time to brainstorm incentives you know worked in the past or ask your top fundraisers what might excite them as you think of ideas.
3. Help Fundraisers Raise More
The more successful your fundraisers are, the more likely you’ll have a successful peer-to-peer campaign. You can choose from various ways to help them feel supported to do their best. Going the extra mile to provide education and resources helps peer-to-peer participants reach more people, raising more for your mission and deepening their connection to your cause.
To coach and equip your fundraisers, you can:
- Provide a fundraiser toolkit with all the essential resources supporters need to be successful.
- Guide them on how to compile a list of likely donors and practice outreach.
- Share examples of heartfelt storytelling to inspire their fundraising pages.
- Prepare branded assets and resources so they don’t have to.
- Offer sample social media posts and email templates.
- Host a weekly online webinar for fundraising Q&A and networking.
- Lean on seasoned fundraisers as educational resources for first-timer supporters.
Fundraiser Education in Action
National Breast Cancer Foundation features a webpage tailored to the latest fundraiser resources and tips to mobilize peer-to-peer campaigns. The nonprofit’s team took the time to create this one-stop site for everything from compelling statistics and research to social media sharing to help get fundraising in front of new donors. The page also features a QR code generator to help people get creative about sharing their pages.
4. Incorporate Peer-to-Peer Fundraising at Events
Registration with fundraising events brings a new level of engagement to peer-to-peer efforts. Attendees can set up a fundraising page using event registration software for nonprofits to participate or support online. The fundraising experience may include an endurance event like a walk-a-thon, an entertainment opportunity like a concert, and many other exciting ideas your donor base loves participating in.
Coming together for the event adds a personalized and timely element that can energize fundraisers. Supporters can root for participants to achieve a time-based fundraising goal, even if they can’t attend, for a more significant reach.
Events with fundraising help you offer:
- Wider accessibility for participation across in-person, hybrid, and virtual event audiences
- Flexibility for donors and participants to get involved how they’d like
- Interactive components, like activity tracking, gamification, and live streams
- Smooth reporting to see engagement from pre-event to the day of
- Experiential elements that further emphasize your cause and get people feeling connected to your people and programs
Fundraising Events in Action
The Pablove Foundation invites supporters to join a team, sponsor a group, or register for the virtual fundraising team as part of its Sand to the Sea event. Each event is part of the larger Pablove Across America series of cycling events, which help participants feel connected to something greater as they fundraise together for a common cause.
5. Tailor Your Outreach to the Social Era
Social media platforms are excellent for peer-to-peer fundraising as charity becomes more of a passion for younger generations. Our Why America Gives found that social media is how 69% of next-gen donors (millennials and Gen Z) prefer to hear from organizations.
A natural response from someone excited about their freshly built fundraising page would be to share it with the masses. People are proud to show their support for nonprofits with new social features, like pinning fundraisers to Instagram profiles, attaching donation buttons to stories, and showcasing a nonprofit on their TikTok bios.
Here are some ideas to socialize your peer-to-peer campaign:
- Include easy social sharing on every fundraising page as a default to encourage wider reach.
- See if your peer-to-peer fundraising platform integrates with Facebook to allow fundraisers to tap into new audiences that are already engaging efficiently.
- Leverage video on Instagram reels, stories, TikTok, and YouTube to engage your audience of supporters and fundraisers.
- Deliver real-time updates on campaign success and tangible results.
- Introduce some friendly competition by inviting followers to vote on elements like fundraiser creativity to build awareness of the many pages they can support.
- Change your profile pictures and banners on each social platform to draw attention to your timely campaigns.
- Include links to your campaign in your profile bios and link stickers.
The key is to switch up the intent and call to action associated with each of your posts to speak to donors across every level of consideration. You can offer some posts that directly ask for donations and others that provide social proof and engagement around the campaign’s story.
Social Fundraising in Action
Cancer Research Institute showcases a timely and meaningful campaign that pulls people together for a great cause with its Tailgate for a Purpose campaign. The nonprofit’s team shares ideas to fundraise with a natural social component, which lends to great sharing opportunities.
Each fundraiser’s donation page shares options to pull the campaign onto various social networks. That makes it easy to tell friends and family about the opportunity to make a big difference for a cause close to their heart.
6. Tell a Story with Your Campaign Content
People naturally gravitate toward a story that creates a feeling of connection to something greater. Your mission statement is already a form of storytelling that you can use to get started, then go back to your goal-setting exercise to continue building out a clear “why” behind this campaign.
It’s also helpful to consider how people engage with a story. Think about conveying a solid narrative, then stretching it across various platforms to capture interest from diverse audiences. Mixing short-form and long-form content types with readability tips, like bulleted lists and carousel images, can help you achieve a nice balance.
Meaningful content ideas include:
- An opening email series that introduces your campaign’s story in bite-sized portions that each call on people to become fundraisers
- Impact stories that demonstrate your program’s potential to change lives and outcomes for people who need it
- Videos and photos that help people visualize your story and appeal to their emotions
- Testimonials that bring in the voices of your constituents, volunteers, staff, or board members for an additional human touch
Creative Content in Action
Thanks to Classy’s registration-with-a-fundraising-event format, the community received an invitation to sign up and “give presence” for Giving Tuesday with a free virtual event where they could hear from a few powerful storytellers.
From there, each attendee can support a storyteller and bring their story to a peer-to-peer fundraising page to raise money in their community through meaningful words.
7. Let DIY Fundraising Keep the Momentum Going
A DIY fundraising campaign allows donors to bring their stories to the spotlight and choose the reason and goal behind their fundraising pages. It also allows your donors to create DIY landing pages whenever inspired throughout the year. Supporters love the flexibility to align charitable behavior to moments where they can heighten community generosity.
Here’s a few ideas of how people can fundraise with a DIY campaign:
- To celebrate an anniversary
- To honor a loved one who’s struggling
- To memorialize someone who’s no longer with us
- To replace gifts for a birthday or holiday
- To respond to a timely moment of need in the world
DIY Fundraising Campaign in Action
Lustgarten Foundation offers a birthday campaign full of fun and, more importantly, flexibility with its Fundraise Your Way-Celebrate DIY campaign. Starting with the name of the campaign, people can see how empowered they are to make a difference in the way that feels natural to them.
The campaign leaves fundraisers with simple instructions and guidance on how each fundraising amount aligns with lab supplies and the opportunity to fund a research project. Removing barriers to getting involved entices widespread participation from hundreds of individuals.
8. Get Corporate Partners Involved
Research shows that 88% of company leaders believe effective employee engagement programs help attract and retain employees.1 With more workers wanting to see charitable behavior from their employers, this is an excellent opportunity to bring in peer-to-peer fundraising to strengthen your corporate giving program.
Here are a few ways to bring peer-to-peer fundraising to the workplace:
- Empower employees to fundraise: Share a time-based initiative or a year-round campaign with corporate partners to engage their teams. Employees can create personalized fundraising pages to tell their unique stories and share involvement with their broader network of family and friends to raise more collectively for your organization’s mission.
- Host a company competition: Build a campaign template that corporate partners can brand to their organizations and introduce company-wide. Teams and departments can compete for a reward, like a day off or a team dinner. Imagine a fun and engaging competition between the finance team and the marketing department that entices new donations from broader audiences outside the company, all supporting your mission.
- Uplevel to a corporate challenge: Expand your reach by bringing team fundraising to corporate partners to compete against one another and see who can collectively fundraise the most for your organization. This could include the opportunity for companies to match donations from employees and increase the overall impact they make together for a cause they’re passionate about supporting.
Corporate Partnership in Action
Special Olympics Virginia hosted a Dulles Day Plane Pull that raised $530,000 to support athletes. The event received help from several essential corporate partners, including Dulles International Airport, United Airlines, Cisco, FedEx, and many more.
Corporate teams also joined individuals to create fundraising pages that took the results to the next level. Leaderboards helped create a level of competition that kept people engaged, and an activity board showed donations in real time.
9. Show Your Appreciation
Peer-to-peer fundraisers aren’t just about donating. They take the time to invite entirely new audiences into your organization through awareness and monetary contributions. As you wrap up your campaign, thank every fundraiser and show them how much they matter to your mission. Remember that with the rise of automation, templates, and ChatGPT, people are more immune to anything that feels robotic, so be sure to add that human touch for a lasting impact.
Use these helpful tools and donor management practices thoughtfully with a few key reminders:
- Add details to every thank you message, like a fundraiser’s name, campaign goal, and total amount raised to show they’re deeply valued.
- Keep the momentum going by bringing in tangible results that their contributions made to drive their future engagement.
- Consider building digital e-cards that fundraisers can share with anyone participating in their campaign to extend the gratitude effect.
- Have your thank you come from someone specific, whether an organization leader, a beneficiary who received support, or another significant figure that adds a human touch.
You can also follow up your thank you message with an additional touchpoint that allows people to continue their charitable behavior. Consider upcoming events and campaigns or the opportunity to upgrade fundraisers to recurring donors.
Reach More to Raise More with Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
Now, it’s your turn to create a list you’re proud of, using this list of peer-to-peer fundraising tips. Undoubtedly, things will continue to evolve across the social sector, and by staying informed on the latest fundraising best practices, you’ll be well-equipped to build connections that fuel your mission.
Our team here at Classy loves to dive into the research and identify trends that help nonprofits reach their goals. You can catch our latest reports, nonprofit success stories, and proprietary platform data on our resource center to stay ahead of the curve.
Copy Editor: Ayanna Julien
- “Snapshot Employer Research: The New Corporate DNA – Where Employee Engagement and Social Impact Converge,” America’s Charities, accessed November 7, 2023, https://www.charities.org/Snapshot-Employer-Research-Corporate-DNA-Employee-Engagement-Social-Impact.
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