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Allison Gauss

Getting Creative with Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Peer-to-peer fundraising expands your reach, raises more money, and gains new supporters for your organization across the board. Instead of only asking your core supporters to donate, you ask them to reach out to their network of friends and family to give. This way, one supporter can garner several donations or tell many friends about your organization’s cause and work.

We’ve seen a lot of people create a personal page and fundraise for their birthday or in the weeks leading up to an athletic event like a walk/run, but there are so many additional creative ways to incorporate peer-to-peer fundraising into your campaigns.

After reading these five underrated approaches to P2P fundraising, you might find the inspiration for your next campaign.

1. Family Fundraising

Philanthropy and charity can be a great way to bring families together. Parents share the importance of philanthropy and children get the chance to make a difference. Why not fundraise together for your favorite nonprofit or cause?

This is an especially appealing option during the holidays, when people are reflecting on all they have to be thankful for. Fundraising for others can be a counterbalance to the expectation of gift giving and other material aspects of the holiday season. Beyond the nuclear family, you can also use peer-to-peer fundraising to bring different branches of a family together in the weeks leading up to a family reunion or as a way to connect loved ones that live far away from one another.

In any context, families can create a single fundraising page, or individual members can create personal pages as part of a fundraising team. Because families may have a lot of friends in common, each member will have to get creative about who else they can reach out to beyond parents or grandparents. This helps spread your nonprofit’s cause far beyond supporters’ most immediate social circles. Just remember to keep the competition friendly!

2. Office Challenge/Contest

Fundraising in addition to working a 9-5 job can be really difficult for some groups of supporters; people can fall into a rut and teams can lose their enthusiasm for a cause. But more and more companies are realizing the importance of employee happiness. Along with fantasy football leagues and potlucks, however, peer-to-peer fundraising for a good cause can bring an element of fun and philanthropy to any office.

When launching a workplace campaign, it is important to get management on board. They can promote the fundraiser and make their own pages to lead by example. And like a family fundraiser, you can incorporate competition, either internally or externally, to motivate supporters. Feeding America San Diego’s Food from the Bar campaign is a great example. This year, 16 different law firms and organizations competed to collect the most food, donations, and volunteer hours. Altogether, they provided an estimated 249,000 meals for San Diegans in need.

A workplace fundraiser can be a fun team-building experience that shows the compassion within your company.

3. Dinner for Donors

One way for an individual fundraiser to mobilize their network to donate to your cause is to appeal to their taste buds. Fundraisers with a little skill in the kitchen can offer a delicious dinner party for friends who give a certain amount ($50 or whatever makes sense for your network). This is the time to dust off grandma’s recipe book and pull out all the culinary stops.

The key to success is just getting the first couple of people to commit. You can reach out to a few people who you think will say yes and make sure they make their donation early on. Once people see their friends signing up, the promise of a home-cooked meal and great company will motivate them to give.

Set a clear deadline for the campaign, which will culminate at the specific date and time of the dinner party. Break out the good china and invite your friends to a dinner that tastes good and does good.

4. Fundraise for a Very Specific Need

A concrete goal is a lot easier to work toward than a vague notion. It’s one thing to say “I want to be a better athlete,” but it’s another to say “I want to lower my 1 mile run record by 30 seconds.” More and more, donors want to know what their money is supporting. This is why peer-to-peer fundraising for a specific object or tool can be so effective.

National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative used the power of concrete goals to power their Build a Boma campaign. A boma is an enclosure that can help protect livestock from being killed by lions. By protecting the local population’s livestock, the boma reduces the number of retaliation killings of lions. Because this important tool costs only $500, National Geographic asked fundraisers to Build a Boma. The campaign has already funded more than 100 livestock enclosures, preventing clashes between people and lions.

This kind of campaign can be a great way to acquire resources you have needed but could never find the money for. Does your office need a new computer? Does your after-school program need a van for field trips? These defined, concrete goals create a sense of distinct purpose and accomplishment for fundraisers.

5. Calling All Artists!

Artists can use their passion and skills to fundraise by rewarding donors with some new creation. For example, one young musician kicked off his fundraiser by promising that if you donated, he would cover a song of your choice.

Someone who likes to design jewelry could create a custom piece for each donor. Whether it’s a six-year-old who works in crayon, a weekend warrior, or even a professional, artists can offer a unique way to get an audience’s attention and motivate them to give. When approaching fundraisers, however, be sure to respect the time and effort they put into their work. No one is going to be able to paint a mural for every individual donor. Think of ways to make the rewards personal but manageable.

Fundraising can be hard work, but it can also be a lot of fun. If you want to shake up your next campaign, try one of these ideas or you can come up with a new way to use peer-to-peer fundraising. Let us know in the comments if you have another creative idea!

33% of All Online Donations Are Made in December

Image Credit: Jacob Valerio

  • Eliejulz

    Great blog post – Incidentally , if you has been needing to merge two images , my friend used a service here

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