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How to Launch a Peer-to-Peer Campaign on Classy

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By Jess Woloszyn

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Published December 27, 2021 Reading Time: 14 minutes

Peer-to-peer fundraising boosts donor acquisition and retention rates through the organic power of networking. All you need is the right set of tools to take a strategic approach.

Odds are you already understand what peer-to-peer fundraising is. This post will help you take the next step in developing a roadmap to execute peer-to-peer campaigns based on current donor behaviors and proven best practices. Visual examples and insights from nonprofits mastering the art of peer-to-peer fundraising will guide you to your next breakthrough campaign.

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The ROI of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Use cases for peer-to-peer fundraising

Nonprofits who look to expand their donor network or organically attract new supporters without requiring additional resources to do so will benefit from peer-to-peer fundraising.

Common use cases include:

  • Endurance events like runs, walks, and rides that encourage fundraising ahead of the live event
  • DIY pages that allow supporters to define their “why” behind fundraising for your cause
  • Ambassador fundraising that pulls in your closest supporters and provides them with an outlet to easily collect donations to reach their goals
  • Tributes and memorials that drive support through personal storytelling
  • Giving and awareness campaigns around timely events

Peer-to-peer campaign results on Classy

Every year we look at average donation volume for each campaign type offered on Classy to better understand what’s resonating most with donors. Donation websites that nonprofits often keep live for extended periods (if not all year) brought in the most average donations at $23,828 on average, noted in The State of Modern Philanthropy 2021.

The average peer-to-peer campaign on Classy brings in $22,026 in donations, and four out of five donors who donate to a fundraiser are brand new to an organization. Peer-to-peer functionality is also built into Classy’s registration with fundraising events, which brings in an overage of $23,196 in donations per campaign.

The power of peer-to-peer fundraising is clear as a way to reach new donors and bring in significant donations at various key moments throughout the year.

Best in Classy organization, Dr. Susan Love Foundation, shares:

We utilized a comprehensive approach to engaging audiences that created momentum for our year-end fundraising. Our overall online giving tripled over the prior year, and Walk 3to9, a peer-to-peer benefit event, actually surpassed its pre-COVID total.

Why peer-to-peer campaigns win over donors

Peer-to-peer fundraising completely changes the way donors interact with causes they care about. The interactive fundraising approach serves as a bridge between nonprofits and passionate supporters who want an easy way to take action when and how they’d like. After all, they know their inner circles best.

One of the many reasons why peer-to-peer fundraising is so powerful is that it’s rooted in the human desire to support and help those close to you.

Why America Gives 2021 reveals the top three ways donors hear about new causes to give to:

  1. Word of mouth from friends or family
  2. Direct outreach from an organization or someone speaking on its behalf
  3. Social media

When supporters create fundraising pages inspired by personal stories, their authenticity resonates with more people in a way that motivates immediate action. Peer-to-peer fundraising is a natural way to unlock more generosity.

Rather than simply inviting people to give to your organization, the peer-to-peer approach is a two-way relationship that changes a nonprofit’s ability to interact with its donors in more meaningful ways. It can be a time-bound campaign like fundraising for an endurance event or dedicating fundraising efforts to a birthday. Or, the campaign can live year-round as a steady income stream, like a memorial or creative DIY campaign.

We made the switch to Classy about three years ago when we were ramping up our 5K series, now Step Beyond Celiac, and building up our grassroots fundraising efforts. Classy’s peer-to-peer fundraising functionality, campaign design capability and Salesforce integration have truly helped us meet our fundraising goals.

Mary Tackett

Senior Director of Donor Relations at Beyond Celiac

7 Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign Themes to Consider

1. Seasonal  Campaigns

Unite donors annually around a particular event, memory, or specific period of time that means a lot to your cause. Peer-to-peer campaigns allow you to quickly rally communities around a time-based event like Tunnel to Towers does annually for the memorial of September 11, 2001. The same approach can also be used for educational programs that fundraise to support teachers in the month of May.

Peer-to-peer fundraising is particularly powerful for memorial campaigns because people can show their support for loved ones who are passionate about your cause. The same can be said for remembrance events with a peer-to-peer fundraising element, helping you spark new engagement inside communities to take meaningful action.

Make Your Life Simpler: On Classy, nonprofits can easily create a template of their successful annual peer-to-peer campaigns to continue improving upon year after year without starting from scratch.

2. Peer-to-Peer National Awareness Campaigns

In the same vein of timely campaigns, national awareness days naturally lend themselves to a peer-to-peer fundraising strategy.

Whether you’re engaging teams to fundraise leading up to a 5K on National Breast Cancer Awareness Day, or celebrating National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day by fundraising to provide school lunches to underprivileged students, a peer-to-peer campaign can help you get creative.

The social sharing aspect of peer-to-peer campaigns gives you the opportunity to reach a wider audience and lean into hashtags associated with national awareness days. You can also capitalize on the power of impact blocks to showcase different activities for various donation amounts to help donors understand exactly where their gift is going.

Foodbank-of-Santa-Barbara

3. Competitions

Friendly competition is a fun way to boost support for your peer-to-peer campaign. You can look at competitions on various levels depending on your particular goals and supporter base.

For example, you can get local schools involved in a competition to raise the most for your cause, segmenting teams by classrooms, clubs, or any other grouping that drives the most excitement. You can even expand that further by looking at a state-wide competition to engage local businesses, organizations, and families.

Another popular example we see on the Classy platform is corporate competitions by department, especially as the year-end season approaches and employers are looking for new ways to build engagement with their employees. The small incentive of an extra day off for the team who raises the most goes a long way in bringing people together, especially as remote workforces become normalized post-pandemic.

If you want to go nationwide, why not encourage donors to give on behalf of their state, then show top fundraiser results with a creative visual map? We love how one of our top Best in Classy campaigns did this to generate engagement across the country.

Give-kids-the-world

4. Registration With Fundraising Events

Whether you’re hosting a virtual or in-person event, adding online fundraising capabilities through a registration with fundraising campaign on Classy is always a good idea. If you haven’t heard the exciting news about the introduction of Classy Live just yet, you may want to explore how our new virtual and hybrid event platform syncs directly with your existing Classy campaigns to add an entirely new level of interaction and engagement.

Classy Live’s virtual venue helps you pull in fundraising performance and leaderboards so your donors can focus on their goals at all times.

Allow your event participants to fundraise leading up to the big day, and inspire the people who support them to support you. Even if they can’t physically participate, supporters can contribute to your goals leading up to the event to get involved.

You can easily set a fundraising commitment for supporters to reach in order to register. This way, there’s an incentive for them to get the word out to raise more for your cause. Just be sure to include an option to pay the difference in the event that they aren’t able to reach the fundraising minimum.

Include peer-to-peer functionality in your event to help create an excellent experience and spread the impact further as you collect donations you may have otherwise missed.

city-surf-project

5. DIY Peer-to-Peer Campaigns

Encourage supporters to fundraise on your behalf whenever inspiration hits. DIY peer-to-peer fundraising pages give individuals a landing page of options to select from to create their own fundraising pages in minutes.

Imagine a supporter who wants to gather donations for your cause on  their birthday. You could also picture someone who’s dedicated their new year resolution to providing funding that supports recovery from a challenging disease.

Provide people with a way to take action outside of your planned campaign cycle. DIY peer-to-peer campaigns give your supporters the ability to take action and raise money for your organization whenever they want, capturing donations from individual fundraising pages without any additional work on your part.

These flexible campaigns are also a great way to capture an influx of traffic in response to a timely news event, giving people an immediate answer to take action on a challenge they feel extremely drawn to. If you already have your DIY peer-to-peer page set up on your website, you can avoid deterring supporters who can’t find an instant path to get involved.

DIY Peer-to-Peer Campaigns

6. Annual Giving Day

Identify a specific day within a month or season that’s relevant to your cause, like the founding day of your organization, to run a dedicated campaign.

For example, education-based nonprofits may look to take advantage of the start or end of the school year to run a peer-to-peer giving day campaign. We saw an example from St. Benedict’s Preparatory School for their Best of Benedict’s Giving Day campaign that motivated students, staff, and parents to show their support and school spirit.

Providing a day that donors can look forward to, especially when it falls outside of the year-end giving season, is a great way to consistently engage their support and keep them up to date on your latest initiatives.

vanderbilt-health

7. Corporate Giving

If you’re working with corporate sponsors or looking to turn the passion of a smaller group of supporters into a huge impact for your cause, you may just look to a corporate giving peer-to-peer campaign.

Simply provide your custom campaign  to employers to rally their teams around your mission. It’s a great way to broaden your reach if you’re prepared with the right resources to set fundraisers up for success and incentivize them to reach their goals.

Teaming up with organizations means that momentum is often coming out of a desire to connect with colleagues, have some fun competition, and build relationships with causes their employers care strongly about. You may even get the opportunity to match each donation.

arkansas-childrens-foundation-walmart

How to Set Up Your Peer-to-Peer Campaign on Classy

Classy helps nonprofits create giving experiences that fulfill donors’ passion for making a difference while making it easy for anyone, anywhere to get involved, all in just a few simple steps.

Individuals can access your peer-to-peer campaign and create a fundraising page to begin collecting donations on your behalf. Fundraisers are motivated by their ability to make a real impact, so it’s all about showing them how they can make a difference and providing them with the flexibility to do it in their own way.

Features of a Classy Peer-to-Peer Campaign

Peer-to-Peer Features to Create Compelling Campaigns

  • Campaign templating to scale your campaigns with ease
  • Embedded videos and live streams to tell your story in an engaging way
  • A progress thermometer to bring your goal front and center
  • Customized button copy to create urgency behind your story
  • A free stock image library to bring your storytelling to life
  • Team structures to build connections among donors and increase donations

Peer-to-Peer Features to Convert Visitors Into Donors

  • Mobile-optimized pages and donation forms to capture donations on the go
  • Impact blocks to communicate the exact impact of every donation dollar
  • A fundraiser leaderboard to motivate gifts with a healthy competition
  • An activity wall to easily thank donors with a personal message
  • Recurring gift options to allow supporters to give effortlessly over time
  • Employer donation match options to double the impact of each gift
  • Suggested donation amounts to encourage larger gifts
  • Frequently asked questions box to keep donors confident in their actions
  • Flexible payment processing to avoid an abandoned donation

Peer-to-Peer Features to Empower Wide-Reach Fundraising

  • Fundraising commitments to have each fundraiser commit to a predetermined amount that creates loyalty, motivates sharing, and ensures the individual will cover the difference if they aren’t able to hit their goal
  • Social sharing to give fundraisers an easy way to share with their family and friends on platforms they visit daily, or through a Classy for Facebook integration
  • Automated milestone emails to congratulate fundraisers on hitting certain goals and motivate them to continue
  • Designated team captains to keep groups of fundraisers on track and encouraged

In 2020, we migrated more forms to the user-friendly Classy platform, allowing us to host more online events, reach out to more friends via peer-to-peer pages, leverage matching gifts in more campaigns, and create more custom donation forms.

Leading YoY Donation Volume Increase organization

Cedars Sinai

Steps to Set Up Your Peer-to-Peer Campaign on Classy

  1. Select Campaigns in your account menu
  2. Select Create New Campaign
  3. Select Peer-to-Peer

Get started by filling out your campaign details in the form that appears. If you aren’t sure what to enter, use a placeholder. You can always edit this information later.

After you enter your campaign information, set up the basic design of your pages to reflect your brand and mission. Below, we will break down exactly how to bring your Classy peer-to-peer campaign to life to offer a unique, seamless experience for your supporters.

How to Craft a Stellar Peer-to-Peer Campaign on Classy

Campaign Page

Hero Block

Your hero block is your opportunity to grab donors’ attention.

food-bank-of-south-jersey

The hero block takes center stage on your campaign’s landing page. Select the part of the page you want to edit, and your design tools will appear automatically. Here, you can edit your page’s headline and background.

You’ll have the option to either upload a custom image to use as your headline or upload a background image for your hero block and use standard text as your headline. This block is also where you can edit the progress bar and customize your donation button.

Create a compelling hero block that greets new and existing supporters with a sense of community around your cause.

Design Tips: To use a logo or image for your headline, upload a photo of your choice. We recommend using headline images when possible, even if they are simply a line of text with a transparent background. For best quality, use a png image file with a transparent background.

Content Blocks

Content blocks help you tell your story and communicate key information.

Content Blocks

Use the About block to tell the story of your cause. Open your design tools by selecting the text in your preview, and use them to edit your content or change the background.

Start by replacing all default language with customized messaging. Include key information that gives donors the details they need to feel confident in making a donation decision. Bring in testimonials to create an emotional connection with potential supporters that encourages them to give or get involved with your mission. Incorporating stats to support the urgency of your ask is another great tactic (e.g., 100,000 children go to sleep hungry every night).

Impact Blocks

Impact blocks connect donor actions with clear value for your cause.

dr-susan-love-foundation-for-breast-cancer-research

Impact blocks are a great way to show supporters exactly how their donations can drive your mission forward. Select Impact Levels in the preview to open your design tools. Change the images, donation amounts, and descriptions that appear in your impact blocks to communicate the tangible value each gift offers to your beneficiaries.

For example, “$50 gives 5 children a book to read for the summer” can motivate a donor to give that particular amount as opposed to stopping at $35. They can see the clear benefit of that gift size and feel connected to what it will do as a result.

Arrange impact blocks from the highest to lowest contribution and describe what each amount raised can accomplish. Bring in graphics that connect people to your cause in a way that words can’t. Stick to four blocks or less to ensure your page is optimized for mobile.

Leaderboard

Your leaderboard can foster friendly competition. 

arkansas-children's-foundation-walmart

Showcase your top teams or individuals on your landing page to provide donors a reason to periodically check-in. This is a great way to give recognition to supporters and encourage friendly competition.

You can also build a search bar to make it easier for visitors to find a particular individual or group to support. We recommend you turn this feature off using the campaign designer until you’ve achieved roughly one-third of your goal.

Team or Individual Fundraising Pages

Collect support from your donors’ networks and share their unique stories about why your cause matters.

give-kids-the-world-fundraising-page

Encourage supporters who choose to fundraise on behalf of your organization to share their own unique stories on their fundraising page. Pre-set the options your supporters can choose from when they create their pages to guide them through the process. Prompt each fundraiser to add their picture, customize the initial story to reflect their personal narrative, and post updates to keep their donors engaged.

Pro tip: Don’t allow fundraisers to change the background image or colors on their page—this keeps your branding consistent.

  • Select the Pages tab
  • Select Team Page or Fundraiser Page
  • Select Design to begin customizing your page

Create pages for your fundraisers that match your overall campaign branding in just a few simple steps. Offer templated messaging about your campaign goals for fundraisers to leverage in their communications. Encourage each individual or team to add their story as well, and take advantage of Classy’s built-in sharing options to expand your reach.

Tips for Your Team and Fundraiser Page:

  1. For the best quality cover photo, use a 1400 x 460 px image. If you added a background image to your landing page, it will appear here as well. You can change the cover photo by uploading another image.
  2. For Default Photo, we recommend images with a relevant theme or color, or one that features multiple people.
  3. The Default Story Title and Story offer supporters the opportunity to explain to their peers why they are fundraising. This gives people a better understanding of the good work your organization does and sets a high standard across all fundraising pages.

Donation Page

Your donation page is where you’ll pull in interested supporters and guide them seamlessly through the checkout process to complete their donation.

Sacramento-Food-Bank-and-family-services

Donation pages are straightforward checkout forms where people can submit donations. The most common way to use a donation page is to link it from your website’s donation button. They are also great to include in emails or social media posts.

Fill out your campaign details in the form that appears. If you aren’t sure what to enter, use a placeholder. You can always edit this information later.

Set Up Donation Options

Customize your donation amount and donation frequency options in the donation page set up.  Choose which frequencies you want to offer your donors from Classy’s eight options—one-time, daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly (every three months), semiannually (every six months), and yearly (once a year). Set one option as the default to drive conversion.

Then define the donation amounts that will appear for your donors. We recommend changing these to reflect your organization’s average donation size, plus stretch goals. Matching your impact block donation amounts to the amounts you place on your donation page will help your donors take action when it matters.

Donation Customization Tip: Consider adding one amount lower than your average donation, one amount a bit higher than average, and one amount two times higher than average. Then, set your default to the amount that’s a bit higher than average to encourage donors to give more.

Classy also offers Classy Mode, the ability to offer your donors the option to cover fees, ensuring 100 percent of their intended donation goes to the cause.

85% of donors on Classy cover the processing fees when the opportunity is auto-selected and enabled by default in the checkout flow.

Why America Gives 2021 shows that being able to cover fees for the organization so 100% of the intended donation goes to the cause is a top priority for donors.

Thank You Page

Your thank you page is a platform for relationship building with donors, especially as new supporters join your community through a peer’s fundraising page. 

First and foremost, be sure to thank each donor with a genuine message of gratitude.

Clearly communicate how each donors’ gift adds value and encourage them to continue spreading the word with more friends and family to achieve their goals.

Be sure to include secondary calls to action to fuel donors’ giving momentum. Let them know about other campaigns, events, recurring giving options, and volunteer opportunities you have going on and how they can get involved.

Check out peer-to-peer campaigns that are making a splash on Classy right now are featured among our top 50 campaigns in the Best in Classy. Look to these campaigns for inspiration on how to maximize your return on the Classy giving platform and ultimately raise more for your mission.

Explore Every Campaign Possibility on the Classy Giving Platform

Classy is a giving platform trusted by over 6,000 of the world’s top nonprofits, enabling them to connect with supporters through online fundraising. Classy allows you to make the supporter journey more relevant, engaging, and intuitive. Meet supporters where they are and use the same technologies that consumers interact with every day.

Discover how Classy can help you encourage more people to give, which means more funding to advance and sustain your mission.

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