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How to Activate Volunteers to Become Your Next Peer-to-Peer Fundraisers


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Published December 15, 2023 Reading Time: 7 minutes

Your volunteers are an extension of your nonprofit organization. These individuals dedicate their time and passion to your cause without expectation of anything in return and become your most loyal supporters. 

That’s why we’re sharing how to mobilize and empower this activated group of new and returning volunteers to grow their impact even further as peer-to-peer fundraisers

Get ready to learn:

  • Where to identify and source volunteers eager to make a bigger impact
  • How to expand your volunteer opportunities to virtual audiences
  • How to convert volunteers into peer-to-peer fundraisers

What Makes a Great Fundraiser?

The short answer is that anyone can be a great peer-to-peer fundraiser with the right support, which we’ll touch on later. Let’s start by defining your ideal target audience and thinking about ways to spark vital conversations with these individuals.

Volunteers to tap for peer-to-peer fundraising are:

  • Passionate about your cause: Volunteers who dedicate their time to fulfilling your mission are likely ready and willing to bring that sentiment to their peer-to-peer fundraising pages. Anyone with a personal story or firsthand experience with your work can speak about your organization’s impact in a more tangible way, touching on their favorite volunteer moments or times they directly impacted a beneficiary. Doing so adds a layer of trust that compels people to give, knowing they’re helping their peers support a worthwhile cause.
  • Loyal to your organization: Volunteers take the time to build and nurture strong relationships with your staff and other volunteers, making them more likely to want to contribute additional time to your peer-to-peer fundraising efforts. Maximize the loyalty of these supporters in creative ways to fund your goals.
  • Knowledgeable about your mission: Volunteers know what you do, how you accomplish it, and what impact you make. This makes them well positioned to advocate for your cause online or in person and attract new audiences of donors through a peer-to-peer campaign.

Where Do You Find Volunteers Ready for More Impact?

After considering your volunteer base through this lens, you may have a long list of individuals you’re ready to engage with about upcoming peer-to-peer fundraising opportunities. On the other hand, you might be in the midst of managing volunteer burnout and lower retention rates and realize your volunteer base isn’t as engaged as it once was. 

Either way, there’s a benefit in growing your community of loyal supporters with a fresh volunteer recruitment process.

Explore New Generations of Social-Savvy Volunteers 

College-aged students are a great cohort to approach with meaningful volunteer opportunities like peer-to-peer fundraising and community service. 

In fact, Classy’s The Nonprofit’s Guide to Engaging Gen Z found that 79% of young people are likely to donate to a friend, co-worker, or family member fundraising for a charitable organization. That makes them a great group to introduce to volunteer work, knowing they’ll likely get their communities involved through future peer-to-peer campaigns.

Read Next: How to Engage Gen Z Donors

When approaching students specifically, try asking for volunteer commitments on a semester-based timeline instead of annually or biannually. This type of commitment aligns more with students’ schedules. 

You can even target your outreach to specific education departments. For example, if you need volunteers who speak Spanish, focus your recruitment efforts within the Spanish department. Just be sure to contact advisors or department career centers to post volunteer opportunities for students. 

Also, consider inquiring about internship credits or volunteer requirements for majors that align with the specific skills you desire.

Don’t Discount the Power of LinkedIn for Volunteers

It’s not uncommon for people who currently volunteer or have done so in the past to list the experience on their LinkedIn profiles. 

Search for people in your network or donor database on LinkedIn to see if they have prior volunteer or work experience that aligns with your nonprofit. If you find a potential match, contact them directly via the site if you’re connected, or use the contact information you have on file to see if they’d like to learn more about your opportunity.

You can also use LinkedIn for Nonprofits to build brand awareness and get your message to the right people. LinkedIn for Nonprofits allows for sponsored messaging, content, and dynamic advertising, which can help elevate your voice in the industry and distribute promotions for long-term volunteer opportunities.

Read Next: The Complete Checklist to LinkedIn for Nonprofits

Introduce New Communities to Your Cause Online

While a volunteer program may traditionally refer to getting people to lend their time to your cause in person, the modern world introduces more ways to welcome support without geographical boundaries. Social media, online advocacy, and hybrid events bring you closer to new audiences of volunteers online. This is a great time to think about creating volunteer options, such as an online workshop to create care packages or a virtual meetup to provide content support for an event. You can share these easily through marketing channels like social media to appeal to those passionate about the difference you’re making.

When you establish a strong volunteer network nationwide or globally, you can tap into that community to engage for an even larger impact, such as fundraising. Creating an online fundraising page is another form of volunteering that can happen anywhere, with little time commitment. When you present your online audience with the opportunity to bring in a substantial revenue stream in addition to their volunteer efforts, you might be surprised at the impact they can make. 

How to Convert Volunteers to Peer-to-Peer Fundraisers

1. Make a Strong Impression During the Onboarding Process

As volunteers begin onboarding and training, tap into their initial enthusiasm. Emphasize their crucial role as mission ambassadors and integral team members. Then, illuminate the immediate impact they’ll make and the intrinsic rewards they’ll gain.

You can use this opportunity to share how peer-to-peer fundraising helps your organization achieve the goals you’ve set for the year. Pair that with a tour of your office or a chance to interact with beneficiaries or staff to deepen their trust and comfort within your organization. 

Even if a volunteer’s initial experience isn’t enough to inspire recurring visits, you’re planting a seed that may grow and motivate a return.

Quick Tip: Consider creating an online tour for virtual volunteers to strengthen relationships. If your volunteers are local, invite them to tour your office with their colleagues, friends, and family for greater impact and potential for fundraising success.

2. Give Volunteers the Easiest Way to Get Started

Creating a peer-to-peer fundraising page should be as simple and straightforward as possible. With a short setup time and much potential reward, it’s more likely that volunteers will seize the opportunity. 

With the right peer-to-peer fundraising software, you can create a branded donation page ready for volunteers to take and personalize with a few clicks. 

Here are a few ways to simplify the process for new fundraisers:

  • Set up a fundraising page template for people to duplicate and personalize. 
  • Guide personal goal setting and storytelling techniques.
  • Encourage fundraisers to add images and videos that make it feel personal, with examples to lead the way.
  • Demonstrate how to share their pages through social media. 
  • Distribute a fundraiser toolkit and resources that help them raise more. 
  • Incorporate various payment options into your campaign page template for a higher chance of converting.

Read Next: 9 Tips to Level Up Your Peer-to-Peer Campaign

3. Bring Even More Engagement with Fundraising at Events

Your volunteers often dedicate their time to attending and working the events you host. Why not encourage them to fundraise for the events too? 

For volunteers who can’t make the event in person, peer-to-peer fundraising is an alternative way for them to show their support. You could offer this option via email leading up to the event or in a post-event recap message for those who couldn’t make it. As volunteers see the fundraising thermometer move closer to your event’s overall goal, they’re reminded why they dedicate their time to your cause and how their presence impacts your mission’s fulfillment. 

Lean into the pride they experience in those moments by presenting peer-to-peer fundraising as a way to extend that satisfying feeling and do more good for your cause.

4. Present Tailored Fundraising Opportunities 

Impersonal mass communications can deter anyone from taking action, especially when a group of volunteers has grown closer to your cause than most. 

Personalization is key as you consider which forms of peer-to-peer fundraising best align with volunteers’ passions. To segment your list appropriately, evaluate your donor base in a customer relationship management platform or volunteer management system.

Pitch fundraising opportunities by volunteer segments such as:

  • Initiative: Appeal to their interests and ask volunteers who have opted for a specific initiative or volunteer position to fundraise for that program.
  • Schedule: Take note often when someone is more available or open to volunteer hours. Then, be intentional with the peer-to-peer volunteer and fundraising opportunities you present to ensure they align with that person’s preferences.  
  • Communication method: Determine which communications channels your volunteers prefer to improve your response rates.
  • Tenure: Get creative with volunteer outreach around their anniversary with your organization, or use their time helping your organization as a natural segue to become a fundraiser.
  • Demographics: Align and personalize the fundraising opportunities you present to volunteers based on their location, income levels, and employment status.

5. Share Testimonials from Other Fundraisers

A strong testimonial can greatly increase your number of fundraisers, especially if it comes from someone who has spent ample time working with your organization and can speak to the positive experience. 

Supporters who have fundraised before are the perfect candidates to provide a short testimonial about their experience and tap into the emotional and intrinsic values of doing so. 

One way to get a quick yet meaningful testimonial from your fundraisers is to send an online survey or mini poll on social media right after a successful campaign. An email would work, too. Their experience will be top of mind, and their positive memories will remain fresh. 

6. Celebrate Loyalty

Celebrating volunteers’ incredible work is a wonderful motivator. 

Find new ways to highlight impacted volunteers to showcase how meaningful it is. This can also entice them to continue to fundraise in addition to their volunteer efforts and possibly gain interest from others curious to start.

While you could go big with these celebrations and incentives, you can also consider the simple act of featuring someone or a group of people on your social media channels with a personal message of appreciation. A physical thank you letter from your staff or beneficiaries can also go a long way to building a lasting relationship. 

Turn Volunteer Passion into Fundraising Fuel

Peer-to-peer fundraising is about one individual’s potential to reach many community members. It takes a level of commitment and passion that your volunteers innately possess, so bringing them in as fundraisers who expand the visibility of your campaigns feels like a natural progression. 

With so many ways to tap into your volunteer base, consider what resonates most meaningfully with them. Use these tips to explore the doors that can open when you present your loyal supporters with a simple and straightforward way to take action between volunteer opportunities.

Copy Editor: Ayanna Julien

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