Ignite Donor Passion With Inspiration From Tunnel to Towers’ Time-Based Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign

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By Jess Woloszyn
tunnel-to-towers-peer-to-peer-fundraising
Published September 6, 2021
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Each month, we invite you to get inspired by a unique and timely campaign that shows exactly how to use the Classy fundraising platform to the fullest.   

September marks the 20th Anniversary of the Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk NYC, one of the Foundation’s many events that honor the fallen of September 11, 2001. The marquee event is one of the top 5K runs in America, with sustained growth from 2002 when it started with 1,500 people. 

Tunnel to Towers unlocks the passion of its loyal donor base by allowing not only event participants but anyone passionate about the cause to get involved through simple and timely peer-to-peer fundraising. As a result, the organization unites communities everywhere to honor and recognize the events of a day we will NEVER FORGET.

Meet the Tunnel to Towers Foundation

Mission: The Tunnel to Towers Foundation is dedicated to honoring the sacrifice of FDNY Firefighter Stephen Siller, who laid down his life to save others on September 11, 2001. For 20 years the Foundation has supported our nation’s first responders and veterans by providing these heroes and the families they leave behind with mortgage-free homes.

Cause Sector: Human Services

Employee Count: 100

Location: Staten Island, NY

Years on Classy: 1

Connect with Tunnel To Towers on Instagram

The Value of a Time-Based Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Model

Peer-to-peer campaigns provide a flexible fundraising experience for today’s donors so they can easily rally their communities around a nonprofit’s cause. When you add the element of a time-based event, such as the memorial of September 11th, 2001, there’s unlimited potential to ignite a fire within supporters and their communities. 

Individuals and teams can set up fundraising pages on Classy and begin collecting donations in just minutes, based on their unique tie to the cause. The time-based window set forth by Tunnel to Towers helps drive immediate action from a wider audience of supporters.

Our data shows that four out of every five donors who donate to a Classy fundraising page are first-time supporters.

See Memorable, Time-Based Peer-to-Peer Fundraising in Action

Get inspired as we break down the 20th anniversary of the Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk NYC campaign on Classy into actionable steps you can apply right away.

How Classy’s Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Tools Brought a Vision to Life

Tunnel to Towers trusts Classy’s giving experience platform to mobilize donors with actionable fundraising campaigns. Here’s a deeper look at this peer-to-peer event example:

Campaign Goal: Symbolize Stephen Siller’s final footsteps from the foot of the Battery Tunnel to the Twin Towers and pay homage to the 343 FDNY firefighters, 71 law enforcement officers, and thousands of civilians who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. Peer-to-peer fundraising for this annual 5K event helps inspire a larger community to support programs benefiting first responders and catastrophically injured service members.

Method: Event participants and sponsors create individual, team, or corporate fundraising pages in seconds that are readily available on a mobile device to make fundraising simple anywhere. Fundraisers build their pages around their personal stories and receive comprehensive toolkits to support them every step of the way.

Tools to Make It Happen: When Tunnel to Towers sets up a peer-to-peer campaign in Classy, fundraising pages are automatically created for those who choose to support the cause in a bigger way. 

Classy’s peer-to-peer campaigns provide supporters with an easy way to add photos, videos, and blog-style updates to their pages, along with simple social media sharing buttons. Each fundraising page connects back to the parent campaign page where donors can see a live leaderboard and activity wall.

As supporters enter Tunnel to Towers’ campaign from various fundraiser pages, they land on a mobile-optimized donation form with the option to give a one-time or monthly gift. With flexible payment options like credit cards or bank transfers, donors receive a frictionless checkout experience. They can even select to cover the processing fees as part of their donation.

Takeaways for Your Own Time-Based Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign

1. Create meaningful fundraising experiences

A campaign built around a cause that welcomes anyone to support is the key to empowering peer-to-peer fundraising. It’s not enough to simply put up a campaign page. 

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. Include visuals and text to show fundraisers how to make the experience their own.

At the same time, you want to show the impact that each individual fundraising page has on the larger campaign. Classy connects each page to your main fundraising landing page where visitors can see a live leaderboard and search for teams or individuals to support.

Consider taking advantage of Classy’s Activity Wall feature to personally thank each donor on your main landing page for an added touch, or tapping into our Classy for Facebook integration to expand the reach of peer-to-peer fundraising on social.

2. Remove fundraising barriers

What we loved about Tunnel to Towers’ approach was the care they put into setting any fundraiser up for success regardless of their geographic location. 

Consider how you can use the concept of a  peer-to-peer fundraising guide to thoughtfully inform your fundraisers, such as:

  • An event overview to share with potential donors
  • An explanation of how fundraising makes a difference to the cause
  • Specific scenarios of what the impact of donations looks like
  • Fundraising incentives
  • Strategies to be successful when fundraising
  • Email templates 
  • Tips on how to customize your fundraising page
  • Social media assets and best practices

3. Make the donation process simple and effective

When you have people fundraising on your behalf, make sure your donation page offers the simplest path to give for new donors. 

Keep these simple aspects in mind to elevate your donation page:

  • Include both a one-time and recurring gift option
  • Offer suggested donation amounts to choose from
  • Include an employer donation match option 
  • Build in a search bar to easily find and credit donations to specific fundraisers or teams
  • Keep donor information fields shorter and only require information you need
  • Allow people to donate directly from their bank account or credit card 
  • Add a frequently asked questions box to avoid donors abandoning the checkout process

4. Tap into corporate support with a donation match

Tunnel to Towers leverages the Classy and Double the Donation integration to increase the impact of each gift. Each donation checkout page and thank you page features a matched gift request for donors to tap into the generosity of their employers.

Matching allows fundraisers to increase their totals, achieve their goals, and make more of an impact. Double the Donation helps Tunnel to Towers increase fundraising from corporate employee matching gifts. This is especially important for an event where corporate support is so prevalent, shown by the top fundraising team for the campaign, Team GMC NYC 2021.

After the campaign is complete, we recommend maintaining regular communication with corporate partners to nurture the relationship and keep them engaged for future campaigns.

Fuel Supporter Passion Through Peer-to-Peer

Give your community a brand new way to support your cause with an evergreen peer-to-peer campaign or one that aligns to a key moment for your cause. Be sure to check back next month for another campaign example to keep your fundraising fresh and inspired by new ideas. 

Until then, explore our free peer-to-peer fundraising resources for more ways to expand your reach, amplify your impact, and raise more for your mission:

checklists for fundraising campaigns

Checklists for Crowdfunding, Peer-to-Peer, and Event Fundraising Campaigns

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