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The Power of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising and Its Impact on Next-Gen Giving

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Published March 12, 2024 Reading Time: 8 minutes

Community is the heartbeat of modern philanthropy, and peer-to-peer fundraising is a powerful way to cultivate it on a large scale. 

After nearly 20 years of innovation, nonprofit feedback, donor research, and combined philanthropic learnings with GoFundMe, Classy recognizes the immense power of peer-to-peer fundraising and its enduring influence on the new era of giving. So how exactly is peer-to-peer fundraising changing, and what can your team do to unleash communities that stay and grow with you?

Keep reading to feel confident about:

  • How effective peer-to-peer fundraising can be for nonprofits
  • How to realize the value of community in online fundraising
  • What’s ahead for the next generation of peer-to-peer fundraising
  • How to accelerate your peer-to-peer fundraising impact

What Is Peer-to-Peer Fundraising?

Peer-to-peer fundraising is a multitiered approach to crowdfunding where individuals create personal fundraising pages to raise money on a nonprofit organization’s behalf. Each fundraiser sets a goal and calls on their community to help them achieve it. 

How Effective Is Peer-to-Peer Fundraising?

Peer-to-peer fundraising has become increasingly crucial in recent years. When donor acquisition began to slow in 2020, nonprofits broadened their reach by inspiring supporters to champion their causes.  

Classy platform data shows that 80% of people who donate to a peer-to-peer campaign on Classy are brand new to the organization

Peer-to-peer campaigns reach people through the sources they trust most: their close circles and community members. This helps dedicated supporters take action in a big way without bearing the financial impact alone. 

Amid ongoing economic fluctuations, increasing interest rates, and daunting cost-of-living expenses, this is a more realistic action for supporters to take.

Here’s a look at the results nonprofits experience with Classy’s peer-to-peer fundraising platform:

Read More Success Stories

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising and the Next Generation of Donors

Younger donors want to make a difference and are eager to spread the word. Classy’s Why America Gives report found that next-gen donors (Gen Z + Millennials) are 2.7 times more likely to host an individual fundraising page for an organization and 3 times more likely to advocate than traditional donors

Peer-to-peer fundraising effectively taps into their growing passion with a simple yet impactful way to demonstrate their desired scale of impact.

We used Classy’s peer-to-peer tool for a month-long campaign in which our local supporters could solicit their friends and family in support of our program. They just clicked on the site, signed up, launched their pages, and off they went. It was also an incredible way to galvanize support for the program from our local Millennial and Gen Z supporters.

Lauren Arana

Assistant Vice President of Development at Brooklyn Public Library

The Role of Community in Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Success

Giving happens where community thrives. A strong community will directly impact the success of donor acquisition, fundraising, and relationship-building, leading to lasting donor retention. Connection in the new era of giving reflects how donors can participate in charitable behavior from anywhere, anytime.

Meeting the moment with a fundraising campaign that extends your reach globally can unite larger communities around a common mission. Supporters may take action to help a friend, peer, or family member initially but stay for a deeper connection to a community that works to achieve something much greater.

Defining Next-Gen Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Community fundraising started when the world was different, and nonprofits relied on personal and in-person relationship-building within their local communities to engage potential donors. 

The coordination, infrequent touchpoints, and lack of data intelligence to tailor interactions made scaled connections nearly impossible. That often led to complicated donation processes, lapsed donors, and retention nightmares.

We’ve come a long way since then.

There’s a Shift at Play

According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, the United States is experiencing an overall decline in the trust of nonprofits. Consumers now trust for-profit businesses more than nonprofit organizations.¹

Additionally, total giving in 2022 decreased by 3.4% (10.5% after adjusting for inflation), influenced by market volatility and economic uncertainty.²

Moving forward, relationships have to be at the forefront of fundraising. When people see their values in your organization, they’re more likely to continue supporting as an extension of their identity. Retention relies on thoughtful engagement that starts with inspiring people to advocate on your behalf.

Modern nonprofits have the technology, predictive insights, and intentional storytelling skills to invite donors into a personalized journey from the start without sacrificing scalability. How will you bring that to life at your organization?

What This Means for Nonprofits 

It’s time to shift your approach to community fundraising and explore new ways to build and foster community. Nonprofits must feel confident using tools and data insights to make targeted decisions that make experiences feel personal.

Classy and GoFundMe are home to a collective of 150 million people expressing their generosity, which shows us how people respond to opportunities to come together for charitable giving. 

Lean into tools ready to help you mobilize community-driven experiences at scale and tell your story on a broader stage. 

Explore Next-Gen Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Tools

Evolving Peer-to-Peer Fundraising in 2024 and Beyond

It’s time to meet the moment. Anyone can donate or shop from anywhere, artificial intelligence is everywhere, influencers drive decisions, and mobile-first experiences are ubiquitous in business. 

As we look to 2024 and beyond, nonprofits must mirror the user experience of today’s popular apps and services to mobilize their community around a cause. 

With the right tools and support, granting fundraisers the freedom to own their advocacy efforts can dramatically increase impact. Trust they’ll take your dynamic fundraising pages and cultivate new donations among the communities they know best. 

8 Ways to Accelerate Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Impact

Below, you’ll see tangible ways to take action for your next peer-to-peer fundraising campaign with evolution for the next generation in mind. 

1. Start with Known Supporters

Reaching your peer-to-peer campaign goal starts with the initial momentum that only a core group of supporters and evangelists can create. Those first few donations and participants showcase the true sense of community surrounding your campaign as it reaches more new donors.

Make it easy for anyone to fundraise by providing out-of-the-box, self-serve peer-to-peer tools in Classy. That initial spark of high energy and passion can naturally draw in like-minded fundraisers who will reach more donors on your behalf. 

How to Activate Volunteers to Become Your Next Fundraisers

2. Understand Your Fundraisers

Personalization is nonnegotiable. The small shift to meaningful outreach with fundraisers can be the difference between someone feeling ready to get involved or feeling like another donor on your massive email list. 

Your donor management or customer relationship management (CRM) tools can make it much easier to personalize outreach at scale. Understanding who your fundraisers are, where to reach them, and what motivates them will help your messages resonate and inspire action.

The beautiful thing about Classy is that we can build the type of donation experience that our supporters want, as well as our fundraisers, who are like mini marketers for our brand.

Kathryn Baccash

Head of Communications and Digital Marketing at TWLOHA

How Donor Management Scales Peer-to-Peer Efforts

3. Meet Fundraisers Where They Are Today  

We talked about the effectiveness nonprofits already see from peer-to-peer fundraising, but what about the communities they haven’t yet engaged? 

Individuals who directly donate to others through GoFundMe may be great supporters to tap for a fundraiser organized by their peers on a nonprofit’s behalf. Also, individuals who start GoFundMe campaigns might enjoy starting a campaign page for a nonprofit cause that aligns with their personal values. 

Peer-to-peer fundraising is a way of empowering the community. It invigorates them and keeps the support accessible to everyone.

Melynda Weaver

Director of Development at wear blue: run to remember

As Classy and GoFundMe’s collaboration evolves, we’ll further enhance our understanding of individual and nonprofit giving, providing fundraisers with valuable insights to expand their supporter bases.

4. Help Fundraisers Reach More to Raise More

The initial support you offer fundraisers will allow them to take the reins on your peer-to-peer efforts. Focus on helping them feel confident to craft a message, share it authentically, and establish trust between their communities and your cause.

Successful fundraising best practices:

  • Provide a fundraiser’s toolkit
  • Share email templates and sample posts for social fundraising
  • Offer design resources for personal fundraising pages
  • Supply statistics and testimonials that further emphasize your mission
  • Grant access to video tutorials, webinars, and best practices from successful fundraisers
  • Include engaging graphics to share with social networks in seconds
  • Offer incentives for top fundraisers (like T-shirts or event access)

Think about hosting these resources on a dedicated webpage, like the National Breast Cancer Foundation did, or reach out at the start of a new peer-to-peer campaign to help them develop a fundraising strategy for success. 

peer-to-peer peer-to-peer

5. Understand the Advantages of Timing

It’s crucial to time your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign around when people are most likely to take action. Your nonprofit has two main types of peer-to-peer campaigns to leverage:

  • Rolling or year-round campaigns allow supporters to start a fundraiser whenever they want. Fundraisers can host donation pages around a life event, like a birthday, or get creative to respond to a heightened passion for making a difference.
  • Time-based campaigns occur within a specific time frame, generally 6-8 weeks. They’re usually fixed around a particular theme and motivate advocates and their donors with a sense of urgency to reach fundraising goals within a shorter period. 

Classy’s State of Modern Philanthropy report found that time-based campaigns with a peer-to-peer element on Classy raised 3.8 times more than all other time-based campaigns combined.

To maximize your potential, consider running both simultaneously. Your year-round campaigns can offer a DIY fundraising component to capture every moment of generosity. In contrast, time-based campaigns rally communities around current events or build momentum on bigger giving days

How to Set Up Your DIY Fundraising Page

6. Enhance Team Fundraising

Communities thrive on team-building, and peer-to-peer fundraising can provide a platform to foster this spirit. In fact, Why America Gives found that next-gen donors are 1.5 times as likely to become aware of causes through their co-workers compared to traditional donors.

Empower individuals to recruit help by creating team fundraising pages. Each team member creates a page to share their personal connection, contributing to the team’s goal. A sense of friendly competition on the leaderboards and fundraising thermometers can reach more people and bring in higher fundraising totals. 

Classy has several activity tracking and gamification integrations to help you take team fundraising to the next level, such as Nuclavis, a Classy partner.

Get to Know More Classy Partners

7. Don’t Overlook Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Events 

Every event is an opportunity to build deeper relationships with fundraisers and network with community members in a new way. Innovative event registration software for nonprofits helps you invite attendees to set up peer-to-peer fundraising pages in addition to (or instead of) a registration fee. 

You can prompt supporters to raise a specific amount before the event to participate. Successful nonprofits also use peer-to-peer events for informal gatherings, like races or walk-a-thons, and more formal gatherings, like a gala fundraiser.

How One Nonprofit Quadrupled Fundraising with a Walk/Run

  1. Leverage Donor Trust in Corporations to Expand Your Reach

Peer-to-peer fundraising often appeals to corporate partners looking to expand workplace giving and initiate new corporate sponsorships. Team fundraising is a great employee engagement idea and helps your mission reach even more people.

While giving to nonprofits has declined in recent years, corporate giving is one of the only areas to see an increase.³ You can pair a corporate partner’s priorities for employee engagement and corporate social responsibility with a simple, co-branded fundraising campaign. 

Strengthen Your Corporate Partnerships with Classy

A Meaningful Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Example

Storytelling is what helps peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns stand apart and touch people in a more impactful way. 

Ruling Our eXperiences, an organization helping girls use their voices and embrace their confidence, experienced firsthand the impact of a single donor’s personal story. 

The organization grew 180% in one year when a supporter turned the tragic loss of his daughter into a greater purpose to fuel change. His desire to drive impact and a simple peer-to-peer campaign that helped showcase Ruling Our eXperiences’ work welcomed a wave of new supporters

Ruling Our eXperiences offers fundraisers thoughtful language and a video they can place alongside their unique reason for raising money that helps more people understand the true impact of their contributions and advocacy. That initial support empowers individuals to personalize the fundraising experience to invite communities in.

Copy Editor: Ayanna Julien

Article Sources:

  1. “2024 Edelman Trust Barometer,” Edelman, accessed February 21, 2024,  
  2. “Giving USA: Total U.S. charitable giving declined in 2022 to $499.33 billion following two years of record generosity,” Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, accessed February 21, 2024,
  3. “Giving USA 2023 Report Insights,” BWF, accessed February 21, 2024,
Templated Fundraising Campaign

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