Peer to Peer Fundraising: The Ultimate Nonprofit Guide
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Peer-to-peer fundraising is an excellent fundraising strategy for charity organizations and schools. By harnessing the power of your supporters’ social networks, your organization can tap into a vast audience of potential new donors, amplifying awareness for your cause and generating substantial donations that surpass traditional fundraising campaigns.
But the benefits of peer-to-peer campaigns extend beyond fundraising alone. How can P2P campaigns enhance your organization or charity in ways that align with your mission and engage your supporters? And what sets peer-to-peer fundraising apart from organizational crowdfunding? Let’s explore these questions to unlock the full potential of peer-to-peer fundraising for your organization.
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Here’s what we’ll cover in this comprehensive guide on peer-to-peer fundraising for nonprofits and charities.
What is Peer to Peer Fundraising?
Peer-to-peer is a powerful method of fundraising that leverages your organization’s supporters to fundraise on behalf of your group or cause. Your supporters contact friends and family and request donations to support your organization. Participants effortlessly collect donations on their campaign page. It’s also known as p2p fundraising or P2P crowdfunding and sometimes social fundraising.
Organizations with a dedicated supporter base and a solid social media marketing strategy that utilize peer-to-peer fundraising can meet fundraising goals, gain new supporters, and increase their impact on their community.
Benefits of Peer to Peer Fundraising
P2P fundraising campaigns can be wildly successful when well managed. Benefits of these fundraising campaigns include:
- Acquire New Supporters: Peer-to-peer fundraising is a great way to expand your organization‘s reach and share your cause with new donors and supporters.
- Strengthen Connections: As individuals actively fundraise on your school or nonprofit‘s behalf, the connection that the supporter has for your mission and organization is strengthened.
- Empower Participants: P2P is a unique way of empowering individuals to raise funds independently, with more of a supporting role from organizational staff.
- Save on Staff Time: Since peer-to-peer participants are volunteer fundraisers, it decreases the need for staff time and resources. This means that P2P campaigns are generally cost-effective with a strong ROI. Of course, charities still need to support and encourage fundraisers to succeed.
- Drive Revenue: Nonprofits can raise more money through online donations received by reaching a wider pool of supporters.
15 Best Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Ideas
P2P campaigns best suit active events (think run/bike/ride fundraisers) and friendly competitions promoting community. These types of nonprofit fundraising events work well because new supporters and donors can get excited about supporting the individual who participates in the event and learn more about your cause. When selecting the best peer-to-peer fundraiser for your organization, consider your mission and how you want to brand your organization to new supporters.
The best peer-to-peer campaign ideas to raise money and awareness for charitable organizations are below.
Walkathons are great fundraisers for nonprofits and schools that can raise a lot of money with few upfront costs. Ensure your walkathon starts with a great online experience for your participants. Supporters who sign up for the walk will register online and create their personal fundraising page to collect pledges and donations.
A spin-a-thon® is a fundraising event where participants raise money by riding stationary bicycles and asking friends and family members to donate to the cause. It’s a great way to start a community party by playing music and having food available for everyone to share before, during, or after the spin.
Golfers are some of the most competitive people, so there’s hardly a better way to get them involved in fundraising than to host a golf marathon. Participants collect pledges for each hole they golf over a day or long weekend. These are often 100-hole challenges that can raise substantial funds with few participants.
With a bike-a-thon fundraiser, cyclists bike a predetermined course and commit to raising money for your organization. Bike-a-thon fundraisers work well because almost everyone enjoys riding a bike. They are a great family or corporate event and provide a venue for avid cyclists to participate in endurance rides.
A great way for baseball and softball teams to raise money is to hold a hit-a-thon fundraising event. Each hit-a-thon participant will be raising funds by asking friends and family to donate a certain amount per foot or per hit. Get people watching and have them pledge money for every hit scored. Bonus points (and funds!) if they score a home run.
To increase fundraising and awareness around a clays tournament, many organizations are turning to P2P. If you have supporters interested in clay shooting, a unique fundraiser gets shooters to participate by shooting at clay targets. This entertaining group activity is a bit different from the rest and will make for a fun day outdoors.
If your organization is a school, library, or advocate for literacy, why not try a read-a-thon fundraiser? Reading challenges promote a love of reading in kids and everyone who participates. Get involved with a local library or school to get everyone reading for your fundraiser. Bring on the pledges!
Ready to get shaking? Involve your community in a dance marathon where they can raise money for your cause. Register and solicit donations online for a live or live-streamed event. You can change the theme and style of dance depending on the age group and even hold competitions within the dance-a-thon.
Each choir member is responsible for soliciting donations from friends and family members during a choir crowdfunding campaign. We have hosted several successful 30/30/30 choir campaigns where each choir member has a 30-day timeframe to secure donations from 30 contributors, with a suggested amount of $30 per donor.
Bowl-a-thons make great FUNdraising events for nonprofit organizations. Your organization benefits as bowlers create teams and compete to raise the most money for your cause. In fact, Bowl for Kids’ Sake is the signature fundraising event for Big Brothers Big Sisters at the national level.
Fancy plunging into icy cold waters in some of the year’s coldest months? We didn’t think so! But get a few sponsors into the mix and rally your friends because the more plunges taken, the more money is donated. This is a great fundraising idea that can go viral and gain a lot of attention from supporters.
Furry friends are so important, which is why many charities host dog walk fundraising campaigns. Why not please your dogs with a fundraising dog walk or run, get some exercise, and give back to a local animal shelter or community organization? Dog Walks are fun peer-to-peer crowdfunding events and usually 5K or less in length.
Raising money for your school or charity can be a great opportunity to get participants involved in their local community. Try service projects where participants volunteer to get a certain project done in the area surrounding their school or community, all while raising funds. These are generally one-day or weekend projects.
Get the whole community together for a fun day finding items at a scavenger hunt. Hand out a list of items and clues as to where they may be, getting sponsors to donate both items and funds towards a fun day for the community. Families can participate, and the kids will love it. The more items found, the more funds raised!
Best Virtual Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Ideas
Canceled fundraising events have financially hit many nonprofits due to COVID-19. By reworking your P2P fundraising strategies, your organization can continue fundraising during this global pandemic. You’ll need safe and effective virtual fundraising ideas and the P2P technology to make it happen. We’ve included this list of the best virtual peer-to-peer fundraising ideas during COVID and beyond.
Virtual walkathons are great fundraisers for schools that can raise a lot of money with few upfront costs. With parental involvement, these are fun and easy to organize.
Get your livestream ready! Virtual performances work great and can be used to highlight school music groups, marching bands, and choirs.
Virtual merchandise sales are a no-brainer for no/low contact fundraising. Our Simple Stores make it so easy you can get set up and selling in no time.
Online raffles are the perfect way to raise money for many schools. We offer the ability to incorporate peer to peer fundraising in raffles, where students sell tickets via a personal fundraising page. Our raffle software can even randomly select and notify winners. Just find a prize and go!
Much like virtual walkathons, bikeathon fundraisers can be run virtually with just a few tweaks. Biking is a great socially distant sport, so some kids may even bike together. Students create a fundraising page to collect pledges and commit to biking to support the cause.
Readathons are a great way to keep kids busy during COVID and raise money for high school programs. All you need to do is set up the Athon website, where students can track the number of books or pages read. Donors make contributions based on the reading results, and top fundraisers are highlighted.
Running Peer to Peer Product Sales
Fundraisers know that product sales are a great way to get supporters involved in raising funds for your school, PTO, or other group. Many organizations sell candy, school spirit wear, magazines, holiday items, and gift or discount cards. These custom fundraising items can make for a successful fundraising sales contest, especially if sold during seasons when the item is in high demand.
Our peer-to-peer sales platform provides personal donation pages for your organization’s fundraisers. The system tracks total dollars earned and top fundraising individuals and teams. All sales are securely processed online, making managing the sales program much easier for the fundraising organizer. Organizations can still choose to accept and enter check sales into the program.
With DoJiggy, peer to peer isn’t just for Run/Walk/Ride events anymore.
Organizing Peer to Peer Fundraising Events
Successful peer-to-peer events hinge on the recruitment and action of a strong leadership team. Your team should include your development department and volunteers who strongly connect to your cause or charity. Members of your leadership team will take on various fundraising event and planning responsibilities, including:
- Event logistics and permits
- Event budgeting and financial planning
- Recruiting and supporting event participants and volunteers
- Gaining sponsorships and in-kind donations
- Managing your peer-to-peer software platform
- Day of event operations
Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Best Practices
Peer-to-peer fundraising events can be great fun and generate high revenue for nonprofits and charity organizations, but what are the best ways to boost your charity campaigns to get the most out of them? Let’s dive into our top peer-to-peer fundraising best practices to help you on your way to a successful P2P fundraising event:
Start Planning Early!
So start early, gather a strong fundraising team, and plan for at least six months before hosting a peer-to-peer crowdfunding campaign. This ensures your group will have the time necessary to reach and exceed fundraising goals.
Build A Strong Brand Across Your P2P Campaign
The fundraiser you choose to host says a lot about your organization and brand. So, when planning P2P fundraisers, consider how your fundraiser can help communicate your mission and strengthen awareness of your brand and cause.
- Choose a fundraiser that communicates your nonprofit’s mission and message successfully. Maybe pick a unique fundraiser with a theme that aligns perfectly with the message you want to convey.
- Reach out to like-minded brands and community businesses for sponsorships.
- Share your vision with participants and volunteers – they are the champions of your brand, and their actions reflect positively or negatively on your organization.
Choose The Right P2P Crowdfunding Platform
Peer-to-peer campaigns rely on powerful crowdfunding software, social media platforms, and integrations. Utilizing fundraising software allows your message to be organically spread by your dedicated supporters. At the same time, your organization manages the over-arching fundraising campaign and maintains brand consistency.
Some features and tools of our P2P software include:
- Secure event registration
- Provides participants and teams with the ability to personalize the online fundraising experience via personal campaign pages
- Fundraising donation pages include images and videos, social media integration links (Facebook and Twitter) to easily share with friends and family members
- Templates include gamification tools like top fundraisers’ leaderboards and fundraising thermometers
- Donor interaction via comments and listing of all donations
- Ability to easily track and distribute prizes and awards with our prize management system
- Sponsorship promotion for local businesses sponsors on the main campaign page
- Virtual event support – including our live streaming platform
- Free text to donate (for US-based campaigns)
Share Fundraising Goals And Progress
Building and maintaining solid relationships with your donors and sponsors is vital to your fundraising success. Donors want to know how the charity event they support is going and how close it is to smashing its fundraising goals. If you want to keep your supporters in the loop and coming back for your fundraisers in the future, don’t forget to:
- Send out fundraising updates and progress posts via SMS, emails, on your fundraising website, and via social media.
- Collect contact details to personally thank supporters for their donations and participation and strengthen relationships for future events.
- Show your existing donors and sponsors how they are making an impact. Do this by sending out a breakdown of how their donations are being spent with details of who and how they are personally helping.
Offer Prizes And Incentives To Your Peer-to-Peer Donors and Fundraisers
Offering crowdfunding rewards is a great way to motivate supporters to give to your nonprofit’s P2P crowdfunding campaigns. Many nonprofits use rewards in their crowdfunding campaigns to boost revenue and increase supporter involvement in a cause. These perks are essentially gifts given to supporters at defined donation levels. A common example is an organization offering donors a custom t-shirt for $100 or larger donations.
Our peer-to-peer software includes a prize management and incentivization system for participants. This allows your organization to monitor fundraising prizes and awards. The function is completely configurable for your prize levels and ideas. A prize widget will appear on personal campaign pages when a participant has reached a certain prize level; your participants will love to see this!
Kids love prizes of all kinds and will work hard to earn even small prizes. We recommend that school fundraising prizes be structured to encourage participation and not leave anyone behind.
Gamify Your P2P Fundraising Campaign To Make It Fun
Gamification strategies are a great way to get your supporters to have fun in the P2P fundraising process and stir up some competitiveness that benefits your organization. Take a look at a few of DoJiggy’s innovative gamification techniques and see how they can boost your P2P fundraiser’s popularity and proceeds.
- Free P2P Fundraising Thermometers/Fundraising Progress Bars Free fundraising thermometers are included in all of our campaign page templates. Our peer-to-peer crowdfunding platform uses thermometers at the individual fundraiser, group, and campaign levels.
- Leaderboards for Top Fundraisers Leaderboards build excitement and competitiveness among your P2P campaign participants with our free leaderboards to monitor individual and team fundraising leaders.
- Badges and Trophies A trophy widget will appear on personal and team fundraising pages to showcase a participant’s rank or when they have reached a certain prize level that participants and donors alike will love to see. The function is completely configurable for your prize levels and ideas.
- Prizes and Incentives Optimize your supporters’ interest by rewarding them with digital tools and tangible prizes. Achieve this through hosting a raffle, providing customized printed charity merchandise, or giving away other prizes.
- Gamification on our Free Live Streaming Platform Add quizzes and interactive games to your digital fundraising campaigns, connect with more people, and gain global outreach. Our platform now offers gamification for virtual events. Organizers can add polls and trivia questions to your live stream, making for an interactive event where you can reward winners.
- Text-to-Donate and Mobile Giving Text-To-Donate and mobile giving are fantastic gamification techniques that we offer. Text-to-Donate allows your donors to easily support your organization or charity at any time from anywhere, right from their mobile phones.
- Social Media P2P Fundraising Post updates and videos about your P2P campaign, live stream your fundraiser, create a hashtag challenge, and set up stories and highlights to produce an unforgettable charity event. Incorporate gamification elements into the social media piece of your online fundraising campaign by asking donors to match the number of likes a post about your charity receives by donating a corresponding monetary amount.
For a more detailed and easy-to-follow P2P fundraising planning timeline and checklist, check out our Ultimate Guide To Event Planning For Nonprofits.
Always Say Thank You!
The expression, ‘Good manners may not cost anything, but their worth exceeds any monetary value,’ could not be more apt when talking about treating your donors well. Without generous donors, even the most hyped fundraiser of the year will fail to generate proceeds for its cause. So, don’t forget to thank them and make them feel appreciated. Here are a few ways you can thank your donors for their support:
- Write personalized emails
- Post photos on social media of the fundraiser’s accomplishments, tagging them with your donor’s names
- Send a short thank-you video showing the impact of their donation to remind them of why they were inspired to give in the first place
Engaging and Motivating Peer to Peer Fundraisers
Engaging and motivating fundraisers is vital for the success of any P2P fundraising campaign. The first step is to recruit volunteers who will raise money via individual fundraising pages. Recruitment can involve reaching out to potential fundraisers through your organization’s mailing list, personal connections, social media platforms, and targeted outreach. Start recruiting event participants early so they have time to get their team together and focus on fundraising.
Equip Your Participants With The Tools To Succeed
The success of your fundraising effort lies largely on the ability of your participants to raise funds from their social network. That’s why P2P is sometimes called social fundraising. Your goal as an event administrator is to make the most of your supporters’ time and fundraising efforts and help them succeed.
Providing fundraising tools and guidance equips participants with the necessary knowledge and skills to maximize their efforts. Be sure to:
- Providing excellent customer support for donors and supporters. Be sure they know what they’re doing and how to do it.
- Facilitate a seamless donation process by using a donor-friendly peer to peer event platform.
- Encourage participants to leverage social media and technology for easy engagement with their friends.
We have compiled an extensive and easy-to-follow Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Toolkit for P2P fundraiser hosts. You’ll find helpful fundraising tools for peer-to-peer participants, including sample fundraising letters and templates for your upcoming walk-a-thon or other peer-to-peer fundraising events.
Recognizing and Rewarding Fundraisers
Recognizing and rewarding fundraisers for their hard work and dedication is equally important to recruiting participants. This can be done through public acknowledgments, certificates and badges, or special incentives to foster a sense of accomplishment and appreciation.
Encouraging friendly competition and incorporating gamification elements adds excitement and motivation to peer-to-peer campaigns. Leaderboards, fundraising thermometers, and milestones can drive fundraisers to push themselves and their teams further, resulting in increased engagement and fundraising impact.
By implementing these strategies, nonprofits can inspire and empower P2P fundraisers to reach their full potential and achieve remarkable fundraising results.
What Are the Disadvantages of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising?
While peer-to-peer fundraisers can be wildly successful, it’s important to acknowledge and troubleshoot potential disadvantages.
Perhaps the most significant disadvantage of P2P is the lack of control organizations have over the fundraising process. Since peer-to-peer fundraising relies on volunteer participants to share your organization’s message, it can be challenging for organizations to control the campaign’s messaging, branding, and overall execution. This can result in inconsistencies and dilution of the organization’s mission and goals.
Peer-to-peer fundraising requires significant time and effort to recruit and engage fundraising participants. Coordinating and supporting fundraisers can be demanding, potentially stretching limited developmental resources at many nonprofits. But event coordinators may fall short of their fundraising goals if they don’t support fundraisers with the time commitments and tools they need.
Additionally, peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns rely heavily on volunteer participants’ personal and social media networks. If these networks are limited or participants are not motivated to use their networks, achieving fundraising goals will be difficult.
This is why supporting and incentivizing volunteer participants is crucial to successful P2P campaigns.
Pro Tips for Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign Success
- Ensure your p2p fundraising campaign website is responsive and readily visible on mobile devices. Most social media interaction is done on mobile phones, and your crowdfunding website will be accessed through social media. Therefore, it’s vitally important for your campaign page to be responsive and professional in appearance and allow for easy donation collection to raise money online.
- Stories are of utmost importance. The individual raising funds should share their reason for loving the organization’s mission, along with the organization’s ability to clearly define what makes their mission come to life. Taking the time to frame your success stories compellingly helps to ensure that people feel connected to your work and compelled to give.
- Individuals raising funds and potential donors must be able to see the progress of a campaign. Ensure the crowdfunding software you are considering has a fundraising thermometer to illustrate how much money has been raised thus far towards a goal. This can also be shown in the form of leaderboards. Our sites use fundraising thermometers at the campaign, team, and individual fundraiser levels.
- Every P2P campaign must be able to be shared on social media with ease. Ensuring that individuals can easily share links to the campaign creates access for people wishing to give financial support.
- Your fundraisers are likely busy people with limited time to raise money for your organization. Make it easy by providing resources and fundraising tools for volunteer fundraisers.
- Create weekly campaign progress reports that are sent out to each volunteer participant so that everyone understands where the campaign stands in terms of goals and which individuals are the highest performers. Your role as an administrator is to support and motivate your participants.
- Weave a culture of gratitude through every step of the campaign’s progress. Ensuring participants feel appreciated and supported will increase the likelihood of their enthusiastic support and future participation.
- Don’t give away a large percentage of your fundraising proceeds for software and payment processing fees. Many crowdfunding platforms advertise themselves as a free service but read the fine print. All e-commerce transactions carry a transaction fee (since Visa and MasterCard charge merchants for the privilege of accepting their cards – even for charitable donations). We offer a percent-based model or a free option with tipping by donors enabled – whatever works for your charitable organization.
Peer to Peer Fundraising vs. Crowdfunding – What’s the Difference?
Peer to peer fundraising is a type of crowdfunding, and the two terms are often used interchangeably. The difference is that with P2P fundraising, your supporters create personal fundraising pages on behalf of your cause. Your supporter shares his or her page with friends, family, and other community members, and donations are made directly to your organization via their page. With traditional crowdfunding for nonprofits or school crowdfunding campaigns, donations are made by many people directly to the organization or cause, but without the personal or team fundraising page or component.
DoJiggy P2P crowdfunding software supports both of these types of social fundraising campaigns.
Evaluating the Value of Peer to Peer Fundraising for Nonprofits
Some organizations have asked us to help them evaluate the benefits and value of peer-to-peer campaigns. We created this infographic to help answer the question – is peer-to-peer fundraising a good idea for my organization?
See how much value a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign can bring to your cause today! Try our easy peer-to-peer crowdfunding software. We support walk-a-thons, school fun runs and jogs, bike-a-thons, school reading fundraisers, bowl-a-thons, and more. Use our leading peer-to-peer platform for FREE with optional tips from your donors, so your organization can keep more money for your cause.