Peer to Peer Fundraising: The Ultimate Guide
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You’ve heard that peer-to-peer fundraising is an excellent fundraising strategy for nonprofit organizations and schools. By tapping into your supporters’ social network of friends and family, your organization is able to reach a much larger audience of new donors, spreading greater awareness of your cause, and raising significantly more dollars than traditional fundraising campaigns.
So how can peer-to-peer campaigns benefit your organization or charity, beyond raising needed funds? What are ways that you can use peer to peer that work with your organization‘s supporters and mission? What’s the difference between peer-to-peer fundraising and crowdfunding?
Here’s what we’ll cover in this comprehensive guide to 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 reach out to their friends and family and ask for donations in support of your organization. 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 the community they serve.
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 on their own, with more of a supporting role from organizational staff.
- Save on Staff Time: Since peer-to-peer participants are volunteers, it decreases the need for staff time and resources. This means that P2P campaigns are generally cost-effective with a strong ROI. Of course, you still need to support and encourage your 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 are best suited for active events (think run/bike/ride fundraisers) and friendly competitions that promote 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 thereby learn more about your cause. When selecting the best peer to peer fundraiser for your organization, think about 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. Be sure that your walkathon starts with a great online experience for your participants. People who sign up for the run/walk will register online and create their personal fundraising page to take online donations.
A spin-a-thon® is a fundraising event where participants raise money by riding stationary bicycles, asking friends and family to donate to the cause. It’s a great way to get a community party started by playing music and having food available for everyone to share before, during, or after the spin.
Who doesn’t love a fun run or walk? Hosting a color run fundraiser is a great, memorable way to get people interested in your cause. Color Run Fundraisers make great fundraising events for a simple reason – they are fun! Participants raise money on your crowdfunding website.
Golfers are some of the most competitive people around, so there’s hardly a better way to get them involved in fundraising than to host a golf marathon. Offer golf tournament contests like hole in one contests, who can golf the most holes, or who can be the first to get to 100 holes over the course of the tournament weekend.
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, while also offering 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 is an entertaining group activity that’s 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 else who wants to participate. Just get involved with a local library or school and get everyone reading for a set number of days or time per day of your fundraiser. Bring on the pledges!
Ready to get shaking? Involve your community in a dance marathon or dance-a-thon fundraiser where they can raise money for your cause. Register and take donations online for a live or live-streamed event. You can change up the theme and style of dance depending on the age group, and even hold competitions within the dance-a-thon.
When implementing a choir crowdfunding campaign, each choir member is responsible for bringing in donations. We have hosted several successful 30/30/30 choir campaigns where choir members have 30 days to find 30 donors of $30 to reach the choir goals.
Bowl-a-thons make great FUNdraising events for many types of 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 taking a plunge into icy cold waters in some of the coldest months of the year? 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 as it can go viral on social media 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 your local animal shelter or other community organization? Dog Walks are fun peer-to-peer crowdfunding events and are 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
Many nonprofits have been hit hard financially by canceled fundraising events due to COVID-19. By reworking your P2P fundraising strategies, your organization can continue fundraising during this global pandemic. To do this, you’ll need safe and effective virtual fundraising ideas and the P2P technology to make it happen. We’ve put together this list of the best virtual peer-to-peer fundraising ideas during COVID and beyond.
Virtual Walkathons and Fun Runs
Virtual Happy Hours and Performances
Get your livestream ready! Virtual performances work great and can be used to highlight school music groups, marching bands, and choirs.
Online Product Sales with P2P Pages
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 and commit to biking in support of the school.
Virtual Reading Challenges
Readathons are a great way to keep kids busy during COVID and raise money for high school programs at the same time. All you need to do is setup 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 group. Many organizations sell candy, school spirit wear, magazines, holiday items, and gift or discount cards. All of these custom fundraising items can make for a successful fundraising sales contest, especially if sold during seasons where the item is in high demand.
Our peer-to-peer sales platform provides personal fundraising pages for all of your organization’s fundraisers. The system tracks total dollars earned, as well as 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 fundraising events hinge on the recruitment and action of a strong leadership team. Your team should include not only your development department but volunteers who have a strong connection 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,
- and day of event operations.
Be sure to start early and plan for at least six months prior to hosting a peer-to-peer crowdfunding campaign. This ensures that you will have the time necessary to reach your fundraising goal.
Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Best Practices
Peer-to-peer fundraising events can be great fun and generate high levels of 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 be sure to start early, gather a strong fundraising team, and plan for at least 6 months prior to hosting a peer-to-peer crowdfunding campaign. This ensures that you will have the time necessary to reach and exceed your fundraising goals
Build A Strong Brand Across Your P2P Campaign
What your organization may not realize is that the type of fundraiser you choose to host says a lot about your brand and your organization. So, when planning your P2P fundraisers, in addition to accomplishing your financial goals, also consider how your fundraiser can help you communicate your mission and strengthen awareness of your brand and cause. Think about the following when building your P2P brand:
- 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
By their nature, peer-to-peer campaigns rely on powerful peer-to-peer crowdfunding software tools and social media networks and integrations. Utilizing online fundraising software allows your message to be organically spread by your supporters while your nonprofit or school is able to manage the over-arching fundraising campaign and maintain brand consistency.
Some features and tools of our P2P software include:
- Secure event registration
- Provides participants and teams with the ability to personalize the fundraising experience via personal fundraising pages
- Fundraising pages include images and videos, fundraising thermometers, a personal statement, social media integration links (Facebook and Twitter) to easily share with friends and family, and more
- Templates include gamification tools like top fundraisers’ leaderboards and event 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
- 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 a vital step in your fundraising success. Donors want to know how the charity event they are supporting 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 more of 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 all contact details so that you can personally thank donors for their donations and participation, and strengthen relationships for future events.
- Show your 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 Fundraisers
Offering crowdfunding rewards is a great way to motivate your 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 that offers donors a custom t-shirt for donations of $100 or more.
Our peer-to-peer software includes a prize management and incentivization system. This allows your organization to easily monitor fundraising prizes and awards. The function is completely configurable for your prize levels and ideas. A prize widget will appear on personal fundraising pages when a participant has reached a certain prize level and your participants will love to see this!
Kids love prizes of all kinds and will work hard to earn even very small prizes. We recommend that School Fun Run and read-a-thon prizes are structured in this way to encourage everyone to participate and not leave anyone behind.
Gamify Your P2P Fundraising Campaign To Make It Fun
Do you just want the bullet point headings or the small paragraph under each heading explaining briefly how each gamification element can help boost your P2P fundraiser?
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 winning and innovative gamification techniques and see how they can boost your P2P fundraiser’s popularity and proceeds.
Free P2P Fundraising Thermometers/Fundraising Progress BarsFree Fundraising Thermometers are included in all of DoJiggy’s fundraising website templates. Our peer-to-peer crowdfunding platform uses thermometers at the individual fundraiser, group, and campaign levels.
Leaderboards for Top FundraisersLeaderboards build excitement and competitiveness among your P2P campaign participants with our free leaderboards to monitor individual and team fundraising leaders.
Badges and TrophiesA 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 IncentivesOptimize your supporters’ interest by rewarding them with a combination of 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 PlatformTry adding quizzes and interactive games in your digital fundraising campaigns, connect with more people and gain global outreach? Our platform now offers gamification for virtual events. Organizers are able to add polls and trivia questions to your live stream, making for an interactive event where you can reward winners.
Text-to-Donate and Mobile GivingText-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 FundraisingPost 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 part of your 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.
Equip Your Participants With The Tools To Succeed
We have compiled an extensive and easy-to-follow Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Toolkit for anyone considering a P2P fundraiser. You’ll find helpful fundraising tools for peer-to-peer participants, including sample fundraising letters and templates for your upcoming walk-a-thon, bowl-a-thon, jog-a-thon, or other peer-to-peer fundraising events. Feel free to download and use any of the resources and templates provided for your peer-to-peer events.
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
For more on how to build relationships and stay in touch with your donors, check out our Ultimate Guide To Event Planning For Nonprofits.
Tips for Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign Success
- Ensure that your p2p fundraising campaign website is responsive and readily visible on mobile devices. The majority of 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 the funds should share their reason for loving the mission of the organization, along with the organization being able to clearly define what makes their mission come to life. Taking the time to frame your success stories in a compelling manner helps to ensure that people feel connected to your work and compelled to give.
- It is important that individuals raising funds and potential donors are able to see the progress of a campaign. Check to see if 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. By ensuring that individuals can easily share links to events and the campaign itself creates ease in access for people wishing to give their financial support.
- Your fundraisers are most likely busy people with limited time to spend raising money for your organization. Make it easy for them by providing resources and fundraising tools P2P for volunteers.
- 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 campaign progress. By making sure participants feel appreciated and supported, you will increase the likelihood of their enthusiastic support and future participation.
- Don’t give away a large percentage of your fundraising money in software and payment processing fees. Many crowdfunding platforms advertise themselves as a free service – but be sure to 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 just how much value a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign can bring to your cause today! Try DoJiggy’s peer-to-peer crowdfunding software out for your fundraising event today. We support walk-a-thons, school fun runs and jogs, bike-a-thons, school reading fundraisers, bowl-a-thons, even car wash-a-thons, Community Service Projects, 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.