Peer-to-peer campaigns are a great way to engage donors and shake up your fundraising strategy.

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaigns: The Basics

Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns are one of the biggest trends in fundraising right now.

While peer-to-peer campaigns offer many benefits to both donors and nonprofits, many organizations are nervous to try them out a strategy that’s rapidly changing as technology advances.

Their hesitancy is understandable. It’s much more comfortable to stick to what’s tried and true.

However, no risk means no reward. If your organization wants to see better fundraising results and keep up with the times, you’ll have to embrace change!

Hosting a peer-to-peer fundraiser is a great place to start. They’re a fairly easy and affordable effort for nonprofits to execute.
Here, we’ll take you through the basics of a P2P campaign and help you get started with your very own.

We’ll cover:

  1. What Is a Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign?
  2. The Benefits of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
  3. Considerations to Make When Planning a Campaign
  4. The Anatomy of a Typical Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign

By the time you’re done reading, hopefully you’ll be convinced that peer-to-peer fundraising is worth a try!

1. What Is a Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign?

Before we get too deep into peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns, we should first define exactly what they are.

Peer-to-peer campaigns mobilize donors to fundraise on behalf of a nonprofit organization.

Fundraisers will raise money by asking for donations from their peers, usually on social media.

Peer-to-peer also goes by many other names, including:

  • P2P fundraising
  • Crowdfunding
  • Social fundraising
  • Team fundraising
  • Grassroots fundraising

Although many of these names are used to denote slightly different tactics, for the most part they can be used synonymously to describe similar efforts.

The takeaway: Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns allow nonprofits to leverage their donors to fundraise on the organization’s behalf.

2. The Benefits of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Peer-to-peer fundraising is really a win-win for both nonprofits and donors.

Here I’ll break the benefits down by organization and supporter and touch briefly on why peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns are great for each.

The benefits of P2P for nonprofits:

1. It expands your reach.

The main benefit of running a peer-to-peer campaign is that it grows your supporter base.

By getting your supporters to leverage their own networks, you’ll be able to reach new supporters that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to.

And, since your campaign will be reaching a wider audience, hopefully you’ll be able to increase your fundraising results, too!

2. It establishes trust.

Nonprofits are constantly facing the problem of building trust with their donors.

Often, donors are hesitant to give to an organization because they’re not exactly sure what their donations are going toward.

Some worry that their money might be funneled into nonprofit operations instead of going directly to the cause.

Peer-to-peer solves this problems by establishing a mutual connection between prospective donors and nonprofits.

When people see that one of their peers trusts your organization and is passionate enough about it to fundraise for you, they’ll be more confident about giving!

3. It’s cost-effective.

Let’s face it. Fundraising is expensive.

Luckily, peer-to-peer is one of the most cost-effective fundraising strategies out there!

With supporters fundraising for you, you can cut a lot of the costs that come with planning and outreach.

Plus, most of the action will take place on social media, and most sites are completely free to use.

4. You can build deeper donor relationships.

Because your donors will be actively involved with your organization, peer-to-peer campaigns are an excellent way to build deeper relationships with them.

Throughout the campaign, you should have many opportunities to interact with fundraisers and get to know them better.

Since you’ve formed a deeper relationship with your donors, they’ll be more likely to contribute to other campaigns in the future.

The benefits of P2P for supporters:

1. Individuals can be as involved as they want.

If your donors are participating in your campaign, it’s clear they want to get involved with your organization in some way.

The great thing about peer-to-peer campaigns is that they allow your supporters to have more control over their level of involvement.

While some donors will opt to reach out to their entire network, others will only make appeals to a select few. And that’s okay!

The beauty of P2P is that fundraisers can own their own involvement and share your cause in a way that’s personally meaningful to them.

2. It strengthens their networks.

Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns aren’t only strengthening your organization’s networks, they’ll strengthen fundraisers’ too!

The campaign will give supporters an excellent opportunity to connect with their peers in a new way.

Working toward a good cause is one of the best ways to bring people together.

Hopefully, your P2P campaign will result in a whole new philanthropic community!

3. Donors will take the lead.

Those who have been involved in your organization for a long time are likely looking for new ways to engage with you.

Peer-to-peer fundraising takes this a step further by essentially allowing them to work for your organization.

They’ll gain new insights into your organization by seeing how fundraising works from the inside.

And although your organization will still have to manage the campaign, P2P will take a little of the pressure of fundraising off of your shoulders.

The Takeaway: Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns offer many unique benefits to both nonprofits and their supporters.

3. Considerations to Make When Planning a Campaign

Introducing any new effort will naturally require a reallocation of resources.

Before you start planning out your peer-to-peer campaign, make sure that your organization can realistically accommodate this effort.

Here, we’ve laid out some primary considerations that organizations must think about before they can start peer-to-peer fundraising.

Do we have supporters who are willing to participate?

Of course, to host a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, you need people who are willing to fundraise!
Make sure that your organization will have enough supporters to realistically achieve your fundraising goals.

The number you need will depend on the size of your organization and how much money you hope to raise.

You can gauge supporters’ interest by conducting a survey in your email campaigns or on social media.

If your organization also has longstanding supporters who have frequently participated in your other campaigns, it’s probably also worth reaching out to them individually and asking if they would like to participate.

Do we have the right staff to run a campaign?

Just because your supporters are fundraising for you doesn’t mean that your organization can just check out!

You’ll need a dedicated team to motivate fundraisers and make sure you’re on track to reaching your goals.

Primarily, you’ll need to determine which staff member will be in charge of managing the team and the campaign in general.

You’ll also need some staff members to manage particular aspects of the campaign, such as:

  • Online fundraising
  • Offline fundraising
  • Marketing
  • Social media
  • Event planning

Peer-to-peer campaigns consist of many various efforts. Make sure you have a cross-functional team on your side for the best chance of success.

Is our board on board?

Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns will be a major investment for your organization.

What I’m referring to here isn’t so much monetary cost (although you’ll probably have to get the buy-in on a P2P fundraising platform) as it is the investment of time.

Any new effort is a risk for your organization. You have to spend time and staff resources learning and navigating a new strategy that isn’t guaranteed to pay off.

A decision of this magnitude will require a buy-in from your board.

You’ll want to pitch as soon as possible to determine if your organization can even host a peer-to-peer campaign in the first place!

Need some tips on convincing your board? Salsa has the perfect article for you!

Have we found an excellent P2P platform?

Because peer-to-peer is such a specialized effort for nonprofits, it requires the help of software.

Peer-to-peer software will provide supporters with the unique set of tools they need to fundraise on your behalf.

There are many different P2P platforms out there.
The type you choose will depend on the needs of your organization, but in general you should be looking out for these features:

  • A wide set of tools and capabilities.
  • A user-friendly interface.
  • Scalability.
  • Easy setup.
  • The proper amount of support and training.

When you find the platform that’s the perfect fit, your fundraisers are more likely to see success!
The Takeaway: Make sure you’ve made all of the necessary considerations before you start planning to ensure that hosting a peer-to-peer campaign is realistic for your organization.

4. The Anatomy of a Peer-to-Peer Campaign

Before you start planning a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, you’ll need to know what a typical campaign looks like.

Here, we’ll take a look at the anatomy of a P2P campaign in steps, so you can start planning your very own!

Step 1. Set a goal and market your campaign.

The very first step to any fundraising campaign will be setting a goal.

It will be much easier to determine a realistic goal if you know how many supporters you have fundraising on your behalf.

For peer-to-peer, defining your goal will be a little different.

Since there are many people fundraising for you instead of just the organization, you’ll have to set an overall goal and individual goals for each fundraiser.

When everyone knows exactly how much they have to contribute to reach your goal, it’s much more likely that you’ll actually reach that goal.

Once you’ve defined your campaign and have a clear goal to share, start marketing your campaign from all channels to let the rest of your supporters know it’s going on and to encourage them to contribute.

Step 2. Get fundraisers set up and launch your campaign.

To start raising money, your fundraisers will need the proper set of tools.

As we touched on in the last section, this requires the right peer-to-peer fundraising software.

While P2P software will have many features that will help your campaigns run more smoothly, we’ll focus on the most important one here: online donation pages.

Why is it the most important?

Well, without online donation pages, your fundraisers would have no way of accepting donations!

Your P2P platform will allow each fundraiser to build a personalized donation page that they can share in their social media posts.

The donations collected from these pages will automatically be processed in the platform so you can oversee each fundraiser’s participation and ensure you’re reaching your goals.

Before the campaign gets started, your organization should help each fundraiser create their own page and make sure that they can successfully accept donations.

Once everyone has a working donation page, it’s time to launch! Fundraisers can start posting and asking for donations.

Step 3. Keep engaging your fundraisers and oversee the campaign.

Your fundraisers should be all set up and fundraising for you.

However, it’s still important to reach out to fundraisers and keep engaging them.

This will not only keep them motivated, but it will also give your organization the opportunity to form deeper relationships with your supporters.

Throughout the campaign, interact with your fundraisers on social media. You can do this in a number of ways, including:

At this stage, you should keep a close eye on how your fundraisers are doing at meeting their individual goals.

If someone is falling behind and needs a little help, your organization can provide them with some extra support to help get them back on track.

It’s also a good idea to be keeping an eye on your donor data.

With peers submitting their donations through your fundraisers’ pages, you’ll be receiving a wealth of new supporter information.

Stay on top of recording this data so you can welcome new donors and thank them for their contributions!

Step 4. Thank contributors and celebrate with an event.

Your fundraisers have spent a lot of time and effort helping your organization reach its goals and work toward your cause.

Make sure you thank every single one properly and sincerely.

One of the best ways to acknowledge fundraisers is by hosting an event. (For some ideas, check out Salsa’s list of fundraising event ideas here.)

At the event, you can publicly acknowledge fundraisers and celebrate their contributions. It’s also an excellent opportunity to interact with many of your supporters in person.
Often organizations will even center their campaign around an event.

Activity-based events like marathons are especially suitable for P2P campaigns because peers can determine their donation amounts based on how well fundraisers do in the event.

For example, peers could pledge $10 for each mile run or pledge a larger amount that will be given once the fundraiser successfully completes the marathon.

This is a great motivator for both fundraisers and donors.

Donors will be able to put their money toward something more tangible, while fundraisers will have a fun incentive for going above and beyond in their fundraising.

While hosting an event in conjunction with your P2P campaign isn’t necessary, it can be a great strategy for making your campaign even more successful.

The Takeaway:
The typical peer-to-peer campaign consists of many steps that require action on the part of both fundraisers and the organization.

Well, there you have it, folks! You’re now versed in the basics of peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns.

If you think a peer-to-peer campaign might be the perfect new addition to your fundraising tactics, now is a perfect time to get started. Good luck!


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