P2P fundraising can increase your revenue and efficiency.

4 Strategies for Growing Your P2P Fundraising Campaigns

Megan Donahue

Peer-to-peer fundraising helps your nonprofit reach new donors, engage your current supporters and increase giving without a substantial lift from your employees. It activates donors and brings them closer to the work you’re doing. But, without a plan for how to identify the right donors for your P2P fundraising campaigns and how to recruit them, it might be difficult to include a meaningful program into your organization

Luckily, there’s a lot you can do to influence the outcome and grow giving. 

1. Make It Easy To Execute P2P Fundraising

The challenge with P2P fundraising isn’t a lack of generosity. People want to help, but they’re busy. They don’t have time to figure out a complicated fundraising platform, wondering if their payments processed correctly, or even looking up your website. 

So you have to make it easy to give. Ridiculously easy. Here’s how.

Simplifying Payment Processing

Picture this: Someone gets a fundraising email from one of your peer-to-peer fundraisers. They’re moved by your mission and excited about your organization as well as their friend’s campaign. They click over to make a donation, enter all their information, hit submit and…get an error message. After a few seconds, their browser redirects them back to the beginning of the form.

Did their donation go through? Do they need to enter it again? Will they have a double charge?

Now, instead of basking in the warm feelings of making a gift, they have to solve an annoying mystery. That’s if they don’t decide to abandon the donation altogether.

A formal process for testing will help you avoid this scenario. Log out of everything and make a small test donation from both your desktop and your mobile device. What happens? Is it easy and clear, or are you stuck wondering if you even donated? 

While you’re making that test donation, take a minute to consider your giving form, too. Are you collecting the data you actually want and need, or is your form unnecessarily long? How short and simple could you conceivably go?

Giving Clear Calls-To-Action 

Every piece of communication you send or create during your P2P fundraising campaign should have a clear call-to-action. Don’t assume people know what you want them to do, even if it seems obvious to you. Spell it out with a direct call-to-action, like “Donate now!” or “Make your gift!” 

Strong CTAs are an established practice for fundraising appeals, but don’t forget to include them in your messages to your peer-to-peer fundraisers, too. They’ll have an easier time raising money if you guide them through with calls to action like, “Share your campaign on social media now!”

2. Center Your Donor in the Story

Storytelling is the heart of fundraising, but not every story inspires generosity. Too often, nonprofits tell a story that could be titled, “We’re Great, and We Need Something.” 

It’s not a very compelling story, especially if it’s the only one you tell.  

Your donors want to make a difference and to be part of something. They want their generosity to make a meaningful change, not to feel like a drop in the bucket of your infinite need. You have to show them the impact they’ll make by donating.

Here are a few suggestions for centering the donor and their contributions in your story. 

Demonstrating a Change

What difference will a donation make? This is what your donors really need to know. It speaks directly to their priorities and demonstrates their importance as part of the cause and community. 

Remember, you’re the expert in your programs and organization, so it’s easy to have a blind spot about what people understand. For an effective P2P fundraising campaign, you have to arm your donors with all the necessary information to be successful. Their friends and family might not have ever heard of you, or have much knowledge about the problem you’re trying to solve. It’s best not to assume they can figure out their impact. 

Ask yourself:

What will be different if your campaign is fully funded? What wrongs will be righted, or new good things will happen? Who will be better off? What bad thing will you stop in its tracks?

And then explain it to them. 

Make It Human

Show how the work you do affects real people. It’s easier to engage attention and promote empathy when you demonstrate the human connection. Choose an individual person you serve, or group of people to feature. It’s even better if you can include their own words about the difference your organization is making.

Using Numbers Cautiously

Numbers can help tell a story, but they should take a secondary role. Tell the story of one person, and then mention how many others there are like her. Talk about the number of meals you served or backpacks you supplied, but include a quote from someone who received one about how it made them feel.

It’s not unusual for development professionals to focus unduly on numbers. Personally, I think it comes from years of grant reporting, where we’re required to quantify so much. That’s great for filling out a report to a foundation, but not terribly interesting to the average individual donor. 

Tie numbers right back to donor impact, especially when you’re talking about money. Isolated dollar amounts don’t mean much, but donors start to contextualize them when you show what those dollars can do. 

3. Prepare Your P2P Fundraising Participants

Your peer-to-peer fundraisers love your organization and are giving you more than money — they’re sharing both their time and connections. In order for them to reach their fundraising potential, they’ll need preparation.

If you leave your P2P fundraising donors to their own devices, this is what will happen: Some people will have the experience or intuition to be good at inspiring generosity. Others won’t know what to do, and won’t raise much. You can make it easier for more people to succeed by offering training and tools to support them as they fundraise. 

Using Tools That Work

Your peer-to-peer fundraisers are already giving you one of their most precious resources — their time. It’s simply a matter of respect not to waste it. Use fundraising tools that are easy to use and quick to learn to maximize the time they can spend fundraising. 

Before you choose a P2P fundraising platform, test it out from the volunteer side. It doesn’t really matter if it integrates perfectly into your CRM or makes everything easier for your staff if it’s terrible for your volunteers. If it takes a lot of time to figure out, set-up, or routinely malfunctions, they won’t use it. There’s the end of your campaign. 

Set-up a giving page, test each function and note how long it takes to accomplish an action. The tools you give your volunteers should be worthy of their generosity. 

Creating Campaign Resources

You don’t have to write a book, but a collection of fundraising tips and a suggested campaign calendar can really help volunteer fundraisers feel confident. 

It’s even better if you supply fundraisers with all the content they’ll need for the campaign, with the option to customize it if they want to. This preserves your brand identity, and makes it a snap for fundraisers to share and promote their P2P fundraising campaigns. Create templates for emails and social media posts, and include any graphics they’ll need, like logos and social media images. 

4. Build a Community

One of the reasons people get involved in nonprofits is to be part of a community. You can meet this need during your peer-to-peer campaign, inspiring greater loyalty and trust. Both result in more fundraising and generosity.

One-on-One Relationships

Start by building one-on-one relationships with your P2P fundraisers. Just as individual donors should not feel anonymous to your organization, fundraisers should feel appreciated and supported in every way. You can use automation to start fostering their connection — use a welcome email to greet them when they join your campaign and explain who to contact with questions.

Your CRM is a useful tool for managing these one-on-one relationships. Review peer-to-peer fundraisers’ profiles to refresh yourself on their history with your organization and customize your communication. 

Invite Everyone In

Offer opportunities for donors and peer-to-peer fundraisers to become more involved. Give donors next steps after making their donations like following you on social media, signing up for your email list, or joining the campaign and fundraising themselves. 

Use your social media and communication tools to engage with your community throughout the campaign. Update them on progress, and celebrate reaching milestones. Keep enthusiasm and urgency high by announcing how many days and dollars remain to reach your goal and shouting out donors and fundraisers as they give.  

Grow Your Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed about all the communication it takes to grow peer-to-peer fundraising, you’ll be glad to know just how much you can automate.  Email is essential, but you don’t have to send every single one yourself to be personal and successful. Check out our complete guide, Personalize Your Peer-to-Peer to get started raising more!

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