10-Point Peer-to-Peer Event Checklist
Peer-to-peer fundraising events continue to grow in popularity across the nonprofit sector, and the most common form is the run/walk/ride event. They’re a great way to raise awareness, raise money, and actively engage participants and supporters. Plus, the participants and their friends do a large portion of the fundraising for you.
However, planning and executing a peer-to-peer fundraising event isn’t as easy as snapping your fingers. It takes a great deal of planning and consideration about things that may not be evident at the outset.
At the 2014 Bridge Conference in National Harbor, Md., three fundraising professionals provided a checklist for launching a peer-to-peer fundraising run/walk/ride event. In their session "From Zero to 5K in 10 Months: The ABCs of Launching a Peer-to-Peer Based Run/Walk or Bike Ride," Sharon Kessler, interim director of special events at Children's National Medical Center Foundation; Hossein Noshirvani, executive VP and co-founder of Motionsoft; and Philip Schmitz, partner and CEO of CharityEngine, shared their insights.
The first question you have to ask is why you’re embarking on the peer-to-peer campaign in the first place, Kessler said. You must clearly define your mission before really getting started.
Once you have the mission defined, it’s on to the checklist:
- Set the date and location: Think long term about a place that could be great annually, Kessler suggested.
- Time of event: Is it a timed race? A family event? An early-morning run/walk/ride or later in the day?
- Secure permits: It is one of the most important and hardest things to do, Kessler said — and an absolute must.
- Hire a logistics management company or be prepared to do it in-house: It’s a lot of work to get the logistics right — and can make or break your event.
- Identify event chair and committee members: Your event chair is your leader to help raise money and reach out to the community, Kessler said.
- Develop your fundraising plan: You must lay out financial goals and participation goals to track success. That also means having a timeline for meeting those goals.
- Create a sponsorship deck: Determine sponsorship opportunities and associated prices. Sponsorship packages can include vendor tables and tents; recognition on the website, email and print materials; race day signage and PA acknowledgments; logo or listing on select ads; complimentary race entries; VIP access on race day; inclusion in a goodie bag; naming rights to tents and category exclusivity; and podium for winners.
- Assign internal race team responsibilities.
- Map the budget — always an important part of any fundraising activity.
- Create the full timeline — including the day-of agenda.
Related story: The Heart of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Operations