As society continues to be shaped by technology and communication tools, like social media, peer-to-peer fundraising has emerged as the primary area of growth for large nonprofits. Peer-to-peer giving has unmatched potential to harness a sense of community and empower today’s donor. According to the “2017 Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Thirty,” the 30 largest P2P campaigns raised an incredible $1.45 billion, but in order for today’s nonprofits to capitalize on this immense opportunity, they must understand why the donor’s personal connection to a story is critical to a successful peer-to-peer campaign.
The ‘Set-It-and-Forget-It’ Mistake
Nonprofits often struggle to balance limited resources with the need to increase awareness and donations. As a result, many nonprofits have a “set-it-and-forget-it” mindset when engaging a peer-to-peer strategy. Unfortunately, this is a misstep that undermines the power of peer-to-peer to reach large audiences and fuel larger fundraising campaigns. But this is where peer-to-peer technology can be used to help transform engaged supporters into active ambassadors. These advocates are ready to tell their stories and share their passion for a cause with their community.
Nonprofits that reap the greatest benefits from peer-to-peer technology have two practices in common: First, they continually ensure the fundraiser’s story clearly and authentically connects to the nonprofit’s mission. Second, they actively participate in and support their peer-to-peer fundraisers. When this is done properly and consistently, donors are more emotionally invested, while having greater visibility into how their dollars create impact. Ultimately, they will begin to support the cause in more intimate ways and associate the mission more closely with their own sense of community.
Understanding the ‘Why’
When implementing a peer-to-peer strategy, it is important that nonprofits devote ongoing resources to cultivating advocates who can tell the nonprofit’s story. Successful peer-to-peer campaigns prioritize the story, which requires spending time to get to know their advocates and why they want to be part of telling the nonprofit’s mission.
Nonprofits must understand that individual fundraisers often have a personal connection to a cause they share with their personal communities. Peer-to-peer giving empowers donors to participate in a story that has been brought to life, allows them to have a direct impact and builds on their network and community.
The Power of Community
Research from Brown University indicates that the traditional communities of the last several centuries have been replaced in recent years by more intimate networks limited to close friends and family. In today’s world, these more intimate networks are not defined by geography, and those closest to us are often the farthest away, creating far-reaching webs of micro-communities. Peer-to-peer giving allows nonprofits to harness not only the network of the fundraiser, but also of those closest to the fundraiser, exponentially expanding the reach of a cause. As communities evolve into networks, peer-to-peer fundraisers inject the traditional sense of community that has always been a part of society into the fundraiser’s and donor’s networks.
Opening the Door
While a peer-to-peer strategy empowers donors, it also empowers nonprofits in many ways. Igniting passion about a cause that matters to the world allows nonprofits to unlock the generosity of a community, and that is always more powerful than unlocking the generosity of a single individual.
Often, nonprofits don’t have ready or unlimited access to new impact stories. An effective peer-to-peer strategy gives nonprofits access to an array of these stories without having to overly dedicate resources. Peer-to-peer giving also provides nonprofits insights into who their donors are and what motivates them to support their cause, allowing a more personal connection with those fundraisers.
As the way people receive and engage with information continues to evolve, peer-to-peer campaigns have the power to unlock the generosity of an expanded network of people and meet donors where they are—online. Nonprofits that implement a well thought-out peer-to-peer strategy can both expand reach and grow their organization by developing champions of their cause and connecting with donors empowered to make a tangible difference.