The Secret to Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Growth?
Today’s fundraising climate is harder than it’s ever been, but it also presents a great deal of opportunities for nonprofits. While competition may be steeper (hello, 2.7 million nonprofits in the GuideStar database), people are becoming more socially aware, more active in the charities and causes they care about and, as a result of that, more generous in their giving. But in that same vein, there’s something out there called charity distrust.
In the “Give.org Donor Trust report,” researchers found that only 19% of the study respondents highly trust charities and, even worse, 10% are optimistic about the sector becoming more trustworthy over time.
Today’s donors are looking for more than just a good cause. Here’s a scary wake-up call… your mission doesn’t matter anymore. Just hear me out for a second, OK? Of course you have a great mission — your nonprofit wants to change the world. But take a look around: There are millions of nonprofits out there — many of which probably have the same exact mission as you. What are you doing to stand out in this big pool?
If you read the headline above (and I really hope you did), I promised you that I’d share the secret to peer-to-peer fundraising growth. It’s not really a secret, but I feel like I need to do my part in educating the nonprofits that haven’t quite grasped this fact: Fundraising is not transactional. It’s time to stop treating your donors like endless flows of dollars and more like human beings — human beings who want attention and affection. Donors are looking to be a part of a community where they’re not just “another donor” or another prize to be won. They’re looking to be heavily involved with a cause they are passionate about with an organization that treats them like they are important and that they matter.
A good way of doing this? Oh, right — peer-to-peer fundraising!
Donors Want Human Interaction
Peer-to-peer fundraising is a way for your supporters to fundraise on behalf of your organization. It’s a spontaneous, fun and interesting way of engaging your supporters that makes them a part of the action — makes them advocates in action! This is important to note these days because fundraising isn’t just about “the ask” anymore. Donors no longer want to be constantly poached left and right for money from organizations A, B, C and so on. Donors crave interaction and emotional connection, and, if treated right, they’re becoming more loyal to the organizations they support.
In the “2018 Donor Experience Study,” it’s reported that 33% of donors give over four times a year to their favorite charity and 18% give over 10 times a year — compare that to 15% giving once a year and 20% giving twice a year. Additionally, Network for Good reported that donors tend to give more when the online experience is “intimate and emotionally coherent.”
When your nonprofit puts in the effort to connect with its supporters on a personal level — listening to them, understanding what they need and providing them with the sincere and supportive community that they’re looking for — you are opening up a platform where they are not only continuously giving to your cause, but also raising awareness and fundraising for your organization.
This is why peer-to-peer fundraising is so advantageous; it gets your supporters excited and puts them right in the middle of the action.
Put the ‘Fun’ in Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
Peer-to-peer fundraising is often grouped into “fundraising events.” And while events are a great way to engage your supporters, it’s not the only way to peer-to-peer fundraise. The internet has opened up another dimension of ways for your supporters to take action on behalf of your organization. Think: social fundraising.
Have you ever scrolled through your personal Facebook News Feed and see those birthday fundraisers? Or when someone creates a GoFundMe page to help raise money and awareness about cruelty in animal shelters? And when social injustice occurs, people rise up and raise their voices on Instagram’s platform — remember months ago when Instagram went “blue” as a symbol of solidarity for the Sudan protesters?
These are all examples of social fundraising. Social media harnesses the power for voices to be heard, and there are so many creative ways for your nonprofit to use its platform. One of the most eye-catching things you can do for your social media page(s) is to include videos.
Videos have the power to tell a story that written words simply cannot. You can tell a great story in a two-minute video. And more likely than not, people will stop to watch that video. And people will resonate with that video. That video will strike any combination of emotions — happiness, sadness, compassion, empathy, maybe even anger. But these emotions drive people to take action, whether it’s a simple donation or spreading the word about your organization and what it does.
The use of video storytelling can have a tremendous impact on your supporters. But let’s kick it up a notch, shall we? A new kind of fundraising has emerged and picked up a lot of popularity within the past year or two, and that’s livestream fundraising.
While this is not necessarily a new trend, it’s particularly new to the nonprofit sector. The concept of livestreaming has been for decades. Back when I was a wee gamer nerd, I used to watch these streams daily, so to say I was excited when it was coming onto the nonprofit scene would be an understatement.
Children’s Miracle Network Hospital (CMNH) created a program called Extra Life, where they invite people to play games in support of the kids at CMNH. Since its inception in 2008, CMNH has raised of $50 million. We recently did a podcast with Mike Kinney, managing director of digital fundraising at CMNH, and Marc Rubner, CEO of DonorDrive. You can listen to it here.
Another example is the week-long “Charity Blitz” to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital that took place before last year’s gaming convention, GuardianCon. During a live gaming stream with Ninja, a famous gamer with over 22.4 million subscribers on YouTube, donations pushed past the Charity Blitz’s 2.7 million goal, with a $100,000 anonymous donation.
While gaming is the most popular type of livestream, the possibilities go beyond that. You can livestream pretty much anything you do — cooking, playing music, working out, physical challenges and the list goes on.
A cool company that is changing up the fundraising game is Tiltify. Besides having the opportunity to livestream, one unique option is exchanging donations for entertainment. For example, if I wanted to raise money for organization A, I could create a challenge. If you wanted to watch me clean and jerk 150 lbs, all you would have to do is donate $15. Pretty cool, right? It’s like charitable YouTube.
How are you changing up your peer-to-peer strategy? Is your nonprofit an innovator? I’d love to hear more. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re interested in learning more about peer-to-peer fundraising, check out the NonProfit PRO Peer to Peer Advanced Conference in Philadelphia on November 4-5.
Nhu Te is senior content manager at Fundraise Up, the AI-powered online donation platform for enterprise nonprofits. In her work, she focuses on helping nonprofits create more impact through personalized donor relations, digital fundraising and thoughtful use of technology.