6 Steps for Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaigns That Get Results
The peer-to-peer model is a great approach for extending your fundraising reach. In fact, “The Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Thirty,” which ranks the 30 largest U.S. peer-to-peer campaigns, found that these campaigns raised more than $1.39 billion in 2018.
But when you look at some of the creative and sophisticated events and campaigns out there, planning your own nonprofit’s peer-to-peer campaigns may seem intimidating. It doesn’t have to be!
No matter the size of your organization or the type of campaign your organization takes on, some thoughtful prep and a few best practices will go a long way toward realizing your peer-to-peer fundraising goals.
Here are six steps to help ensure the success of your next peer-to-peer campaign:
1. Do Some Real-World Research
Sign up for another organization’s peer-to-peer campaign (or two or three campaigns), and take notes from the perspective of a volunteer fundraiser. Some things to pay attention to:
- How easy is it to sign up as a participant?
- What tools does the organization provide you?
- What kind of coaching and support does the organization give you?
- What do you like/dislike about the process of fundraising for the organization?
Take your learnings from this exercise and apply them to your next campaign.
2. Identify Your Goals
Think about what you want to achieve and how much money your campaign will raise. Here are some considerations:
- Non-financial goals. List the top supporters who you think would be likely to participate in your campaign. Multiply that number of supporters by the number of participants you think they can recruit, and then multiply the resulting number by the number of participants those participants likely can recruit. This number will be your overall participant goal. Apply this same approach to other non-financial goals, such as number of new donors, number of sponsors and percent of board/staff involvement.
- Financial goals. Add the following items to estimate how much your campaign or event will raise:
- If you plan to offer sponsorship opportunities, think about how many sponsors you can secure at various levels of support.
- Determine if you want to require a registration fee and, if so, how much. Then multiply that number by the number of estimated participants to calculate your estimated total registration revenue.
- Consider how much you think each of your participant groups will raise. Multiply that amount by the total number of estimated participants to set a fundraising revenue goal.
3. Establish Your Budget
Estimate the costs for your campaign. Be sure to include:
- Staff time for campaign strategy; copywriting; participant support; fundraiser coaching; and event, website and database management
- Marketing costs for graphic design, advertising, printing of flyers and postage for direct mail
- Cost of software that allows fundraisers to create their own fundraising pages, send emails to friends and family, use social media to share their page and accept donations online
- Event costs if your campaign is related to a physical event
4. Decide on a Format
Your goals and budget should help drive your campaign format, and the format of your campaign may require you to adjust your goals and budget. Here are some possible campaign types:
- Proprietary physical events. Nonprofit-hosted events, such as walks or rides, that take place on a certain date. Participants sometimes pay a fee to sign up and also raise additional funds once registered.
- Challenge/endurance/destination events. Events that are hosted by an entity other than a nonprofit (like the Chicago Marathon), and often have multiple beneficiaries. Participants can register to participate and fundraise on behalf of your nonprofit.
- Virtual campaigns. Campaigns organized by a nonprofit, without a physical event. With these campaigns, the organization provides an online environment for participants to set up their own fundraising page in support of a specific campaign created by the nonprofit.
- Independent fundraising/DIY campaigns. Allow participants to host their own events or campaigns and invite friends and family to attend or participate to raise funds for your organization.
5. Build a Team
For a successful campaign, you’ll need people from across your organization to support various aspects of the project. Some key roles may include:
- Campaign leader to oversee the campaign
- Marketing manager to provide writing, graphic design, promotional and PR help
- IT representative to help with any software platform implementation and integration with other systems
- Finance manager to ensure appropriate donation processes are in place
- Fundraising manager to help participants fundraise
6. Select a Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Software Platform
Your supporters need a way to create online fundraising pages, send emails to friends and family, use social media and accept donations online. Your staff needs a way to communicate with volunteer fundraisers and track campaign performance. So you’ll need a software platform in place.
This can be a bit of a project in itself, but well worth taking the time to find the right platform for your organization’s needs. Here are some tips for how to choose a peer-to-peer fundraising platform.
Take the Next Step
Planning is just the beginning of successful peer-to-peer fundraising. Read “The Nonprofit’s Guide to Peer-to-Peer Fundraising” for more tips on planning, building, running and wrapping up a successful campaign.
Mark founded Cathexis Partners in 2008 to help nonprofit organizations get the most from their existing technology tools, implement new technology to address gaps and find the best overall approach to using technology to support their missions. He previously served as director of IT consulting at a fundraising event production company focused on nonprofits.
Mark also serves on the editorial advisory board for NonProfit PRO, where he contributes monthly to his blog, “Nonprofit Tech Matters.”