Families and Friends and Peers ... Oh My!!!
The art of fundraising has evolved greatly over the years. This evolution is due to many changes — changes in the marketplace, changes in donors, introduction of new channels and much more. One such strategy is peer-to-peer fundraising, and no, I'm not talking about a run, walk or other event strategy. And the volunteers are not board members. This strategy has been around forever and has gone through a lot of shifts but continues to be a fantastic source of new donors, new volunteers and bottom-line revenue for organizations.
I had a chance to talk with Kimberly Haywood, who is vice president of direct-response fundraising for the March of Dimes. I also interviewed Ken Dawson, president of Eleventy Marketing Group and one of the industry's top experts on this strategy. We talked about current programs, changes they have seen and where they think all of this is heading.
Below are their thoughts on the successes (and challenges) with this strategy, how it benefits organizations and the evolution that has occurred over the years.
Navigating off the Napkin: How long has March of Dimes used a targeted residential/peer-to-peer fundraising strategy?
Kim Haywood: Our roots actually go back to January 1950, when Mothers March started as a door-to-door grassroots canvas appeal to help raise funds in the fight against polio. Back then it was mothers (and fathers) marching to every house that had a porch light turned on in the neighborhood collecting donations dollar by dollar. In the early '90s, March of Dimes started engaging professional telemarketers to really help expand the recruitment of our neighborhood volunteer base.
NON: How would you describe the evolution from "targeted residential" to "peer to peer"?
Ken Dawson: I believe that the primary driver in this change has been the relative strength of soliciting a close group of "peers" for fundraising as opposed to the heavily acquisition-based residential campaigns. Simply put, the ROI of soliciting pure prospects to become a volunteer and ask their neighbors to donate has dropped over time. This is because of several factors:
Vice President, Strategy & Development
Eleventy Marketing Group
Angie is ridiculously passionate about EVERYTHING she’s involved in — including the future and success of our nonprofit industry.
Angie is a senior exec with 25 years of experience in direct and relationship marketing. She is a C-suite consultant with experience over the years at both nonprofits and agencies. She currently leads strategy and development for marketing intelligence agency Eleventy Marketing Group. Previously she has worked at the innovative startup DonorVoice and as general manager of Merkle’s Nonprofit Group, as well as serving as that firm’s CRM officer charged with driving change within the industry. She also spent more 14 years leading the marketing, fundraising and CRM areas for two nationwide charities, The Arthritis Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Angie is a thought leader in the industry and is frequent speaker at events, and author of articles and whitepapers on the nonprofit industry. She also has received recognition for innovation and influence over the years.