Blackbaud Study Points to the Future of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
The Blackbaud “Reimagining Your Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Programs: A Guide to Evolving Beyond Virtual" came out recently. The writing team did a great job of producing valuable data and interpreting it for easy consumption.
The study walks through reimagining in-person events, both competitive and noncompetitive, and digital peer-to-peer programs, like DIY, giving days, livestream and crowdfunding.
Below are the highlights of the entire study, but the opening statement sets the stage for your future peer-to-peer strategy:
“The key to driving local engagement is to give your volunteers, event participants and team captains, the tools, ideas and freedom to engage their local community on their own terms.”
Correctly, the document underscores the constituents’ desire to feel a sense of community. And that we — professional fundraisers — are perfectly positioned to provide that by tailoring an engaging peer-to-peer fundraising experience. When we do it right, they raise money for a nonprofit mission while at the same time meeting their own personal, human needs.
- Do something; don’t subject your constituents to the consequences of your indecision. Provide a construct in which they can act locally, reinforcing their identity as someone who is connected to your mission.
- Staff also experiences negative consequences of indecision and inaction. Without an overarching goal, staff cannot make autonomous decisions or experience success. Stymied, they become dissatisfied and feel powerless.
- Sixty-two percent of events pivoted to virtual, 20% were rescheduled and 18% were canceled.
- Overall fundraising is down 53% YOY; registration is down 57% YOY. These declines are increasing over time.
- Fall registration declines are far outpacing fall event cancellations. This is bad. The writing team (and we at Turnkey) believe these negative statistics are driven by our collective inaction, by clinging to the promise of in-person events. Your one vocal neighbor who refuses to wear a facemask and believes the pandemic is fake is the exception. A population that is afraid to be in large crowds is the rule. If you build it, they will not come. Not right now. Designing a new way to drive engagement is critical to your success. Even more important, it is vital to your constituents’ comfort and willingness to engage.
- Adoption of Facebook Fundraising is growing. Its importance cannot be diminished or ignored. Read the entire section starting on page 11.
- Teams are still magic. Team captain engagement has remained most steady.
- Average online gift is up, likely due to more committed constituents and the absence of new participants and donors (who have always been less invested).
- DIY, relief and crowdfunding are on the rise.
What are the components of the reimagined P2P event?
- Community building: Not “registering” anymore, but “joining the community.”
- Digital experience: A different one than what they had last year.
- Optional on-the-ground experience: More than a Zoom celebration will be required to satisfy constituents’ need for connection and empowerment.
All in all, this is a fantastic study that demonstrates our industry’s pivot to focusing on our constituents’ needs to design our programs. We can no longer afford to put our own organizational needs first.
Success comes to those who best satisfy the constituent. With healthy respect for the forthcoming “cease-and-desist” letter from Nike, we implore you: “Just Do It.”
Otis Fulton, Ph.D., spent most of his career in the education industry, working at the psychometric research and development firm MetaMetrics Inc., Pearson Education and others. Since 2013, he has focused on the nonprofit sector, applying psychology to fundraising and donor behavior at Turnkey. He is the co-author of the 2017 book, ”Dollar Dash: The Behavioral Economics of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising,” and the 2023 book, "Social Fundraising: Mining the New Peer-to-Peer Landscape," and is a frequent speaker at national nonprofit conferences. With Katrina VanHuss, he co-authors a blog at NonProfit PRO, “Peeling the Onion,” on the intersection of psychology and philanthropy.
Otis is a much sought-after copywriter for nonprofit fundraising messages. He has written campaigns for UNICEF, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, March of Dimes, Susan G. Komen, the USO and dozens of other organizations. He has a Ph.D. in social psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Virginia, where he also played on UVA’s first ACC champion basketball team.
Katrina VanHuss has helped national nonprofits raise funds and friends since 1989 when she founded Turnkey. Her client’s successes and her dedication to research have made her a sought-after speaker, presenting at national conferences for Blackbaud, Peer to Peer Professional Forum, Nonprofit PRO, The Need Help Foundation and her clients’ national meetings. The firm’s work is underpinned by the study and application of behavioral economics and social psychology. Turnkey provides project engagements, coaching, counsel and staffing to nonprofits seeking to improve revenue or create new revenue. Her work extends into organizational alignment efforts and executive coaching.
Katrina regularly shares her wit and business experiences on her and Otis Fulton's NonProfit PRO blog “Peeling the Onion.” She and Otis are also co-authors of the books, "Dollar Dash: The Behavioral Economics of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising" and "Social Fundraising: Mining the New Peer-to-Peer Landscape." When not writing or researching, Katrina likes to make things — furniture from reclaimed wood, new gardens, food with no recipe. Katrina’s favorite Saturday is spent cleaning out the garage, mowing the grass, making something new, all while listening to loud music by now-deceased black women, throwing in a few sets on the weight bench off and on, then collapsing on the couch with her husband Otis to gang-watch new Netflix series whilst drinking sauvignon blanc.
Katrina grew up on a Virginia beef cattle and tobacco farm with her three brothers. She is accordingly skilled in hand to hand combat and witty repartee — skills gained at the expense of her brothers. Katrina’s claim to fame is having made it to the “American Gladiator” Richmond competition as a finalist in her late 20s, progressing in the competition until a strangely large blonde woman knocked her off a pedestal with an oversized pain-inducing Q-tip. Katrina’s mantra for life is “Be nice. Do good. Embrace embarrassment.” Clearly she’s got No. 3 down.