How Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Events Can Get Active in a Virtual World
As we head toward the end of 2020, there continues to be an uncertainty around in-person events. Nonprofit organizations will need to continue to have a Plan V and invest in creating engaging and exciting virtual events for their communities.
Yet, how can peer-to-peer fundraising events that have traditionally relied on their fundraisers getting off the couch and onto the road translate those experiences into a digital-forward world?
Let’s unpack how a peer-to-peer fundraising program can utilize activity-tracking software, like Strava, and create an exciting merge between the virtual and physical. Organizations that invest in these strategies will also be able to quickly apply these lessons into physical events once it is safe to do so.
The Rise of Wearable Apps
Activity-tracking apps and wearable devices have been around for several years, but have really begun to take hold in the everyday lives of people all over the world. According to a study by Statista, the total number of wearable users connected to the 4G network in 2017 was 526 million. In 2022, this number is expected to reach 900 million active users.
FitBit, Apple Fit and other wearable devices usually have their own applications for automatically logging workouts, but the fitness social network Strava has seen its membership and usage triple since the start of the pandemic. As more and more individuals get outside or find ways to stay active indoors, it is vital to think about ways to translate their experiences into a fundraising environment as well.
One of the hallmarks of a great peer-to-peer fundraising program is the competitive spirit that it breeds and can be seen in the form of leaderboards, badges, social sharing and other storytelling elements that technology platforms should be supporting. Yet, many platforms focus solely on dollars raised, which misses a major reason why people are getting on something like a Peloton bike in the first place.
When designing your program, identify the primary activities people will be performing that should translate into leaderboards and personal achievement pages. Are you having a focused virtual fitness event like a Couch to 5K, or are you creating a Choose Your Own Adventure challenge where people can choose a number of activities? These should also then translate visually into your peer-to-peer team and individual fundraising pages, like the example shown below from Team Fox’s Zurich Fitness Challenge.
According to research by the Commission on the Donor Experience, there is a distinct increase in retention and satisfaction rates when organizations and fundraisers focus on making the donation process as pleasurable as possible. Organizations should be investing into ensuring that both their peer-to-peer fundraisers and their networks that are donating are enjoying the experience.
One of the more interesting innovations is how fitness activities are beginning to sync alongside fundraising progress during a campaign. Offering fundraisers the ability to sync to a platform like Strava or extend things out directly through mobile devices with an integration like Boundless Motion will streamline the ability for fundraisers to feel part of your virtual event.
Your organization should also consider some special challenges and communications to help energize your fundraisers and bring your community together digitally. Some ideas on how this translates into an activity challenge are:
- Issue a social media challenge for people to post themselves right before or after they’re working out.
- Create a theme day around a major fitness challenge milestone, such as “dress as a superhero” once your community reaches a certain number of miles biked.
- Offer incentives for first-time fundraisers to get active, such as entering all new fundraisers into a special raffle for a gift card to Oiselle.
Resource: Unpack 7 ideas for your virtual peer-to-peer event from Cathexis Partners.
Keep the Energy Up
With any peer-to-peer fundraising event, the interaction and engagement of fundraisers to keep them motivated should continue throughout the duration of the campaign. Your organization should be leveraging automated triggers around milestones that your fundraisers achieve, such as reaching a certain number of miles run or biked.
Spring events can help guide nonprofits looking to get creative heading into the next few months. Thinking about ways to engage your audience by blending old school tactics with digital delivery can help take your program to the next level. Some examples include:
- American Cancer Society invited their runners to join in a virtual run across the U.S. and back — then across again!
- ALS Association’s Greater Chicago chapter created Superhero Supply Boxes with tons of event branded goodies that it sent to participants.
- Lymphoma Research Foundation’s RallyOn event established a weekly Facebook Live spotlight on its event sponsors.
These are uncharted waters for all organizations, yet the ways that nonprofits are adapting should inspire a new approach to event planning even once things get back to a so-called normal. By intentionally planning virtual experiences that respect the event’s core focus while translating it into a digital environment, the number of participants and overall revenue will begin to grow.
Case Study: Learn how Bike4Chai is blending digital and in-person in a pandemic campaign that has helped raise $7.5 million for kids with cancer.
Tim Sarrantonio oversees Neon One’s ecosystem of software, consultant, and institutional partners that can address any nonprofit need. Neon One provides best in class products with NeonCRM, Rallybound, CiviCore, Arts People, and an ecosystem ensures that over 27 product integrations and over 90 consultants are working to solve problems specific to nonprofits.