The unique and successful water charity, Well Aware, was approaching its 8th year running their annual Shower Strike — a campaign where participants literally go on a shower strike (while being creative with their personal hygiene) until they reach their fundraising goal.
The event had reached a plateau, and the team knew they needed to do things differently. But what?Well Aware decided to work with us to try new ways to increase participation, fundraising and awareness.
The end result? A record-breaking year. Participation grew over 33%, fundraising increased 10%, and over 400K people were reached through social media.
“We knew our Shower Strike campaign had the potential to raise more. Working with OneCause gave us the opportunity to take a fresh look at our approach and try some new things. The result? We had our best Shower Strike ever.” –Sarah Evans Founder and Executive Director, WellAware
Here are tips that any nonprofit can use to improve your peer-to-peer fundraising, and like WellAware, hit record numbers:
Prior to Shower Strike, Well Aware launched an awareness campaign, #WaterThx, where participants were asked to post a selfie with a sign to share their appreciation for clean water. This brief campaign reached 135K people on social media, engaged younger supporters and helped prime their audience for the upcoming Shower Strike.
Well Aware started by personally reaching out to a small group of loyal supporters to invite to join Shower Strike and introduce them to the new online tools. They then continued their personal outreach to a second group of past participants, followed by marketing the campaign to their entire audience, with messaging appropriate for previous participants. During and following the Shower Strike week, they used participant and donor data to send encouraging progress emails. They were able to automate much of the messaging by sending emails based on participant’s interactions and progress in the campaign.
By linking their Facebook, Twitter and Google accounts with the OneCause Peer-to-Peer platform, participants could quickly look up friends to invite to join and donate to the Strike. The built-in message templates in our platform could be sent as-is or participants could personalize them before sending.
It’s important to engage participants right away once they register. You want to make it easy to post photos or videos, share stories and begin to earn points by recruiting, social sharing and fundraising. Our platform also makes it easy to launch mini-contests to let participants compete to win prizes before the event. This can be a great strategy to drive participation and fundraising because you can launch contests to see who can recruit or fundraise the most in a day or week. Also, since most events have a small number of high-performing fundraisers that no one else can come close to reaching, this is a great way to give participants more opportunities to compete.
To encourage participants to share on social media, it’s important to give them compelling reasons to do so and to make it easy. The platform allowed participants to post photos and videos directly to their fundraising pages or through their social media accounts. They could also blog about their experience each day and automatically have their posts shared on social channels and email.
Well Aware’s primary goals were to raise more money and raise more awareness, so they focused the rewards in those areas. Well Aware wanted to inspire more fundraising with meaningful recognition they knew their supporters would truly appreciate – and enthusiastically compete for. They decided to give the top fundraising individual and top fundraising team an incredible honor: to each have a water system dedicated in their name. In addition, they wanted to reward participants who helped them raise awareness and reach new people, so they offered cool prizes to the top social sharers.
In previous Shower Strike campaigns, Well Aware had successfully used a matching gift halfway through the Strike to encourage participants to raise more. With our platform, the matching gift can be defined well in-advance or added at the spur of the moment — the dates, total match amount, maximum match per donation and matching donor name (unless the matching donor wishes to remain anonymous). All matching gifts are automatically displayed in the timeline and increase the participant, team and overall fundraising totals.
Well Aware did a fantastic job sending emails with exciting updates, announcing the matching gift and sharing final results and appreciation to all who participated and donated. Our platform supported their efforts with real-time progress updates to motivate everyone along the way: the leader board showing standings, a timeline of social feeds, donations and activities, a photo and video gallery, a progress card with funds raised, the number of people reached on social media and the number of people who would now get access to clean water.
We hope these tips give you some ideas and encouragement for growing your own creative peer-to-peer fundraising event.