9 Peer-to-Peer Virtual Fundraising Best Practices

Your nonprofit has probably heard a lot about peer-to-peer fundraising, also known as social fundraising, lately. With the move to virtual fundraising, it’s an easy strategy to engage supporters online and amplify your reach!

Not only is it a great way to interact with your current supporters, it’s also a new way to bring social and fun to your campaigns.  Plus  peer-to-peer fundraising enables your nonprofit to acquire new supporters.

If you plan on hosting a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign any time soon, you’ll want to have these top 9 best practices in your back pocket.

  1. Start planning early
  2. Choose the right platform
  3. Select your fundraisers
  4. Train your supporters
  5. Offer incentives
  6. Gamify your peer-to-peer campaign
  7. Promote, promote, promote!
  8. Launch your virtual campaign
  9. Show gratitude & impact

1. Start Planning Your Virtual Peer-to-Peer Early

One of the key components for success of your peer-to-peer campaign, especially in a virtual world, is solid planning.

Specifically, you’ll need:

  • Purchase software
  • Recruit and training fundraising teams
  • Develop you marketing strategy
  • Building an engagement plan

It’s important to give yourself enough wiggle room to work through these details. The more time you can give to planning, the better you’ll be able to execute a powerful online campaign!

2. Choose the Right Platform

Arguably, one of the most important components of your peer-to-peer campaign is the platform you use.

To engage supporters online and keep them fundraising, you need to ensure an easy giving experience. So the software you choose and use needs to be a central component to your virtual campaign.

Remember everyone will interact with it in (staff, volunteers, participants, donors) so be sure to do your due diligence.

Key features that you will want to look for when shopping around for a peer-to-peer platform include:

  • Easy set-up (for you and your fundraisers)
  • Customization options
  • Sharing integrations (social media and email)
  • Integration with your other software
  • Data tracking and reporting
  • Message boards.

Of course, every peer-to-peer platform will have slightly different features. Prioritize what you need and what’s most important to your fundraisers.

BONUS CONTENT: Check out our P2P Buyer’s Guide for insider tips on choosing the right software.

3. Select Your Peer-to-Peer Fundraisers

Your peer-to-peer fundraisers will come from your existing donor and volunteer pool.

Look for people that are passionate about your cause and have a track record with your organization. These are typically good measures of engagement – the more engaged, the more likely to reach or exceed fundraising goals!

Look for the following when selecting your peer-to-peer fundraisers:

  • Sustained Giving: Look for sustained givers, those who’ve given to your organization for months or years.
  • Volunteer Time: It’s not always about money! Look for those who regularly interact with your nonprofit, giving their time.
  • Social Media Clout:  A supporter who has a strong social media presence can help drive greater reach and leverage their wider networks for fundraising success.

No matter who you select, be sure to formally invite them to be a part of your peer-to-peer campaign.

Pick up the phone, make calls, send them a note, or create a personal (not a form!) email. Today’s Social Fundraisers value personal connection to the causes they support, so make them feel special out of the gate.

4. Train Your Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Supporters

While your peer-to-peer fundraisers might be excited about your campaign, it’s crucial to train your supporters properly before you send them off virtual fundraise.

Good training often consists of:

  • Group sessions (zoom, or online conferencing works great)
  • Recorded videos or webinars
  • Fundraiser Toolkits
  • Samples email and social media post templates

It might help to have all of your peer-to-peer fundraisers signed up for the campaign by a certain deadline so that you can train them all at the same time.

You can also ask your supporters what resources they think they’ll need to be successful in a virtual world. They may need something that you didn’t even think of!

5. Offer Incentives During Your Peer-to-Peer Campaign

This tip goes for both your peer-to-peer fundraisers as well as the people who donate to your campaign.

Incentives are a great way to give your fundraisers a little acknowledgement for their hard work. Every time they pass a milestone, reward them a different perk. 

For instance, if a fundraiser raises a certain amount for your nonprofit, they might receive a badge, swag, special experience.

Setting up fundraising perks can motivate peer-to-peer participants and increase your virtual fundraising success.

Check out how Well Aware uses incentives and online rewards to drive campaign success.

6. Gamify Your Virtual Campaign

How can you keep fundraisers motivated throughout the campaign?

To prevent the “peer-to-peer slump,” turn your campaign into a competition. With bragging rights at stake, your participants are more motivated to stay engaged till they reach (or exceed) their goal.

Easy strategies to gamify your campaign include:

  • Use leaderboards. Display your top fundraisers and how much they’ve raised using a leaderboard. Donors will be more motivated to fundraise when they see their name on the top of your list.
  • Give badges for significant milestones. Badges are images that participants can place on their peer-to-peer pages to mark fundraising milestones. The more badges a fundraiser receives, the more money they’ve raised for your cause.
  • Display a fundraising thermometer. It’s important to update donors on your progress. Having a fundraising thermometer for your overall campaign, as well as for each individual, shows participants how far they’ve come.
  • Offer prizes to top ranking fundraisers. Who doesn’t love winning an awesome prize for their hard work? Motivate your fundraisers to finish the campaign strong by rewarding your top performers.

Remember that part of keeping donors motivated is interacting with them. Keep people updated on the top fundraisers and stoke the competitive fire with fun and regular progress updates.

7. Promote, Promote, Promote

Of course, all of your fundraising should be multichannel. In a world where people digest information via mobile phones, computers, tablets, social media, email, and other virtual channels, you need to reach donors via every method possible.

So be sure to think through how you can promote your virtual campaign to get the word out!

Your virtual campaign communication strategy should include the following channels:

  • Website: Promote your peer-to-peer campaign on your website. Most donors will find their way to your website to learn more about your cause, making it an ideal place to showcase your virtual peer-to-peer campaign.
  • Social media: Beyond Facebook and Twitter, be sure you are hitting Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok and event YouTube. Write short, punchy posts or videos to keep your followers pumped up to fundraise.
  • Email: Email continues to be one of the most successful fundraising methods out there. Send emails to your based asking them to get involved in your peer-to-peer fundraising efforts.
  • Phone: Going old school can be immensely effective. Pick up the phone, call your supporters – a few a week, and watch the personal engagement soar!

Don’t worry, you won’t have to do all the work. Peer-to-peer fundraising gets its name because it involves people (your supporters) asking their peers (their friends and family members) for donations.

8. Launch Your Virtual Campaign

Launching you peer-to-peer campaign is the final step to success. Here are best practices for launching your virtual campaign:

  • Have a virtual launch party.
  • Send launch swag to participants.
  • Do full-on social media blasts on all channels.

Be sure to test your campaign and pages before you go live, so you can work out any kinks before launch day!

9. Show Gratitude & Impact

Always remember to thank all of the people that contribute to your virtual campaign success! It’s also a time to bring your cause, the mission and the impact of their efforts to the forefront.

Everyone wants to feel like they made a difference, so be sure to share what you will do with the funds raised.

  • Send personalized letters or cards
  • Do social media shout outs
  • Send emails
  • Send pictures and impact stories
  • Quantify the impact of their support

Regardless of what type of thank-you message your nonprofit sends out, the important thing is that you send one.

Now that you have these 9 virtual peer-to-peer best practices, you’re ready to go out and host your own amazing online campaign!

Wrapping Up!