Peer-to-Peer Fundraising: The Ultimate Guide

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How to use peer-to-peer fundraising software to revitalize your supporters and reinvigorate your fundraising

What is Peer-to-Peer Fundraising?

Peer-to-peer fundraising (also known as P2P, social fundraising, or DIY fundraising) turns donors into fundraisers by enabling them to set up individual or team campaign pages to raise money for a united cause.

Who Can Use Peer-to-Peer Fundraising?

Organizations of all sizes can make use of peer-to-peer fundraising! Since these campaigns are so easy and cost-effective, nonprofits, churches, schools, and almost any other organization can make use of them.

How Can We Get Started with Peer-to-Peer?

The first tip we’ll give for starting a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign is finding the right software, which makes it possible to set up a main nonprofit campaign page as well as supporters’ individual fundraising pages.

The Foolproof Guide to Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

How Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Works

Step 1. Decide on your campaign structure and goals.

Just like any other fundraising campaign, you can adapt your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign to meet your needs.

Before you start rallying supporters, determine how you want your campaign to look. Will you tie your fundraiser to an event? Should your campaign be open-ended or within a set time frame?

Additionally, it’s imperative that you define your fundraising goals from the beginning. Keeping in mind the length of your campaign and your organization’s overarching fundraising strategy, you should determine an exact dollar amount you aim to bring in.

Step 2. Select your platform.

The right fundraising software is essential to any peer-to-peer campaign, as it makes it possible for your organization and your supporters to set up fundraising pages and collect donations.

There are a number of peer-to-peer platforms available, so make sure you find one that matches up with your goals and needs—and is well within your budget.


Step 3. Set up your campaign page.

Your peer-to-peer campaign will encompass both your nonprofit’s main fundraising page and your fundraisers’ individual pages.

While you can help your supporters customize their pages to share why your cause is important to them, your organization is responsible for designing a main fundraising page that serves as the hub of your peer-to-peer campaign.

Add a compelling description, high-quality photos and videos, and as much information as you can about why your fundraising campaign is important. Don’t forget to provide event details if you’re hosting one alongside your campaign!

Step 4. Empower your fundraisers for success.

Since your supporters will be taking on much of the legwork for this campaign, you’ll need to make sure they’re well-equipped for the task at hand—bringing in donations and raising awareness for your cause!

Most of your P2P participants will likely be long-term supporters of your nonprofit, but it’s still important to educate them on your cause and provide them with materials to most effectively get the word out.

One of the best ways to help out your fundraisers is to supply them with social media and email templates to make it easy for them to share the campaign and ask for donations. No matter what you do, it’s important to stay an active part of your campaign—it is your fundraiser, after all!

Step 5. Keep up with your campaign.

There are a lot of moving parts that make a peer-to-peer campaign successful.

From individual progress, event participation, and overall fundraising momentum, you’ll need to track all the components of your campaign to ensure you accomplish your goals.

Your peer-to-peer platform should provide various reporting tools to help you measure your success at every stage of the game. Check in at least once a week to see what parts of your strategies are working well and which need to be adjusted.

Advantages of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

For Organizations

Engage Existing Supporters
Peer-to-peer campaigns make it easy to boost engagement with your supporters by providing a fun, interactive way to get involved with your cause. Plus, when you add elements like events and gamification, your donors will be even more excited to participate.

Draw in New Donors
Since supporters are sharing their campaign page with their own networks both online and off, an effective peer-to-peer campaign can raise awareness with tons of new supporters! Check out our resource on How to Launch an Awareness Campaign.

Raise Funds Efficiently
A peer-to-peer campaign isn’t just easy to launch—it’s highly cost-effective, too! Given how many new supporters you’ll be able to reach, peer-to-peer is one of the most inexpensive fundraising strategies available.

For Donors

Personalize Involvement
Peer-to-peer fundraising enables donors to show friends why this cause is important to them on a personal level. Most platforms allow fundraisers to customize their pages by adding their own stories, photos, and videos.

Engage in a New Way
For some nonprofit supporters, clicking the “submit donation” button is the extent of their involvement. With a peer-to-peer campaign, donors can see a different side of fundraising and engage with a cause they care about in a more intentional way.

Share Your Passion with the Community
During a campaign, donors are encouraged to share their own pages on social networks and in person with friends and family. Getting to share a cause they love with everyone they know makes fundraising more exciting than ever!

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising vs. Crowdfunding

Peer-to-peer fundraising infographicPeer-to-Peer Fundraising

Peer-to-peer fundraising is a strategy wherein organizations enable supporters to set up individual or team fundraising pages to solicit donations for the nonprofit’s cause.

The organization uses specialized fundraising software to equip their supporters with the tools to raise funds on their own, with all donations going back to the organization.


Both organizations and individuals can use online crowdfunding platforms to raise money within a set amount of time.

Anyone can set up a personal fundraising campaign for any project, cause, or need they choose. Fundraisers keep all the money they raise, minus any platform and payment processing fees.

Check out our Crowdfunding vs. Peer-to-Peer fundraising resource.

Questions to Ask Before You Launch a Campaign

Although peer-to-peer fundraising is a relatively inexpensive, simple fundraising method, your team will need to expend some resources to pull off a campaign.

If you’re hosting an event, designing merchandise, or creating marketing materials, you’ll also need to consider these costs.

Don’t forget to factor in the time and effort needed to conduct a successful peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, too. You’ll need to make sure your entire team is dedicated to all aspects of the campaign, even if you’re not the ones doing the direct fundraising.

Peer-to-peer fundraising can work for all different types of organizations, but your campaign won’t get very far off the ground if your donors aren’t on board with your campaign.

Social fundraising relies on dedicated donors to carry the weight of your fundraising endeavors. To make sure you’re prepared for a successful peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, check in with your most involved donors or volunteers to see if they’d be interested in participating.

To make the most of your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, you’ll likely want to plan an event to host in conjunction with your fundraiser.

Event-planning requires major forethought and consideration, so don’t wait until the last minute to start preparing. Your software may come with some built-in event management tools, such as registration, so make the most of those if possible.

For more about peer-to-peer fundraising events, jump to that section of the guide!

Perhaps the most important question to ask before jumping into your P2P campaign—are you set up with the right tools for the job?

There are a number of peer-to-peer fundraising software providers, so do some careful research as you enter into the buying process. Not only should you consider the features of the platform, but also the costs, support, and user-friendliness as well.

Launching Your Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Software Features to Look For

Customization Options

Your platform should make it easy to create a campaign that’s entirely your own. From your goals to the look and feel of your fundraising page, your peer-to-peer campaign should reflect your nonprofit’s mission and brand.

Social Sharing Features

Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns are inherently social. Without the ability to quickly share individual campaign pages across social media, it would be significantly harder to spread awareness or encourage donations.

Gamification Tools

Peer-to-peer campaigns are unique in their ability to inspire fun competition among your supporters. Features like leaderboards, personal fundraising thermometers, and team pages can all enhance the excitement surrounding your cause.

Integration Capabilities

With each donation, you’ll be collecting important donor data. When your peer-to-peer software integrates with your nonprofit CRM, all the information you gather will seamlessly flow into your donor database, no additional effort required.

Considerations Before Purchasing P2P Software

You want your fundraising software to grow with your organization, and peer-to-peer fundraising software shouldn’t be an exception.

Make sure that your platform not only fits your fundraising needs now, but can continue to do so in the future. Search for software that can accommodate as many fundraisers as you anticipate for your current campaign, with room to grow for future peer-to-peer fundraising projects too.

As with any software, a peer-to-peer fundraising platform may require some initial investment from your organization. That being the case, you’ll want to set a reasonable budget before you start shopping around.

While most platforms will cost an initial fee, watch out for other down-the-line expenses as well. Transaction fees, training costs, payment processing charges, and other fees may impact the total amount you spend on your software.

Keeping up with your fundraising campaign is a task in and of itself, so make sure you find a platform that will help you manage your progress during and following your campaign.

Look for software with comprehensive reporting features that can help you track progress across a number of different metrics, including overall progress against your goal and individual success.

Any time you accept online donations, security should be a top priority. With peer-to-peer fundraising, your donors will be sharing their fundraising pages with everyone they know, so you’ll need to make sure that your platform provides them all with a positive, secure giving experience.

Ask potential vendors about their payment processing solutions so that you can ensure they’re maintaining the highest standards of security and have tools in place to detect and prevent fraud.

Some peer-to-peer fundraising software will be more user-friendly or easy-to-learn than others, so make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into before you make your final decision.

Ask to see a demo of the software to see what the user experience is like. Additionally, ask your vendor what training and support they offer should you encounter any learning curves or issues.

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Events

Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns pair well with active, community-based events.

Since these fundraisers are so social, it’s important that your event is open and communal. Even better if it incorporates some friendly competition or teamwork—like the campaign itself!

Be creative with your event, but feel free to draw inspiration from one of our examples!

  • Obstacle Course
  • Endurance Run
  • 5K Race
  • Walkathon
  • Team Sports
  • Cycling Competition

Learn how to plan the perfect fundraising event!

Best Practices for Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaigns

Market Across All Channels

While social media and email are the most common marketing methods for peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns, traditional methods like direct mail can be highly effective too. The more you diversify your promotions, the more likely you are to appeal to a wide range of individuals!

Tell Your Story

Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns are all about connecting with others through a shared support of your cause. On your campaign page and fundraising materials, make sure you’re telling the story behind your campaign and showing potential donors how their contributions can impact the community or world around them.

Recognize Your Fundraisers

Your fundraisers are working hard to promote your cause during your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, so don’t let their dedication go unnoticed. You should always thank fundraisers (and donors) personally, but you can also show your gratitude publicly by highlighting fundraisers on your social media pages or at your event.

Add Merchandise to the Mix

Your fundraisers might need that extra push to keep their fundraising efforts going strong, and merchandise can be a fabulous incentive! As fundraisers hit campaign milestones, reward them with branded t-shirts or other products. You can also set up a merchandise table at your event to sell items that promote your cause.

Inspire Friendly Competition

Everyone’s a winner during a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, but that doesn’t mean you can’t liven up your campaign by incorporating some fun and games. Tools like leaderboards and fundraising thermometers will inspire fundraisers to go the extra mile, and you can amp it up by offering rewards to the highest fundraisers.

Stay Hands-On

You can maintain engagement with your fundraisers by taking an active role in your campaign. Offer donation request templates, provide campaign support, and acknowledge your fundraisers’ success. By staying active online and updating supporters on overall progress, you’ll demonstrate that you value their work.

Additional Fundraising Software Resources

Supercharge Your Peer-to-Peer Fundraising with OneCause