Social Fundraisers: 4 Tips to Set Them Up for Success

The peer-to-peer participant experience encompasses all stages of the fundraising journey. Whether it’s participant recruitment, registration and set-up, motivation for engagement, updating progress or ongoing communications, the participant experience is critical to success and ongoing retention.

There are several warning signs that you need to take a pause and relook at your participant experience:

  • Delayed fundraising: Participants waiting until the last minute to fundraise.
  • A drop in returning participants: Declining retention in your event or campaign.
  • Stagnant fundraising: Hitting a fundraising plateau with your campaign year-over-year.
  • Missed fundraising goals: Individual and team goals are not being met by a majority of participants.

If your peer-to-peer event or campaign is suffering from one (or all four) of these warning signs, don’t worry, we’ve got new strategies to help your nonprofit reinvigorate your fundraising.

Released at the end of 2019, The Social Fundraiser Study surveyed 1,000+ peer-to-peer participants to unpack what’s important to them in the participant experience and what motivates them for success. In this blog, we’ve summarized key actionable insights for nonprofits to positively change their participant experience and fundraising impact.

A great participant experience starts with registration. How easy it is to sign-up and start fundraising sets the tone for a positive fundraising experience. To get there, intuitive software that is designed with participants in mind is incredibly important. This might be the first encounter the participant will have with your organization – let’s make it great!

Set your peer-to-peer participants up for success with these top 4 peer-to-peer registration tips:

  1. Simplify the Registration and Set-Up Process
  2. Accelerate Registration for Returning Participants
  3. Make It Easy to Start or Join a Team at Any Time
  4. Empower Participants with Goal Setting

No more guessing games when it comes to Social Fundraiser feedback and the perfect fundraising experience. Get ready—you’ll want to keep reading.

Simplify Registration and Set-up

#1: Simplify the Registration and Set-Up Process


You would never invite friends to your house with all doors dead-bolted and no way to get in—so don’t put the same barriers on your registration process!

Welcome participants with an easy to navigate registration process and the tools they need to get started fundraising out of the gate.

While 62 percent of respondents say it was very easy to register, less than half of those surveyed think it is easy to start or join a team [see Figure 11].

Easy Registration

Figure 11: % Very Easy for Registration and Set-Up

Think of ways that to automate and make registration easy. Walk through your registration process through the eyes of your participants. Ask yourself if you have the following “easy passes” in place:

  • Integrated social network logins: Can your participants register with a simple click of a button? The quickest way to get your peer-to-peer participants in the door is to integrate their social network logins. Not to mention, one less password for participants to remember.
  • Social sharing: Is your technology setup to automatically sync social profiles? This enables participants to easily recruit others and spread your event, campaign, and cause.
  • Automated social invitations: Can team captains instantly post on social media and invite their friends to join their team?
  • Flexibility to create teams: Do you make it easy for teams to recruit supporters? Registration and set-up for teams can be a complicated process for team captains when managing multiple team members. Make it easy on them and allow them to start a team at any time, while also allowing participants to join a team at any time.

Page Set-Up

Once you get your participants have registered, there needs to be a clear process of where they need to go and what they need to do next.

Streamlining participant page set-up has significant room for improvement across the board of peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns.

Set up and Registration Call out

A participant’s individual fundraising page is what peer-to-peer fundraising is all about—empowering others to share their personal connection to the mission and fundraise on your behalf.

Take a look at your participant page set-up. Make sure it’s easy for participants to:

  • Personalize their fundraising page: Make sharing personal stories, photos, video, etc. seamless for participants.
  • Incorporate email and social media: Provide simplified steps for email and social media integration (if it isn’t including in registration).
  • View individual progress of team members: Let gamification fuel your cause and allow team members to view their progress.
  • Update fundraising progress: Automate progress so your page is always giving your supporters a real-time notion of your progress to your fundraising goal.

The participant page setup have with your fundraising tools lays the foundation for continued engagement and retention. Make it a strong foundation!

Registration for Returning Participants

#2: Accelerate Registration for Returning Participants

Returning participants are gold to your peer-to-peer fundraising events. They are the solid ground for growing your mission and building the alliance and trust that ignites your cause.

Clearly your returning participants are ambassadors of your organization, but how easy are you making it for them to return and get started? Think about your favorite coffee shop. Your barista recognizes you, knows your order, and by the time you swipe your card, your vanilla latte with extra cream is ready at the other end. Your experience was welcoming, easy, and rewarding—the same goes for your returning participants.

Streamline this process for returning participants by:

  • Providing pre-populated registration that includes past donor lists
  • Personalize recommended goals based on their past performance
  • Reclaim their page/team from last year using the same fundraising technology

Make sure to generate a lapsed participant report that shows last year’s campaign participants who haven’t registered yet and give those fundraisers a personalized invitation back. Extra personalized communication can jump start returning participant registration by letting them know how important they are to your mission and the impact they create.

Continuing to build relationships with returning participants will add to a positive participant experience and help cultivate supporters for your mission.

Make Team Fundraising Easy

#3: Make It Easy to Start or Join a Team at Any Time

Team Fundraising Social Fundraisers

Thanks to The Social Fundraiser Study, we know peer-to-peer participants are more likely to exceed their goals if they fundraised on a team.

Not to mention, fundraising on a team (especially as a team captain) has a significant impact on the likelihood to exceed fundraising goals and increases the likelihood of continued support post-campaign. This means teams bring your mission more revenue.

Team Fundraising for Peer-to-Peer Participants

Building a sense of community among supporters is critical to your nonprofit’s success. As part of a community, they’ll be more likely to be engaged in your programming and activities, attend events, and volunteer when needed.

Take a look at how you utilize your fundraising teams pre-event, during the fundraising event, and post-event and see if there are ways you can go above and beyond to constantly engage that community.

Empowere Participants with Goal Setting

#4: Empower Participants with Goal Setting

Goal setting is crucial for the participant experience and successful fundraising. Ninety percent of those with an established fundraising goal met or exceeded that goal. If you don’t have your fundraising goals—start now!

Peer to Peer Participant Goal Setting

Goal setting is a delicate balance of the nonprofit providing a reasonable recommended goal and giving peer-to-peer participants ownership by having them set a personal fundraising goal.

Things to consider when recommending default goals include:

  • Average participant fundraising ($) from past campaigns
  • Consider campaign type: Evaluate the past performance of different campaigns you have executed. For example, participants in your run/walk/ride event might raise more on average than the participants raised for a Giving Tuesday campaign. Tailor the default goals so they reflect a reasonable amount per campaign type.
  • Recommend a small increase of the fundraising goal for teams: We know that teams tend to exceed their fundraising goal, so give them that extra push and let the gamification guide them there.
  • Personalize goals for returning participants based on their individual past performance

Take a look each year at your default fundraising goals for your participants and fine tune them. If the goals you set are too low, participants may reach their goal and stop fundraising, but if they are too high, they might get discouraged.

Peer-to-peer participants with goals are highly motivated by seeing fundraising progress. Having established fundraising goals sets the foundation for daily engagement—leading to more success in attaining the overall fundraising goal. Sixty-two percent of surveyed participants checked their progress daily, and those who raised more and exceeded their goals checked their progress multiple times per day (see FIGURE 22).

Peer to Peer Participant Goals and Checking Progress

Figure 22: How peer-to-peer participants (who checked their fundraising progress multiple times per day) performed in relation to their fundraising goal

Goal setting is not so much an exact science but more of an art. The most important thing a nonprofit can do is have an engaging fundraising technology tool that empowers their peer-to-peer participants and guides them to achieve their fundraising goals!

Great — What’s Next?

Today’s fundraising process looks very different than it did just a few years ago. Peer-to-peer participants want nonprofits to make the process as easy as possible.

Arm yourselves with new strategies from this blog to bring new light to the peer-to-peer participant perspective. It all starts with evaluating your current participant experience by identifying opportunities to make it an easier and more enjoyable experience to help your participants succeed. Propel your mission forward by setting your participants up for success!