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How to Plan a Successful Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign

If your nonprofit fundraising team is looking to up the ante this year, it’s time to start thinking about peer-to-peer fundraising events. Peer-to-peer fundraising, also known as social fundraising, is when nonprofits leverage their current donors’ social networks, lists, and audiences to drive more donations on their behalf.

From social media to gamification apps to dynamic display ads to competitive giving events, peer-to-peer fundraising reaches new audiences where they spend the most time — and it does so in a way that motivates and encourages.

As millennials become more engaged and involved in driving social change, the peer-to-peer fundraising event is taking center stage. It’s now par for the course for nonprofit teams to leverage some sort of peer-to-peer or social fundraising event throughout the year. With such an over-saturation of donation requests and charitable giving opportunities, nonprofits must make their campaigns stand out from the crowd.

In this article we’ll explore the following key steps your nonprofit should take to plan a successful peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, as well as a bonus checklist to ensure nothing slips through the cracks:

  1. Identify your campaign goals
  2. Get creative with your event format
  3. Enhance your campaign with social media
  4. Empower donors to increase engagement
  5. Scale and grow your event to a wider audience

Step 1: Identify your campaign goals

Before you start planning how you want to raise charitable donations, your nonprofit team must lay out clear, achievable goals to help dictate strategy and focus for the long run. There are two types of goals to consider: financial and non-financial. Financial goals, of course, take into consideration how much money your cause wants to raise. It’s important to factor in other sources of donations outside of simple donor contributions, for instance, sponsorships, registration fees, and other external fundraising sources that are aimed at maximizing donation potential.

Non-financial goals are more ambiguous. Non-financial goals come into play when figuring out how your charity wants to grow its audience — think of it as the reach you want to strive for with donors. Say your organization currently has 2,000 people on the donor list. If each one of those people invites 10 others to join in the campaign, your new mailing list would be over 20,000. Non-financial goals are especially important for newer organizations or nonprofits just getting their name out to a wider audience.

Step 2: Get creative with your campaign format

Now comes the fun part – deciding what type of fundraising campaign you want to hold. First, your nonprofit must decide upon the budget, which will determine the type of event you’re able to host. It’s also important to take into account extra expenses like overhead costs, staff salaries, marketing costs, and any software costs that may come up. Once the budget is determined, it’s time to weigh the pros and cons of the various event types or fundraising campaigns and then decide which one you will pursue. There are several tried-and-true types of peer-to-peer fundraising events that nonprofits typically rely on:

Walks, runs, rides, or other physical events: These are the traditional walks or bike rides that many organizations turn to. They’re easy and fun for both the organizers and the participants, which is what makes them so popular. They’re also easy to share with large audiences and often attract participants that are new to the cause.

Supporter-driven events: Supporter-driven events are often called DIY events because they are driven directly by donors. These campaigns present an effortless way for nonprofits to raise funds . Participants can host their own ‘events’ in a gamified atmosphere to raise money for any cause or program. DIY campaigns are often executed in a virtual format, which makes it easier to reach new audiences. Supporter-driven events empower participants to raise funds on behalf of the charity by organizing activities like cycling rides, cooking classes, yoga, or even giving a percentage of retail shop sales back to the charity.

External challenges: These events are hosted by an external organization but involve multiple nonprofit sponsors driving their own campaigns. Examples include large marathons or events like Race for the Cure.

Corporate fundraisers: These large-scale campaigns are often a mixture of multiple types of peer-to-peer events, which make them perfect for bringing a worthy cause to a large community, employee, or fan base.

Step 3: Enhance your campaign with social media

Once your team is ready to roll with your event or campaign of choice, it’s time to enhance the reach and engage more participants. Social media is an incredibly helpful tool for nonprofits as it makes it easy for donors and participants to share campaign details with their own audiences. With the right solutions in place, nonprofits can monitor social media feeds like Twitter or Instagram to pick on any specific hashtags or mentions of the campaign. If you’re running a social media feed, make sure you’re posting timely updates to keep followers engaged. You may also consider the advantages of leveraging social fundraising tools to increase donations directly from social feeds.

Step 4: Empower donors to increase engagement

The easiest way to meet and surpass your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign goals is by making it as easy as possible for donors and evangelists to share the campaign with others. While this is, of course, the overarching goal of peer-to-peer fundraising, it should never be a convoluted process. Nonprofits must provide donors and supporters with the right tools and resources to help them recruit, fundraise, and promote year-round. A great first step to achieving this is to identify a ‘top donor’ group and to share campaign resources with those individuals including tools like display ads, online plugins, and more. Your nonprofit can take advantage of social media by bringing together all participants, donors, photos, videos and social posts for your hashtag and with engaging leaderboard technology, participants and teams can always see where they stack up in the campaign fundraising process.

Step 5: Scale and grow your event to a wider audience

The last step, yet one that’s often forgotten by many nonprofits, is to put processes in place to help campaigns grow and expand over time. The best way to achieve this is by utilizing a peer-to-peer software platform. These intuitive solutions help nonprofits create online fundraising pages, track social media metrics in real-time, and help donors communicate with their peer audiences. With secure, reliable technology in place, your peer-to-peer campaigns can grow a life of their own both in 2018 and beyond.

Bonus! Make peer-to-peer campaigns even easier with this comprehensive checklist:

  • ­­Research other types of peer-to-peer campaigns on the market
  • Determine your campaign goals, budget, and format
  • Work with your team to develop, market, and execute your winning peer-to-peer fundraiser
  • Integrate your online fundraising platform with your social feeds and website
  • Share all campaign details with your donor lists
  • Complete the loop by re-engaging with new donors through email campaigns or social ads
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