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What is Peer-to-Peer Fundraising: A Nonprofit’s Guide

Peer-to-peer fundraising is rapidly increasing in popularity as a nonprofit fundraiser. They are a powerful way to expand your donor reach, engage new networks, amplify your cause, and introduce a new fundraising stream. If you don’t already know about these campaigns, here’s a comprehensive guide to understand the basics.

We’ll cover the following topics:

  1. What is peer-to-peer fundraising?
  2. Who uses peer-to-peer fundraising?
  3. Why should my organization use peer-to-peer fundraising?
  4. Should my organization invest in peer-to-peer fundraising software?
  5. What are the different types of peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns?
  6. What kind of event can my organization host with our peer-to-peer fundraising campaign?
  7. How does a peer-to-peer fundraiser really work?
  8. How should my organization promote our peer-to-peer fundraising campaign?

If you’re ready to learn all about peer-to-peer fundraising, a strategy that’s chock full of potential revenue, let’s dive in!

1. What is peer-to-peer fundraising?

Peer-to-peer fundraising uses your supporters’ existing networks to help your organization raise money for a specific project or for your cause.

Your supporters raise money on behalf of your nonprofit, reaching out to friends, family, and other peers to ask for contributions.

A nonprofit uses peer-to-peer software to allow donors to create personal fundraising pages. This allows the individual is able to populate their fundraising page with a personal story, their connection to the nonprofit, and your branding. Donations go directly to your cause.

It’s important to note that peer-to-peer fundraising is often referred to as P2P fundraising, team fundraising, competitive giving, and social fundraising.

Bonus! Take a look at our Crowdfunding Vs. Peer-to-Peer Fundraising article to learn the vital differences between these two fundraisers.


2. Who uses peer-to-peer fundraising?

Nonprofits of all sizes use peer-to-peer fundraising! Religious organizations, schools and organizations, and all types of nonprofits use this fundraising idea because it’s an inexpensive method to raise money, connect with supporters, and spread awareness.

Your organization just needs supporters who are willing to fundraise on your behalf in order to host a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.

Your loyal supporters who have previously volunteered at other fundraising events are the best individuals to ask, along with board members and staff.


Why should my organization use peer-to-peer fundraising?

3. Why should my organization use peer-to-peer fundraising?

Social fundraising allows nonprofits like yours to develop and strengthen donor relationships. Because you’ll have recruited supporters to fundraise on your behalf, you’ll be working closely with them, so you’ll get to know them organically.

While these supporters have taken on the responsibility to fundraise for your organization, your organization can easily take on the responsibility of getting to know your loyal supporters.

You’ll be able to raise money naturally with peer-to-peer fundraising. Because your supporters will be reaching out to their peers, there’s no pressure for individuals to donate. Instead, there’s encouragement to donate because it supports a cause your fundraiser, their friend, cares about.

Plus, this helps your organization immediately expand your donor base through a mutual connection.

Peer-to-peer fundraising is one of the least expensive fundraisers around. You’re letting your supporters take the wheel with help from your fundraising and peer-to-peer platforms and tools are inexpensive, so your organization instantly minimizes costs.


Should my organization invest in peer-to-peer fundraising software?

4. Should my organization invest in peer-to-peer fundraising software?

Peer-to-peer fundraising software is a powerful event fundraising solution that helps your organization streamline your fundraiser. Keep in touch with each of your individual fundraisers and expand your reach to new giving networks.

The best peer-to-peer fundraising software solutions come loaded with incredible features that make your campaign a success.

Software will help you fully customize your peer-to-peer fundraising webpage, meaning that your site can be branded with your organization’s logo and color schemes. P2p sites can be branded to look like your general websites and campaigns, giving your donors a seamless donor experience.

Pick a solution that advertises an easy set-up so you’ll be able to post updates with compelling copy and powerful photos and videos. In addition, you can encourage your supporters to share your donation page with the social sharing options your provider offers. Most peer-to-peer donation pages feature sharing buttons for Facebook, Twitter, email, and more!


What are the different types of peer-to-peer fundraising software?

5. What are the different types of peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns?

Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns come in all different shapes and sizes! There are three main types of peer-to-peer fundraisers: peer-to-peer giving days, time-based campaigns, and rolling campaigns.

Peer-to-Peer Giving Days

Rising in popularity, these are basically compressed versions of peer-to-peer fundraisers that are squeezed into just 24 hours. Supporters are challenged to meet their goals or simply raise as much money as possible.

These days are often very hectic and exciting because it’s easy for donors to get competitive when contributing to a short campaign.

Time-Based Campaigns

Time-based campaigns are your typical fundraiser. Your organization will set a time frame for the campaign and hopefully meet or surpass your fundraising goal by the time your fundraiser is over.

These campaigns are typically concluded with an event, like a walk, run or ride event. Fundraisers will start raising money from the beginning of the campaign until the fundraising event.

Rolling Campaigns

Rolling peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns are continuous campaigns that can be linked with fundraising events but aren’t always.

These campaigns won’t conclude until the monetary goal is reached. With rolling campaigns, your organization has no time limit and can continue fundraising until you reach your goal.


What kind of event can my organization host with our peer-to-peer fundraising campaign?

6. What kind of event can my organization host with our peer-to-peer fundraising campaign?

As previously mentioned, peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns often work great when partnered with active, team events!

Some of the most popular events to host in conjunction with peer-to-peer fundraisers are:

  1. Cycling events
  2. Themed races
  3. Walkathons
  4. Sporting events
  5. 5K runs/walks
  6. Endurance events

Many nonprofits stick to sporting or competitive events, but there are tons of event ideas your organization can try out with your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign!

These events can easily serve as awareness events as well, partnering perfectly with an awareness campaign.


How does a peer-to-peer fundraiser really work?

7. How does a peer-to-peer fundraiser really work?

A peer-to-peer fundraising campaign can be conquered in a handful of steps. Let’s take a look at the easiest way to plan out your campaign:

  1. Determine your fundraising goals. Think about the type of campaign you want to host and whether or not you’ll host a fundraising event in conjunction with your campaign. Lay out a monetary fundraising goal that your organization can reach.
  2. Select your software. Choose a software solution that’s right for your organization. You don’t want software that doesn’t have all the features you want or need, so make sure you compare your software to the scope of your campaign. Make sure to pay attention to extra expenses, like platform fees, that may rack up when using software.
  3. Recruit your fundraisers. Ask your loyal donors and board members to fundraise on your behalf. Once you’ve recruited a solid team, you’ll want to train them for the upcoming campaign. Be sure to give them both email and social media templates to follow and encourage them to build their own fundraising websites.
  4. Track your success. Even though you won’t be asking for the donations yourself, you’ll still want to keep track of the constituent data your organization received throughout the campaign. You’ll also want to track your individual fundraisers’ success in accepting contributions.
  5. Send out acknowledgements. Look into a solution that offers automated acknowledgements. You can segment your lists and address each thank-you email to the appropriate donor. Automating this process saves your organization time and energy.

Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns can be condensed into just 4 steps, but remember to think through every important decision like platform selection and event type. Rushing into a peer-to-peer campaign is the opposite of what you want to do!


How should my organization promote our peer-to-peer fundraising campaign?

8. How should my organization promote our peer-to-peer fundraising campaign?

There are plenty of avenues your organization can take when it comes to promoting your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, like direct mail, email, and social media, for example.

Direct Mail

You might think direct mail is obsolete when your fundraising campaign is completely digital, but you can include a link and a QR code that redirect to your online fundraising page.

Promoting via direct mail is the perfect opportunity to invite your donors who love paper mail to contribute online. This could even spark their interest in more online giving and opportunities to fundraise on behalf of your organization.

Email

You’ll most likely reach the largest crowd through email promotion because almost everyone has an email address. Be sure to include information about why you’re raising money.

Create email templates that include appropriate graphics and include the URL to your fundraising site so donors can contribute at the click of a button.

Social Media

You can create templates for your social media posts, which when used correctly can be an impactful method for promotion.

With social media, your organization can rapidly expand your donor base and gain exposure by encouraging your supporters to share your posts.

And don’t forget that word-of-mouth promotion is inevitable because your donors will be excited about your upcoming campaign.

Overall promotion is the key to fundraising success. You’ll need to inform your donors of your upcoming peer-to-peer fundraising campaign so they can contribute.

Bonus! Check out our tips for peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns.


Now that you know just what a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign is, there’s nothing stopping your organization from hosting your most stellar fundraising campaign yet.

If you’re interested in learning more about nonprofit fundraising, check out these additional resources:

  • School Auction Guide. If you’re looking to host a school auction, take a look at our guide for everything you need to know. Pick up helpful tips and plan a successful auction event.
  • 10 Steps to Planning a Successful Fundraising Event. If you’re hosting a fundraising event in conjunction with your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, check out our tips on planning your best event yet!
  • Silent Auction Guide. Silent auctions are often anything but silent. With plenty of time for mingling, you can strengthen your donor relationships on the spot. Check out our guide for silent auctions to learn all about them!

Contact OneCause to master peer-to-peer fundraising.

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Take a look at the vital differences between crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising.
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