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What is Peer to Peer Fundraising? How Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Can Increase Donations and Donors!

What is Peer to Peer Fundraising? How Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Can Increase Donations and Donors!

Peer-to-peer fundraising, often abbreviated as P2P, is a way of fundraising where people leverage their personal networks to raise money on behalf of a nonprofit organization or cause. It's a specific type of crowdfunding that empowers an organization's supporters to fundraise on your nonprofit's behalf. The idea is since the individual will be using their own personal contacts, their endorsement of your charity or cause will make those unfamiliar more likely to give.

Typically, participants in a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign create personal fundraising pages that they share with friends, family, and colleagues, encouraging them to contribute to your charity. Often times these pages can either be on a social media or even your charity’s own website. This is an option for charities using Paybee and we encourage our users to implement our pages in their management of their peer to peer campaigns and giving. When used correctly, this method effectively turns supporters into fundraisers, expanding the reach of your fundraising campaign well beyond your organization's immediate network of supporters.

The evolution of peer-to-peer fundraising is closely intertwined with technological advancements, particularly the rise of social media and online giving websites like Paybee. You may remember fundraising events like a walk-a-thon where participants would solicit donations from their communities in support of their participation. In essence, these types of events were the same as peer-to-peer fundraising. But a lot has changed a far as peer fundraising campaigns go since then.

Today, with so much technology at our fingertips, all sorts of virtual online platforms including social media now allow individuals to create and share their own fundraising pages with ease while potentially reaching a global audience. And these pages, especially our own, allow for all sorts of payment options for your charity to accept donations from payment processors like credit cards or Paypal.

This technological shift has not only broadens your potential donor base, but also allows for real-time tracking of your fundraising progress and all the traffic coming to these pages. As a result, peer-to-peer fundraising has become an increasingly important strategy for non-profits and charitable organizations, and incorporating this strategy into your own charity’s fundraising campaigns is pretty much a must to stay competitive.

How Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Works

Peer-to-peer fundraising (P2P) is a type of online fundraising campaign in which nonprofit supporters take an active role and works primarily by leveraging the personal networks of your charity’s supporters and other individuals to raise awareness and money for your cause. In essence, your supporters become your staff working to bring donations into your organization and spreading awareness about your cause. These individuals do this through the use of specialized tools they are given access to by your organization. Usually these tools consist of a backend that can allow your supporters to login and create their own pages on your website, or on a charity specific platform like Paybee.

Once inside the back-end, they can create their own donation pages, add payment buttons, post images and stories and even add social media feeds and other forms of communication so they can tell their friends all about your cause and why it’s important for them to support you. And since your supporters are contacting and sharing their own pages with their friends, family, and colleagues, their personal recommendation is a major trust factor that can often result in far more donations than your charity could possibly achieve if your were to contact these new supporters yourself.

A typical peer-to-peer fundraising campaign often begins with your organization setting up a central campaign. Your central campaign should outline your cause, your fundraising goal, and provide resources and tools for your donors and supporters so they’re able to create their own individual fundraisers upon individual supporters to host personalized campaigns for collecting donations which are linked to the central campaign. These individual pages allow your supporters to share their own personal stories and connections to your cause, making their appeals for donations for your peer-to-peer fundraiser more relatable and trustworthy than you doing it on your own.

For example, if you run an animal charity and are looking to build a new veterinarian clinic, you’d explain why the new clinic is necessary and what problems it will be used to solve, and what the total costs would be to make it a reality. Once your core fundraiser is up and running, you simply give each donor that is interested in running their own peer to peer fundraiser access to the tools they’ll need to create and share their own pages.

Of course all of this takes specialized technology that can do everything from an easy to use dashboard that your supporters can easily use. Technology specifically designed for peer-to-peer fundraising and charities alike will provide the necessary infrastructure. Software like Paybee and others can handle the creation of fundraising pages, process donations, track progress towards goals, and often offer social-media integration. To see how we can make all of this easy for you and your supporters, just sign up for a free demo account and give our specialized suite of tools that we’ve created specially for the nonprofit sector and any charity looking to offer their supporters peer-to-peer fundraising capabilities in an easy to use format.

Once you have the technological aspects of your peer-to-peer fundraising sorted out, the easiest way to super charge all of that tech is to integrate it with social media. This can significantly boost the reach your supporters have when it comes to getting their campaigns in front of their network. Plus social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram allow your fundraisers to reach out to their own list of potential donors in a space where they are already engaged and active. And with social media's shareable content formats like memes, images or shorts, your supporter’s campaigns can gain visibility and traction through likes, shares, and comments, further expanding their views and engaement.

Benefits of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising for Fundraising 

Peer-to-peer fundraising (P2P) is an exceptionally effective method for enhancing awareness and bolstering donations for any number of charitable causes. This fundraising model offers substantial advantages, and overlooking its inclusion in your donation strategy could significantly restrict your organization's potential growth both short and long term.

What makes this model so compelling is the trust factor that’s built into using your donors and supporters to ask their own personal networks for donations. Even if only a few supporters participate, just be aware of the potential of each individual, especially if they are well regarded in your community. Giving these people the opportunity to request donations on your charity’s behalf allows your charity to tap into a broader pool of potential donors than traditional methods might offer.

This strategy not only increases the amount of funds raised but also deepens the engagement between the charity and its community due to all of the personal connections involved. Your supporters become active fundraisers in your cause thus creating a stronger connection through their own advocacy and keeping them involved in the donor cultivation cycle.

Peer-to-peer fundraising is also as one of the most cost-effective strategies available. Raising awareness for your cause among a wide audience can be an expensive endeavor, that often requires significant time and staff resources to engage your potential supporters and convert them into donors. However, P2P fundraising circumvents these shortcomings by leveraging the networks of your existing supporters.

The personal connections between your supporters and their friends significantly increase the likelihood of transforming these acquaintances into new supporters, making the process more efficient and effective. And when you incorporate one of the best fundraising platforms like Paybee as well as social media into the mix, it reduces the need for physical materials and event logistics, lowering the overall cost of fundraising activities even further.

Peer-to-peer fundraising also has the ability to spread the word about your cause far faster than relying on a website or social media channel ever could. As individuals share their personal fundraising pages across their own networks, they introduce your charity to a wider audience but in a personal way through power of social proof that’s generated with seeing friends and family supporting a cause.

This not only increases your charity's visibility, but also helps attract new supporters and volunteers as often times friends will have many of the same values as other friends. Plus the personal connection aspect of peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns adds a layer of credibility making new potential donors more receptive to your cause.

Planning a Virtual Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Event

Planning a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign for your charity involves a few key steps to be sure your campaign will be successful. The first of which is setting clear, achievable goals for both your organization and your fundraisers . These goals should include both quantitative and qualitative objectives or goals. Quantitative goals might include specific financial targets like the money raised, or numbers of new donors to engage by you and your team, while qualitative goals could focus on increasing community awareness for your cause or improving donor engagement.

Setting these types of goals requires you understand your charity's capabilities, past performance, and the potential of your supporter base. Keeping all your goals in mind and including milestones along the way can help keep your campaigns on track and allow you to notice if things are going as planned, or you need to make some adjustments to the areas that are falling behind.

The next step is choosing the right platform for your campaign that includes peer fundraising. You need technology that can keep track of all your goals, the individuals involved both your team and supporters during your peer fundraising, as well as a host of other variables like being able to enable easy sharing to social media, offering robust tracking and reporting tools, and providing a seamless and simple to follow giving process while all being customizable to your own charity’s branding by your fundraisers and staff. It should also be user-friendly while aligning with your charity's needs and the preferences of your target audience and allow for a multitude of fundraising options like an auction or other fundraising ideas.

Our platform was designed from the ground up to incorporate all of this while at the same time embodying the spirit of the nonprofit sector and building out tools to assist charities to grow. Paybee’s impressive suite of tools isn’t just about B2B fundraising, it’s designed to give your charity choices and options to bring out the best in your organization, it’s staff and your supporters. Just test drive our platform for a few hours using your fee demo and you’ll see how we can transform any organization into a powerhouse, regardless of its size at the moment. And all with realistic pricing!

Once your goals are established and all the tech is ready, the next step is getting everything prepared for marketing your giving event so you can start fundraising. You’ll need compelling campaign materials that go beyond your basic informational content for successful fundraising. You’ll want to craft stories and information that connects with your supporters on an emotional level. You want to move them in a way that compels them to act, to want to get involved because they feel an emotional connection both to your cause, and to your charity and its work.

Some of the ways you can do this is by telling real life stories on how your own organization helped real events, and how donations from individuals just like your audience has made a difference. High-quality visuals, impactful videos, and engaging social media updates can make your campaign more relatable and shareable bringing in even more potential donors and awareness. Try to demonstrate how their personal involvement whether financial or just supportive can help make a real positive impact on your cause. The more personally involved individuals feel about something, the more they’re willing to help make a change.

One thing to remember, the individuals who do step forward and offer to participate in your P2P fundraiser will need some initial training as well as on going support. The easiest way to go about this is to create a frequently asked questions page on your website and offer templates that can be used for their social media posts and emails to their friends and family.

Hosting webinars or online training sessions before the event on topics like setting up their pages and adding buttons and content should be mandatory. Even better is to record all your training so the next time you have a similar event, all the information that will be needed is available well before the actual event.

And if you have the team, assigning one individual to keep in contact with your fundraisers each day to monitor their progress and answer any questions they may still have can really make them feel you care and help sustain their enthusiasm to help. It also helps to offer regular updates about the campaign’s progress and how their support is benefiting the cause.

The Challenge of Engaging and Motivating Fundraisers

In order to employ peer-to-peer fundraising with all its benefits into your nonprofit’s business model, you’ll first need to recruit the actual people, or fundraisers. And to be successful at this requires you to employ a personalized approach that can involve segmenting your nonprofit's existing network to identify and target those most likely to participate based on their past engagement, interests, and capacity to contribute themselves.

That means you’ll need to start planning your tactics early as to allow sufficient time to recruit and train your new fundraisers. One of the best ways to get started is to include personal stories of how similar individuals have helped raise both money and awareness for your cause previously when possible. Or at least demonstrate clearly and emotionally the tangible impact of your previous fundraising on your nonprofit's mission and how without your donor’s help, non of it would have been possible. This can be done through email, social media channels and any other ways of communication that allows your message to be heard.

Once fundraisers are recruited, offering a structured support system is crucial for their success and continued enthusiasm. This should include a dedicated support team within your nonprofit to provide one-on-one coaching, answer questions, and offer encouragement if at all possible. And as we spoke about above, hosting training webinars can help create a sense of community among your fundraisers and provide them with the necessary information and inspiration to start their fundraising journey. Regular check-ins, either through email updates or social media groups, can keep fundraisers engaged and informed about the campaign's progress so they feel included and a personal member of your organization, and not just an instrument of it.

One of the best ways to allow your fundraisers to feel part of the team is to give them the recognition they deserve for all they’re doing for your mission. Public acknowledgment in newsletters, on your website, and across social media not only celebrates the fundraisers' achievements, but also raises awareness of your P2P fundraising events which may bring in even more fundraisers in the future.

Depending on your support base, another way to make people feel more inclusive is to create a little friendly competition. Creating a sense of competition, such as leaderboards or fundraising challenges helps everyone feel valued and acknowledged, regardless of the amount they’ve raised. And again, by making all of this public, it also lets people know you have this type of fundraising capabilities available if they desire to become involved as well.

Personalized thank-you letters or videos from beneficiaries or your nonprofit's leadership can make a lasting impression and strengthen your fundraiser's emotional connection to your cause. These types of acknowledgments should be publicly shared and a permanent part of your website and media channels. They can also be used for marketing your organization to potential participants in the future, so put some effort into them and make them unique to each fundraiser.

Incentives can also help boost motivation depending on the individual. Things like creating a tiered rewards system can motivate fundraisers by offering increasingly valuable incentives as they achieve higher fundraising milestones. One thing to note is that your incentives, if possible, should feel connected to the mission of your nonprofit, making the recognition feel more significant and aligned with your overall cause. Personalized gifts, exclusive content, or special invitations to events for top achievers are all great incentives that can help drive people to do more, while simultaneously still feel as though they are part of a charitable cause.

Marketing and Promotion of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaigns

The marking and promotion of your event is just as important as the event itself, after all, if no one knows about it, no one is going to attend. Successful marketing requires nuanced strategies and innovative approaches to deeply engage your audience, enhance your event’s visibility, and boost donor participation in the event leading to more donations for your charity.

One of the most trusted ways of marketing any charitable event is simply through the power of storytelling. After all, that’s the message you’re trying to convey, isn’t it? If you run a mental health charity what is it you want to say about it? How deplorable the state of mental health care system is in the world and how much these people need help, correct? It’s not the story itself, it’s how you tell the story that creates a marketing campaign that leads to successful fundraising.

By creating emotionally charged narratives around your cause and focusing on the individuals or communities who benefit from your nonprofit's work, then sharing these stories through various mediums like videos, blogs, social media posts, and email newsletters, you’re able to connect with your audience and motivate them to take action as you fundraise because they now feel a connection and the problem is now personal and no longer some abstract problem.

You can really absorb your audience incorporating multimedia elements such as video diaries from beneficiaries of your nonprofit, interactive infographics that show the impact of fundraising donations, and live-streamed events that showcase your nonprofit's work in action, even simple behind the scenes videos. This multi-channel approach makes sure your ideas and stories resonate across different media so you can get in front of the largest amount of people and maximize the emotional engagement they create.

Social media plays a huge role in getting your story heard and awareness of your fundraising events. So be sure to be incorporating sites where your supporters hang out. Sharing updates, success stories, and always following up with calls to action such as donations are all basic requirements of using social media effectively. Beyond regular posts, consider launching a social media challenge or campaign that encourages user-generated content.

For example, a hashtag challenge that invites supporters to share their personal connection to your cause can create viral momentum on many sites all at the same time, casting the largest net possible and building a community around your cause. Including stories, reels, live broadcasts and other peer fundraising ideas can add a more personal dynamic and engaging layer to your campaign, making it feel more immediate and personal and not the same old story.

And even though social media is extremely powerful, overlooking email marketing and its potential can be severely limiting. Through strategies like segmenting your lists, you’re able to send personalized messages that resonate with different groups within your audience, such as past donors, volunteers, and new subscribers making this form of communication even more effective. For instance, send targeted emails that acknowledge previous donations, volunteer efforts, or event participation, and explain how their continued support through your peer-to-peer fundraising event can make a real difference. Then follow up with the progress of your peer-to-peer fundraising and keep encouraging recipients to participate or donate, or even sign up for your next peer-to-peer fundraising.

As a nonprofit, you should have many engaging stories to share, both of despair and triumph. The entire marketing of your nonprofit is about how well you can weave all of them into a comprehensive story that genuinely connects people to your cause and pushes them to act and get involved. Start there and the rest will fall into place.

Fundraising Challenges and Solutions in Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

While peer-to-peer fundraising has the potential to significantly increase donations and engage a broader audience, there are still a few drawbacks and obstacles to overcome. And the biggest one of these is the actual individuals participating in your peer-to-peer fundraising.

It’s important to remember right from the start that your peer-to-peer participants are people. They have their own lives and some are more dedicated and driven than others. And while some of your fundraisers will explode right out of the gate, others may take a bit of encouragement and hand holding to get them through the entire process.

While keeping volunteers and first-time fundraisers motivated throughout the campaign can be challenging, there are a few simple techniques or ideas you can try to keep them engaged. One way you can try to keep everyone motivated is to offer incentives for reaching certain fundraising milestones, even securing their first donation regardless on how big it is. You can also give public shout outs to all your fundraisers to both acknowledge them and to put them in the spotlight. There’s nothing like peer pressure during a peer to peer event to push individuals further!

Another significant challenge may be the lack of training and resources available to fundraisers. Again, your fundraisers are individuals, and most likely not used to working with charitable software or asking individuals for donations and must learn these skills. Your fundraisers might feel unequipped for certain technical tasks, or they are simply shy and lack confidence in their own abilities to ask for donations effectively.

Situations like these can be remedied by offering training programs and tips for all your fundraisers to learn from, and providing comprehensive fundraising toolkits that include donation request templates, best practices, and guidelines. Additionally, offering training sessions or webinars they can join, watch and learn about effective fundraising techniques and providing them with a dedicated support person will allow them to feel more empowered and able to deal with their personal issues more effectively.

Another tip is to include in your toolkit to address the problem of inconsistent branding and messaging across all your participant’s individual fundraising pages are pre-written content and branded materials for their peer fundraising. Inconsistent presentation can dilute the nonprofit's message and brand identity and offering clear guidelines on how the charity needs to be represented and reviewing personalized fundraising pages before they go live can help make sure your brand and its message stay consistent throughout.

One thing that can make a lot of this easier and more convenient for everyone is using a specialized nonprofit platform where everyone can be on the same page. The platform needs to be user-friendly, offer multiple customization options, and integrate seamlessly with your nonprofit's existing systems. Ideally, like when you use Paybee for your organization’s operating platform, many of the tasks of describing how the technology works is already explained by the platform, so your organization doesn’t even need to make up its own resources. This can save you and your team a considerable amount of time and money just by selecting a solid nonprofit software to work with.

FAQs on Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

How Long Should Our Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign Last?

The ideal length of a peer-to-peer fundraising varies, but a typical timeframe for actively fundraising is 4-6 weeks as far as giving days. This provides enough time for participants to reach out to their networks without losing momentum during your fundraising. Seasonal giving days or event-based campaigns might have different timelines when it comes to the amount of days you should be running your peer fundraising campaign.

Can We Run Multiple Peer-to-Peer Campaigns for Fundraising at Once?

While it's technically possible, it's best to focus on one campaign at a time to avoid overwhelming your supporters and diluting your fundraising. If multiple peer fundraising events are necessary like for a school doing fundraising for a new gym or something similar, consider doing different peer-to-peer fundraising like auctions or galas and segmenting your audience for each to maintain focus.

How Do We Choose the Right Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Platform to Fundraise?

Since your fundraiser will include many types of individuals, you need to be sure it’s as user-friendly as possible and non-technical people can work with the software after a little training. The tech should also allow everything to be easily customizable and be equipped with all the fundraising tools possible. Our software has all of this and more, and we offer a free demo here so you can test it out for yourself.

How Do We Keep Momentum Going Throughout our Peer-To-Peer Fundraiser?

A few tips to try are to post regular updates on your fundraising and all the individuals involved, sharing important fundraising milestones, and fundraising success stories can keep fundraisers motivated.

How Can We Attract Corporate Sponsors to Our Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign?

Offer sponsorship packages that include logo placement or ads on your site during your peer-to-peer fundraising. You can include media mentions about each vendor and their products as part of the package, and opportunities for corporate teams to participate in your fundraising. Highlight the visibility and community engagement benefits to potential sponsors during your peer-to-peer fundraising.

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Bill Allen

Bill Allen is an expat that has been travelling the world for the past 25 years. He received his MA in writing in New York too long ago to remember, but has been writing on all sorts of subjects far varied publications ever since. When he isn't writing he enjoys meditating and working on his own website, UpscaleDrinks.com. Feel free to connect with him any time.

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