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Best Practices for Peer to Peer Fundraising: Storytelling

Best Practices for Peer to Peer Fundraising: Storytelling

We know that peer-to-peer fundraising accounts for nearly 25% of all online giving, but we also know that people are inundated with fundraising requests. So what can you do to help your P2P participants make sure their ask stands out from the crowd?

It all comes back to storytelling. A fundraising request from someone the potential donor already knows might get your foot in the door, but it’s your donor’s testimonial that will convince them to give. A P2P fundraising page provides space for participants to become the hero of the story, telling friends, colleagues, and contacts how their support of your work has helped to change the world for the better, and how their involvement has changed them.


Best-Practices-Peer-to-Peer-Fundraising-Storytelling-2Image source: Together Rising [


As we discussed way back in “Elements of a Story”, our two-part article on the power of storytelling in fundraising and the elements that make a story work, stories that engage the reader’s emotions are more likely to result in donations. We also talked about the factors that engaging stories have in common, including character, conflict, plot, resolution, and validation. Let’s see how those elements figure in a peer-to-peer campaign.


Testimonial Writing Prompts


For the purposes of P2P fundraising, the participating donor’s testimonial is where the storytelling happens. You don’t need to provide a crash course in story structure, but you can help participants tell their story as it relates to your organization’s work by providing a few basic questions or “prompts” designed to tease out an engaging personal story. And it just so happens they map pretty well to those elements we discussed previously, with minor tweaks.

  •    What makes this cause personal for you? Why did you get involved? (character)
  •    What is the problem, as you see it, that our work helps to solve? What happens if we don’t do it? (conflict/plot)
  •    What has been the result of your involvement? What progress do you see? (resolution/validation)

Participants don’t need to answer all of the questions, but by keeping them in mind, they’re more likely to craft a testimonial that evokes empathy and truly communicates the benefits of the work your organization is doing in the community. The more specific they can be, the better.


Call to Action


It might only amount to a few words, but a call to action is one of the most important pieces of any fundraising request. It should clearly communicate exactly what action is requested along with a sense of the urgency of the need (donate now!).

Here’s what a sample testimonial might look like:


I’ve been donating to [Matt Talbot Center] since they helped my brother on his road to recovery from drug addiction. The disease of addiction is an epidemic, and Matt Talbot works to heal people who are ready to heal, giving them the tools and resources to start a new life. Without their work, without the dedication of their staff, I truly believe my brother might not be here today. I give whenever I can, and I’m happy to say that I know my donations are making a difference in the lives of real people. Right now they need extra help due the burgeoning opioid crisis. I hope you’ll join me in donating today. 


The human brain loves stories, and everyone’s story is different. Helping your peer-to-peer fundraising participants to craft the most engaging story can make all the difference in how well their networks respond to fundraising requests. Make sure they have everything they need, including examples of testimonials from successful campaigns and all the support you can give them along the way, and your peer-to-peer campaign will be miles ahead of the crowd.