Crunching The Numbers: How Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Levels The Playing Field

It’s a way to give your fundraising efforts an exponential outreach

Peer pressure—not so good. Peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising, though? Downright awesome! It’s a concept that’s caught on like wildfire with nonprofit organizations, and it’s fueled by the power of social media. P2P makes it easy to turn your entire base of supporters into fundraisers.

One of the biggest challenges of NPO fundraising is overcoming the natural hesitations donors have about committing. It’s almost impossible to forge a relationship with an outside donor. It’s an obstacle that doesn’t exist when supporters raise funds for you from their own friends, family, and coworkers.

The power of networking

It’s simple math. Let’s say you’ve got 25 people in your organization. Only three of them work on fundraising full time. You have a database of 500 active donors and supporters. If each of those 500 people contacted five people on their end, you would have 2,500 new solicitations. However, that number doubles to 5,000 if they each spread the word to 10 friends, coworkers, or family members.

P2P outreach is an exponential way of increasing the reach of your fundraising efforts. It’s also a way to bump up effectiveness because the word-of-mouth is passed along at a familiar and relatable level. This new fundraising army already supports your mission. It’s a validation that makes it much easier for the people reached to offer their support and contribution. 

Level the playing field

Peer-to-peer fundraising is something that any organization, big or small, can undertake and reap immediate benefits.

Software facilitate excitement by making it easy for participants to create personal fundraising pages. Supporters can post photos or videos. Many online P2P tools keep the object top of mind by encouraging participants to publish their fundraising goal. The social media aspects kick in with ample sharing functions that allow your supporters to put their network of donors in the spotlight.

It’s not all on the shoulders of your supporters. You’ll find plenty of free or inexpensive widgets you can request to be put on other websites that can drive traffic back to the fundraising area of your own website. They’re easy to configure and help raise awareness. They give your NPO a presence that extends beyond your own webpage. Your first requests should go out to corporate supporters that have their own websites.

No online fundraising project is complete without a fundraising thermometer. These real-time trackers can be effective motivators. The closer you get; the more people are inclined to give.

Your supporters will appreciate the simplicity and ease these online fundraising tools provide. Most people want to help, but they’re often dismayed by the amount of effort it takes. The online fundraising tools you provide for them make it painless. They can reach out to their social networks with a single message. You can provide them with templates if they want to send out email messages. It’s even possible to provide links so that supporters can make donations with their credit card.

Are you ready for P2P fundraising?

Peer-to-peer fundraising is a natural progression if your organization already has an established online fundraising vehicle. You need a donor-friendly way of accepting online contributions.

Your first P2P fundraiser will get off to a good start if you’re confident you have at least 10 enthusiastic ambassadors. They’ll be your online cheerleaders who push out the word using their social networks. They’ll also be the ones who use the social networks to talk about their progress. Your less gregarious supporters will see the progress made by your group of ambassadors and raise their level of participation.

Give some extra thought to your mission and the way it is being communicated. You’re about to turn that story over to people who may only have a peripheral understanding of what you do and who benefits from it. You’ll help them by providing information, but their comfort starts with your level of simplification.

Be clear and concise when you communicate how they should explain why their friends, family, and coworkers should give to your cause. Provide short and simple explanations about how donations will be used. Ask and make sure that participants understand how to show the impact that donations will have.

This information must be clear and simple. After all, if you can’t articulate your mission and its impact, how will all your newly deputized fundraisers be able to?

Your board is going to need to know about this. You’ll want their buy-in for reasons other than permission. These people can be some of the most effective peer-to-peer fundraisers you’ll ever find. Think of the influential people in their respective networks. Your board is already networking and fundraising. Often, though, this more structured approach lends extended focus to their efforts.

The art of letting go

Up until now, you’ve been able to keep tight rein on your message. You control the communications and marketing that reaches supporters and potential donors. That changes with P2P fundraising.

Your supporters will push out the message to their networks. Often, it means your message will be conveyed in their words. The reward for letting your P2P fundraising participants use their own words to tell your story is that your message will be carried much farther than your organization alone could have achieved.

Provide your supporters with prepared communications and fact sheets. They want to get the word out right, and they’ll appreciate it. They’ll also want to personalize the message. Trust them. They have good intentions.

You may be letting go of some aspects, but your new army of fundraisers will still need a command central. They’ll depend on you for information and communications that are much easier to disseminate when you have fundraising software in place that gives you the power to automate many of the tasks involved in a peer-to-peer fundraising program.

If you'd like more information about peer to peer fundraising, please download our guide, which goes into greater detail on how peer to peer fundraising works, as well as how to best implement social media with your peer to peer fundraising campaign.

Topics: Peer to Peer Fundraising

Written by Ryan Finkelstein