What Your Peer to Peer Fundraising Campaigns Can Learn from Greek Life Dance Marathons

group of happy young people dancing and have fun on party in modern home bacony with sunset and ocean in background

A few weeks ago, I was checking my Snapchat when I noticed a new notification from one of my college friends. In her Snap, she said she was raising money for her sorority’s dance marathon event that benefits a children’s hospital network. Many college fraternities and sororities across the country host dance marathons that last 24 hours, including my own alma mater, so I was familiar with the idea. She included a link and said that she had until midnight to meet her goal.

I immediately sent her a private message asking her how I could contribute. After all, she is a good friend of mine, and I was familiar with her university’s huge dance marathon events. Plus, she was so close to her goal!

“Even 25 cents will help,” she said. She sent me updates throughout the night and eventually met her goal. It was after this interaction that I realized it was a great example of peer to peer fundraising strategies at their best. 

So how can your nonprofit harness this sorority-sister momentum for your own P2P campaigns? I have a few main points that can be easily applied to your fundraising strategies.

1. Work with organized groups

Part of the reason why dance marathons work so well when paired with Greek organizations at universities is that these groups are already organized. There is no need for a nonprofit partner to get wrapped up in organizing these groups of people because they already have their own structures, leadership, and methods of communication. Most of the fundraiser is handled by the sororities and fraternities themselves.

You can learn from this by focusing your peer to peer fundraising energy on groups that already have an internal structure. This includes universities, high schools, local businesses, and even local clubs and social groups. This will mean less work for you, and a chance for these groups to make a positive social impact.

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2. Have a central focus

Another reason why dance marathons hosted by Greek organizations work is that they stick to one central focus. All of their fundraising work is leading up to a main event: the 24-hour dance marathon. Knowing that their hard work will culminate in a fun event is the motivation that keeps the fundraisers going. 

Your nonprofit can use this same type of motivation. Whether it’s an event, a prize, or simply recognition for raising money, keep your peer to peer volunteers motivated with a light at the end of their fundraising tunnel.

3. Set specific goals

When I told you the story of my friend from college, I mentioned that she told me she was almost at her fundraising goal. This was a huge factor in two things: 1) her reaching out to me, and 2) me responding to her. All of the sorority sisters and fraternity brothers involved in the dance marathon peer-to-peer fundraising are given specific goals to reach by a certain date. They are busy students with a lot on their plates, so this goal keeps them accountable. 

Applying specific goals to your peer-to-peer fundraisers will activate volunteers’ competitive drive, helping you reach your ideal dollar amount and helping them have fun while doing good. Before you start your fundraiser, make your expectations clear in writing or in a meeting.

 4. Embrace the competitive side

When fundraising for a dance marathon, sororities and fraternities often compete to see which one of them can raise the most money. This can be even more of a motivator than setting specific goals, since Greek organizations are already full of friendly rivalries! All of the students constantly push each other to raise more, which means more money for the nonprofit at the end. 

The lesson here is obvious: don't shy away from competition! Encourage your peer-to-peer volunteers to go for fundraising gold with an incentive for whoever raises the most. If you have a large group, consider breaking them into teams to gamify your campaign even further. 

You don’t have to be an alum of Greek life to see how these dance marathon tactics can be used in your peer to peer fundraising campaigns. Use this tips to get a new perspective on how to plan an amazing (and effective) P2P campaign.  

Download The Essential Guide to Peer to Peer Fundraising

Topics: Peer to Peer Fundraising, fundraising events

Written by Kira Bushman

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