Keys to Launching Stellar Peer-to-Peer Fundraising | npENGAGE

Keys to Launching Stellar Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

By on Jun 10, 2015


Launching a peer to peer fundraising campaign

Planning and pulling off a stellar peer-to-peer campaign is no small task.

We’ve written about the top planning tips and hidden secrets to executing an excellent peer-to-peer (P2P) campaign before, but when a fundraising strategy is this impactful, it warrants some more discussion!

That’s why today, we’re walking through even more ideas for launching a peer-to-peer campaign with the potential to send your fundraising revenue off the charts.

Here’s a rundown of the topics we’ll tackle:

  1. Making your peer-to-peer campaign fun.
  2. Announcing your peer-to-peer campaign.
  3. Building your P2P campaign communications calendar.
  4. Kicking off your peer-to-peer campaign.
  5. Tracking your P2P progress.

Hopefully, these insights will help you put together a lucrative peer-to-peer fundraiser that your staff and supporters will remember for a lifetime.

But if you’re not familiar with peer-to-peer campaigns, we recommend learning the basics before diving into this post. To give you all the insight you could need, check out this thorough guide from BidPal.

Now, let’s jump into the first topic!

1. Making Your Peer-to-Peer Campaign Fun

Though your organization’s mission may be serious, there are many ways to add fun to your P2P campaign.

Fun is important for keeping your fundraisers engaged and motivated. Lackluster (dare we say—boring) campaigns won’t help you hit your fundraising goals, but more importantly, they won’t leave your donors and supporters excited to come back for next year. A double loss for your organization!

To avoid stale P2P fundraisers, adopt one (or more) of the following tactics:

  • Take advantage of the gamification tools that your P2P software provides. You can create campaign-specific fundraising thermometers, leaderboards, and social media badges that fundraisers can use to show off their progress.
  • Consider offering appreciation gifts such as t-shirts, hats, or stickers for fundraisers who reach specific milestones. Or, consider offering a silly pledge—like throwing a pie at your executive director—each time a fundraiser meets a specific goal.
  • Enter top fundraisers into a drawing for a prize. Giving them the chance to take home a reward for doing their share will give them extra incentive to keep asking for donations from their friends and family.

Peer-to-peer campaigns give donors a chance to get excited about a cause they love and share that passion with their peers.

So, no matter which path you choose, put yourself in your supporters’ shoes—what would make this campaign more enjoyable and memorable for them?

After all, aren’t your supporters the ones making your peer-to-peer campaign possible?

2. Announcing Your Peer to Peer Fundraising Campaign

When it comes to getting the word out about your upcoming peer-to-peer campaign, you’ll want to reach out to your existing supporters first.

Donors, members, or volunteers who’ve historically demonstrated a passion for your cause are the best candidates for likely fundraisers.

Use your donor management software to target potential fundraisers, and let them know well in advance that you’d like their support. Whether you’re sending a mass email or calling individuals on the phone, make these communications as personal as possible.

Think about it: when your supporters feel they’ve been specifically chosen to help lead the charge in your upcoming fundraising initiative, they’ll feel special and even more valued as a part of your organization’s efforts.

Donors who feel appreciated are much more likely to stay invested throughout the campaign and work hard to help you reach your goals.

Reaching out to your current and past donors is a good way to get the word out and recruit supporters to fundraise for you. But why stop there?

Consider implementing other communication channels that reach beyond your donor list, including:

  • Social media.
  • Your website.
  • Signs at your organization’s events.
  • Public service announcements (PSAs).
  • Local morning TV news shows.

All of these channels can be used to announce your campaign and get both existing and new supporters interested in your cause.

To build anticipation, announce your campaign well in advance, including a countdown (via your website, email, and other communication channels) leading up to the campaign launch.

Don’t be afraid to be creative and have some fun here! The more excited your team seems about your campaign, the more excited your supporters will be to get involved themselves.

3. Building Your P2P Campaign Communications Calendar

Once you know how you’ll reach out to possible fundraisers, scheduling your communications from announcement through launch is critical.

Write down the date of the very last communication you will send for the launch of your campaign, and then work backward to add all of the other communications and prep work you’ll need to do leading up to that last communication.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t overstuff your calendar. Coordinate with your marketing and fundraising departments so you aren’t “competing” with your organization’s other communications or activities, such as a newsletter, other fundraising campaign communications, or special events.
  • Use your existing opportunities. At the same time, find out if you can promote your campaign through your organization’s already planned communications (for example, via an “ad” in a newsletter).
  • Plan in advance. Scheduling your calendar should be at the very top of your campaign to-do list. Allow plenty of time to line up PSAs and segments on your local morning TV news shows; they may require weeks, and even months, to arrange.

Following launch, you’ll still want to keep the communications flowing consistently. However, rather than aiming to attract new fundraisers, you’ll want to target those already involved in your P2P campaign.

Throughout your campaign, send out relevant reminders, campaign progress updates, and resources for your fundraisers to use. Make sure not to miss important milestones such as:

  • The end of your campaign’s first week.
  • The midway point in your campaign timeline.
  • When you reach fundraising milestones (i.e., half of your goal or monetary benchmarks like $5,000 or $10,000).
  • The final week of your campaign.
  • The last day of your campaign.

By keeping your fundraisers in the loop, you’ll keep your campaign at the front of their minds from launch all the way to the end.

Just be aware of the flipside of this piece of advice—while you want to be persistent, you don’t want to pester! Limit your communications to no more than twice a week so that you don’t risk over-populating your supporters’ inboxes.

4. Kicking Off Your Campaign

Whether it’s online or in-person, it’s a good idea to have a kick-off event to energize your supporters and disseminate important information about your campaign.

Getting fundraisers together (even virtually) provides them a dedicated time to share in their excitement for your organization’s upcoming campaign and learn everything they need to know to successfully bring in donations.

An event or online kick-off can be an excellent opportunity to train your fundraisers, as they’ll need to know the campaign timeline and how to set up their individual online fundraising pages.

If you’re hosting an in-person event, here are a few ideas for making it as successful as possible:

  • Have your executive director or a board member welcome fundraisers, explain the importance of the campaign, and thank supporters for signing up to fundraise. Getting your organization’s leadership involved in the campaign will illustrate your team’s dedication to the cause.
  • Have someone speak about the impact of your organization on his or her life. Sharing a personal story can evoke supporters’ emotions and help them relate to your cause in a new way.
  • Ask fundraisers from a previous campaign to speak about approaches they’ve used successfully. They’ll have valuable insight for new fundraisers and feel honored to have been asked (meaning they’ll probably be inspired to fundraise again, if they weren’t already).
  • Give fundraisers time to get to know each other. Building a community around your campaign will not only give fundraisers even more incentive to give the campaign their all, but it adds another memorable dimension to your fundraiser.
  • Hand out branded material such as training notes, tips, and other details about the campaign. Don’t forget to give out (or sell) merchandise to give donors another way to contribute and show their support for your cause.

But if you don’t have the ability to host an in-person kickoff (or are saving your event-planning savvy for an event later on in your campaign), you can still get your supporters together online.

Consider setting up a livestream to make your online event feel more in-person, or simply set aside a day for a social media blitz to really amp up excitement for your campaign.

5. Tracking Your Progress

Be sure to have a tool in place to track your campaign’s progress throughout your campaign as well as afterward.

The metrics you track and how you use them will be unique to your organization; however, here are a few key points to get you started:

  • How many people have registered to raise funds
  • How much money each fundraiser has raised
  • How much money the entire campaign has raised
  • Total number of donations
  • Week-over-week growth

In addition, consider using online surveys as your campaign moves forward so you can track other progress, such as what’s working and what’s not with your fundraisers.

Regular in-person or virtual get-togethers are another way to solicit feedback from your fundraisers and let them share lessons learned with each other.

Your peer-to-peer software should have built-in reporting features to help you get a customized look at your success from every angle.

You should also be able to integrate this software with your nonprofit CRM so that you can get a comprehensive view of your campaign in the context of your organization as a whole.

That said, tracking your success won’t mean much if you don’t have a clue what success looks like.

Before you launch your campaign, make sure to set clear, achievable (but ambitious!) goals for your organization. Not only will a set goal help you determine your success, but it will enable you to measure your progress against your expectations to stay on track throughout the campaign.

There’s really nothing like peer-to-peer fundraising for tapping your supporters to extend your fundraising reach.

If you’d like more information about how to design and implement a successful peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, check out these resources:


Laura Higgins is an Account Manager at Cathexis Partners. Laura specializes in fundraising and community-building events, and has worked with nonprofits for more than ten years.

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