The rise of social media has led to remarkable advancements in nonprofit fundraising over recent years. Especially with social distancing guidelines creating a disconnect between organizations and their supporters, many nonprofits have turned to peer-to-peer fundraising, and for good reason.
One study found that 43% of nonprofits who use peer-to-peer fundraising say that it makes up over 50% of their revenue, whereas another study found that 14% of all donors worldwide have created a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign to support causes they care about. One Bay Area nonprofit raised over $75,000 in under a week to help feed families affected by layoffs early this year.
When hosted and promoted effectively, peer-to-peer campaigning is a highly-profitable fundraising method. It’s also a fantastic way to deepen supporter engagement and empower them to promote your cause to like-minded individuals. Considering the potential that lies with peer-to-peer campaigns, your organization would be remiss in ignoring its potential.
While these fundraisers are certainly one of the easiest to host, you’ll want to implement some best practices to make the most out of your efforts. Rally supporters to fundraise on your behalf, and supercharge your campaign by implementing best practices such as:
- Starting with an effective peer-to-peer fundraising platform.
- Recruiting and training passionate participants.
- Leaning into social media.
- Leveraging traditional marketing methods.
With the sudden shift to virtual fundraising earlier this year, many nonprofits had to quickly adjust their strategies to prioritize their team’s health and account for social distancing recommendations. Peer-to-peer fundraising is one method that allows organizations like yours to garner support across a large, geographically-diverse base of donors despite social distancing. If you’re ready to harness the power of peer-to-peer fundraising, let’s dive in.
1. Start with an effective peer-to-peer fundraising platform.
The foundation of any successful virtual campaign is efficient technology. Software that’s difficult to use or appears untrustworthy can drive supporters away in an instant. In other words, the peer-to-peer platform you select can make or break your campaign.
Luckily for organizations like yours, there are several fantastic options to choose from. It just takes a bit of research to find one that provides features that best suit your preferences. According to Fundly’s guide to peer-to-peer fundraising, you should be on the lookout for a fundraising tool that meets criteria such as:
- A positive user experience: First and foremost, users (including both volunteer fundraisers and donors) should be able to navigate your platform without hassle. Otherwise, you risk missing out on crucial support. As a general rule of thumb, make sure donors can contribute in under a minute. The longer the process, the more opportunities they have to abandon their donations.
- Standout features: Basic peer-to-peer functionality is a given, but look for a platform that goes beyond this. For instance, gamification tools will take your efforts to the next level. Keep an eye peeled for leaderboards that showcase standout participants and fundraising thermometers that help users visualize progress toward fundraising goals. Volunteer-focused nonprofits may also benefit from promoting crowdfunding campaigns directly on volunteer sign up forms.
- Cost-effectiveness: Don’t blow your budget on your platform. While it plays a crucial role in your success, there are plenty of standout peer-to-peer platforms that offer fantastic features and are still affordable. Go with a budget-friendly option that has low-cost (or no) platform fees, and also be wary of any additional payment processing fees.
The peer-to-peer platform you select can be the defining point of your campaign’s success. Spend time locating the right platform for your team, and you’ll find it’s much easier to get participants on board, connect with prospects, and drive donations. You’ll spend less time walking users through technical issues and more time producing high-quality marketing materials.
2. Recruit and train passionate participants.
With a peer-to-peer fundraising platform that backs your efforts, you can move forward with recruiting a team of passionate volunteers to take charge of your campaign. The right participants will make a world of difference in your fundraising results.
Those who have a deep-set connection with your cause will naturally be the best fit. So start by scouring your current constituent database and locating those who have historically demonstrated consistent support for your cause.
Then, equip them with tips to turn that passion into money for your cause. To effectively train your volunteer fundraisers, your team should:
- Encourage them to personalize their campaign pages. This will come easily to your most enthusiastic volunteers, as their passion will naturally shine through in their outreach. They should share their personal relationships to your cause paired with impactful multimedia that demonstrates this connection. After all, campaigns with personal videos raise 105% more than those that don’t, according to this resource. By sharing their experiences, your volunteers can ignite the same passion in others.
- Supply them with marketing materials. Your team knows what goes into a standout social media post, but that doesn’t mean your volunteers do. Since they’ll be requesting contributions on your behalf, supply your volunteers with templates to help them ask for donations from their families and friends. Common templates you’ll want to consider include social media posts, emails, direct mail, and texts.
Sharing resources and tips with your volunteers will make them feel much more confident in their efforts. Be sure to also have a designated point of contact on your team to answer any questions, so you can rest assured that your team is doing its part to support your participants.
3. Lean into social media.
With the internet’s wide reach, you’d be remiss if you didn’t turn to digital methods like social media to promote your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. After all, there are more than 3.8 billion active social media users, meaning there’s a sea of prospects out there waiting to connect with causes like yours.
When refining your social media strategy for your upcoming peer-to-peer campaign, make sure to account for key best practices, such as:
- Make it easy, and fun, to share your campaigns.. The great thing about social media is its sheer reach—that’s why you want to make sure your supporters see your campaigns on social media, and that it’s easy for them to help you by liking and sharing your campaign. Even if they can’t contribute themselves, they can make a contribution to your cause by increasing your campaign’s visibility.
- Provide consistent updates. Throughout your campaign, let your participants and donors know how close you are to reaching your campaign goal. If you’re falling behind on your goals, share that with your supporters. They’ll step up their efforts to ensure you reach your fundraising goals.Transparency is key!
- Adjust your messaging based on the platform. Each social media platform has a slightly different audience, and your campaign promotion should reflect this. For instance, Twitter’s 280-character limit makes it the perfect place for succinct appeals, whereas Instagram is photo-based and should be used to share impactful imagery.
Harness the power of social media by developing a comprehensive strategy ahead of your campaign. Pay attention to which methods garner the most likes, comments, and shares so that you’re able to refine your promotion as you go. In turn, you’ll produce content that effectively appeals to your audience and resonates with supporters.
4. Don’t forget about traditional marketing methods.
While social media will account for the bulk of your campaign’s success, other marketing platforms allow you to connect with supporters who prefer different methods of interaction. Knowing your donors’ communication preferences will prove invaluable in this stage, and you’ll also want to encourage your participants to reach out to their personal networks through various mediums to garner donations.
Heading into your campaign, develop strategies and supply supporters with templates for a few traditional platforms, including:
- Direct mail: While digital methods are certainly effective, nonprofits have long relied on direct mail to connect with supporters, and it’s the backbone of many nonprofit fundraising strategies to this day. Crafting a letter to supporters conveys that you’re committed to spending time on cultivating a relationship with them, so encourage your volunteer fundraisers to do the same.
- Email: This tried-and-true marketing method is a fantastic way to share your peer-to-peer fundraiser. According to DNL OmniMedia’s nonprofit email marketing guide, more than 50% of people who receive an email about these types of campaigns donate, so be sure to schedule emails throughout the duration of your campaign to encourage ongoing interaction.
For the best results, take a multichannel marketing approach where you employ multiple platforms to connect more prospects to your campaign. You’ll find that this increases your reach, but don’t overdo it. Stick to a few core platforms. That way, you can spend time developing a handful of high-quality appeals for each, rather than several mediocre appeals that don’t quite get the job done.
Just because we’re facing seemingly insurmountable challenges doesn’t mean your nonprofit’s fundraising efforts have to suffer. Peer-to-peer fundraising is a fantastic way to boost fundraising revenue and to close the physical distance between you and your supporters.
While this approach is highly effective for reaching new supporters, it also enables you to connect with existing prospects who may be young or less affluent and want to donate but need a nudge. Peer-to-peer fundraising gives them that nudge by letting them donate from anywhere, in any amount.
Remember, it all starts by selecting the right platform to support your efforts. Otherwise, the rest of your strategies will fall short of expectations. From here, you’ll be well-equipped to recruit the right volunteers and develop impactful marketing materials that ultimately set your campaign up for success.
This guest post was contributed by Fundly.
Lomesh Shah has over 25 years of experience in international corporate leadership with a strong emphasis on marketing technology and data management systems. Lomesh has worked with small to mid-size businesses, privately-held companies and Fortune 500 corporations in various capacities; from sales and marketing to overseeing automation and re-engineering of processes and operations.
As CEO of Fundly, Lomesh spends much of his time immersed in the nonprofit industry both as an industry leader, speaker, and in service to several organizations as a board member and volunteer. Outside of the industry, Lomesh is a technology junkie and will give anyone willing to listen an assessment of the latest trends in anything from espresso makers and mobile gadgets to electric cars and wind power.