This blog post originally appeared in npENGAGE.
Whether it’s associated with a large event — like a walk-a-thon, or it’s year-round — like a tribute campaign, peer-to-peer (p2p) fundraising is a powerful tool for fundraisers. It’s all about engaging supporters to raise funds on your nonprofit’s behalf.
But, running a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign can be challenging, involving a great deal of time and logistics. So, whether you’re just starting out, or you’re looking to polish your p2p approach, it’s well worth it to take time to ensure you’re using tried and true approaches.
Here are nine peer-to-peer fundraising best practices that will help ensure that your next campaign is a success:
1. Use prominent calls to action
The top two calls to action in a peer-to-peer campaign are “register” (for participants) and “donate” (for donors). Make sure those two options are clearly visible on the p2p event home page or on the landing page for your campaign.
2. Make registering and donating as easy as possible
The last thing you want is for potential participants and donors to become frustrated by being asked too many questions. In the registration flow and donation process, ask only the needed questions. Consider asking follow up questions in future campaign emails or surveys.
3. Be responsive… mobile responsive
The worldwide mobile revolution is changing philanthropy. For your p2p campaigns to be successful, your campaign web pages and emails must be mobile responsive. That means they need to look good and be easy to navigate on a wide range of browsers and mobile devices. If you haven’t revamped your page and email templates in several years, it’s probably time to update them with an eye for mobile responsiveness.
4. Integrate with social media
You’ve probably heard a lot over the past several years about “social media integration”. Be sure to consider social media integration from a few different perspectives:
- Allow participants to register for your campaign using their social media credentials to make it more convenient for them to register. This streamlines the registration process by a one-click registration process or by auto-filling biographical information.
- Provide participants with sample social media posts to make it easy for them to share information about your campaign through their social media channels.
- Provide participants with hash tags and social icons for the campaign and for your organization. Encourage participants to use them as they share information about the campaign.
5. Offer fundraising tools
It’s important to provide your campaign participants with the fundraising tools and support they need to be successful. Provide them with suggested text for their emails and social media posts to friends and family. Give them icons, logos, and other images associated with your campaign that they can add to their emails and social posts to make them more eye-catching. Offer them fundraising tips through your regular communications with them.
6. Communicate with participants
Working with participants goes beyond just getting them to sign up as fundraisers for your campaign and giving them some tools. It’s important to also keep them informed and motivated throughout the campaign. Map out your participant communications calendar in advance of the campaign, and be sure to consider other organizational communications to avoid over-communicating. Your calendar doesn’t have to be complex. A basic once should include:
- Four recruitment emails (to encourage participants to sign up)
- Weekly coaching emails (with fundraising tips, campaign updates, kudos to top fundraisers, etc.)
- Two campaign follow-up emails (with a thank you, an update about funds raised and the impact the funds will have on your mission, an ask for feedback, etc.)
7. Connect your campaign to your mission
To get your supporters excited about helping you raise funds, you need a compelling story to tell them and for them to tell their friends and family. Take the time to create a compelling story with branding and communications that tie to your mission and the impact your campaign will have on the mission. Some things to consider:
- What mission-critical problem does your campaign solve (why should someone donate)?
- What difference does one donation make (quantify this to help donors understand the impact of their donation)?
- How do you want people to feel about your campaign (emotionally touched, inspired, outraged)?
8. Acknowledge your sponsors
Sponsors are often a huge factor in p2p fundraising events like runs, walks, and rides. If you have corporate sponsors for your p2p fundraising event, be sure to acknowledge their contributions. A few tips:
- Treat them like participants: Sponsors will feel more engaged and like they’re getting more from their sponsorship if they hear from you more often. Consider treating them like you would a top fundraising team. Use the same engagement tools and approaches you use with participants to connect with your sponsors. Offer them a free team captain registration, help them get their page set up, and provide coaching for their fundraising efforts.
- Use a personal touch: end a handwritten thank you or a note from a participant or beneficiary of your cause’s work. If the sponsor also fundraised, create a top fundraisers certificate that you send to them by mail.
- Thank your sponsors publicly: Tag their company/business page on Facebook, and publicly thank them in a post. You can easily do the same on Twitter, Instagram, etc. Most likely, the company will then re-post your original post to their full audience to help your event reach new constituents. You can also highlight your sponsors in an event program, marketing materials, and outreach (e.g., emails).
9. Build camaraderie
Work with individual team captains, sponsors and other local companies to get teams to register and form camaraderie. People love friendly competition, and industry benchmarks repeatedly show that team members raise more than individual fundraisers on average. From having your corporate sponsors coordinate competition amongst their employees, to offering a “VIP porta-potty” for the largest team or most funds raised per team member, competition breeds camaraderie which will lead to more funds raised.
There’s simply nothing like peer-to-peer fundraising for tapping your most valuable asset — your supporters — to extend your fundraising reach. These are just some of the best practices that will help to ensure your next campaign pays off.
For more best practices for peer-to-peer fundraising, read 10 Simple Things You Can Do to Improve Your Peer-to-Peer Fundraising.