Peer-to-peer fundraising is the hot new campaign strategy sweeping the nonprofit sector. Your nonprofit can leverage its supporters’ social networks to expand its reach and raise awareness while fundraising.

Nonprofit leaders everywhere are taking advantage of this fun new way to raise money for their missions. Maybe you’ve considered conducting one of these campaigns yourself. But have you considered integrating peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising with your next event for maximum impact?

If you’re ready to combine two awesome fundraising strategies in a way that will engage your supporters and spread awareness like a wildfire, read on! We’re going to cover a lot of ground in this article, so here’s a roadmap to the sections of our guide:

  1. What is peer-to-peer or social fundraising?
  2. Use peer-to-peer fundraising to lead up to your event.
  3. Kick off a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign with an event.
  4. Organize a one-day fundraising blitz.
  5. Offer incentives for donating through your peer-to-peer campaign.

We’ll break down the basics of P2P with you, and then offer our best suggestions for incorporating peer-to-peer fundraising into your nonprofit’s events. Let’s get started!

1. What is peer-to-peer or social fundraising?

First, let’s go over what this fundraising strategy even is.

Peer-to-peer fundraising, or social fundraising, is a strategy nonprofits use to leverage their supporters’ own social networks to fundraise and raise awareness.

They do this by encouraging their supporters to set up their own campaign pages to share with their friends and family. Their friends and family donate, and then your nonprofit receives the donation. The human connections that characterize these campaigns do a great job of motivating new donors.

But what are the benefits of conducting a P2P fundraiser instead of leaving it to the big players?

  • Your supporters can individualize their pages to reflect their personal connection to your organization.
  • Potential donors will have more trust in your nonprofit because of their friend’s endorsement.
  • Your nonprofit can stretch its resources further by relying on your supporters.

By tapping into your supporters’ personal networks, your nonprofit can cast a wider net for donations and add many more donors to its donor database.

2. Use peer-to-peer fundraising as a way to lead up to your event.

Peer-to-peer fundraisers are a natural way to increase excitement in the weeks leading up to your event, especially because they get your supporters engaged in the campaign long before the actual event!

Consider what kind of events your nonprofit is holding in the coming season. There are countless ways to integrate a peer-to-peer fundraiser into your events. Events that are commonly paired with P2P fundraisers include:

  • Walkathons.
  • Bike rides.
  • Fun runs or 5ks.
  • Charity auctions.
  • Community sport tournaments.

To get your community pumped up for your upcoming event, reach out to your most devoted supporters and ask them if they’d like to fundraise for your organization in the weeks leading up to the event.

3. Kick off a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign with an event.

Another way to combine your fundraising techniques into one spectacular strategy is to use an event that you’ve already planned to launch your upcoming peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.

Market your event as a kickoff or launch party, and ensure that your most dedicated supporters are encouraged to attend.

Your supporters will be excited to work more closely with your organization, especially if you offer an incentive to the person/team who raises the most money. Consider asking them to make a giving pledge, as well!

For another way to make use of new fundraising technology and make your events as successful as possible, read up on text-to-give software with this guide from OneCause.

4. Organize a one-day fundraising blitz.

Have you considered running a one-day fundraising extravaganza? If you haven’t, now’s your chance! With a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, you can reach far more people than your organization could on its own.

Plan your giving day event for a special date. Consider auspicious days like holidays related to the cause you serve, the publication date of a relevant must-read book, or the anniversary of an important political decision that impacted your community.

But what type of event goes well with this sort of fundraising campaign? Anything!

Some fun ideas for your one-day fundraiser could be:

  • A lock-in at a local church or community center.
  • An all-day volunteer event benefiting your cause.
  • Organize a scavenger hunt.
  • Host a block party.

If you do decide to hold a volunteer opportunity, take some time to distribute information about volunteer grant companies. You never know if one of your supporters works for a company that will financially match their employee’s donated time!

The possibilities are endless for pairing a fun event with your one-day fundraiser. During your event, keep reminding your supporters to spread their donation pages as far as they can!

5. Offer incentives for donating through your peer-to-peer campaign.

One last fun way to link your events to your peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns is to use your nonprofit’s merchandise to incentivize people to donate online!

While there are a million ways to do this, our two best suggestions are to:

  • Offer the merchandise as a purchase on the donation page
  • Give merchandise away as people donate different amounts

Some great merchandise that donors love and are easy for nonprofits to order are:

  • T-shirts, tank tops, or sweatshirts
  • Koozies
  • Mugs or cups
  • Stress balls or other novelty items

If you’ve always wanted to make stuff for your organization but didn’t know where to start, check out Bonfire’s guide to making your own custom merch.

Odds are that your organization has either leftover merchandise from events in the past, or has ordered merchandise for this season’s event. Make these purchases work double duty as both event marketing and donation recruiter!

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Peer-to-peer fundraisers are a great way to maximize the impact of your fundraising events, as well as get your supporters more involved in every campaign.

Anything from taking advantage of new philanthropic business models through volunteer grants or distributing new merch to supporters can increase the success of your peer-to-peer events: you just have to get creative.

With our fun tips for combining these two strategies, you’re sure to succeed in meeting your fundraising goals, as well as in throwing an awesome event for your nonprofit.

Kelly Velasquez-Hague
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