By Gary Wohlfeill, Director of Marketing at CrowdRise, who works with partners to develop highly engaging fundraising campaigns and leads the marketing team in developing the CrowdRise brand.

The nature of why a supporter chooses to fundraise for your nonprofit is most likely a personal one. Whether they’ve been helped directly by your nonprofit, they have a family member affected by your mission, or they just have a true passion for what you’re doing, they have an affiliation with your cause for a reason.

And that’s where peer-to-peer fundraising comes in.

Peer-to-peer fundraising is a type of crowdfunding when you, a nonprofit, invite your supporters to set up personal fundraisers connected to an event or campaign on your nonprofit’s behalf. When individual supporters set up personal fundraisers and share them with their network of friends and family, this creates more awareness and brings in new funds from groups that your nonprofit wouldn’t be able to reach on your own.

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Best Practices

Incorporating peer-to-peer into your strategy can not only enhance your fundraising program, but it can also help empower your supporters to go that extra mile for you where it means the most. Here are a few ways you can start adding peer-to-peer into your mix.

1. Assign a point person.

Choose someone within your organization that can be responsible for heading up the program. Seems like such a small first step, but when someone is responsible for the program, it’s more likely it’ll stay strong. Treat peer-to-peer like any other initiative; set clear goals even if you have to modify them later on.

2. Choose the right platform.

It’s never been easier to get started on an online fundraising platform. In fact, 33% of nonprofits worldwide are already using a peer-to-peer platform*. However, with all of the fundraising platforms to choose from, you want to make sure you’re making the best decision for your nonprofit.

Your fundraising platform should be able to handle peer-to-peer fundraising and allow supporters to create individual fundraising pages that are seamlessly branded for your campaign. The platform you choose should provide you with the capabilities to message supporters, see the collective amount raised, and understand how that number rolls up to your overall campaign total. Platforms like CrowdRise by GoFundMe give nonprofit’s at every plan access to advanced functionality, reporting, and world-class support to hold and grow a successful peer-to-peer program.

3. Set a clear goal.

Goals are so important to have something to work towards, but to also keep you motivated and on track. However, you’ll want to make sure you set goals that are realistic, as well. If you think you can raise $5,000 but $15,000 is a major stretch, go for $5,000. Once you hit that $5,000, you can always raise your goal and use that ‘small win’ of hitting $5,000 to take you even farther.  

4. Get fundraisers engaged early.

Start a conversation with your board members, as well as your most passionate supporters, and ask them to create their own fundraiser to kick off your peer-to-peer campaign. Getting some fundraisers signed on before you go out to a wider audience helps to ease any concerns about being the first to commit.

5. Think about how you craft your ask.

Although recruiting fundraisers can seem like a daunting task, all it takes is a few fundraisers already on your page to start the process. After you have some board members or super supporters signed up, reach out via your social media channels and/or email to let the rest of your supporters know about the campaign.

Use messaging that empowers supporters to join those already fundraising, and include details about how starting a fundraiser can impact your cause. They’ll be excited to turn their personal connection into a meaningful campaign.

When you communicate with supporters about this opportunity, present real situations. Maybe a problem that needs to be solved, a person that needs help, a goal that’s not yet met — then let them know what role they’ll play when they create a personal fundraiser.

6. Calm their concerns.

One common reservation that nonprofits hear when hosting peer-to-peer fundraisers is how it’s not always easy for supporters to ask friends and family for money. So, in order to get ahead of that concern, it’s helpful for nonprofits to provide messaging examples about why your organization is making a difference and why support is so important. “You don’t necessarily need to ask for money when you’ve put a compelling argument together to support a cause,” said Ellen from the Pat Tillman Foundation — one of the best orgs out there when it comes to success with peer-to-peer.

7. Make it as easy as possible for your supporters.

Make it as easy as possible for fundraisers to raise money for your cause through ready-made resources. Toolkits that include sample messaging (email templates, social media posts), successful campaign examples, and graphic assets like official logos and images are especially helpful.

8. Encourage the power of the share.

The value of a share is real and it is definitely a vital part of a successful peer-to-peer program. Let your peer-to-peer fundraisers know that, by them sharing their campaign through their social channels, they’re helping your cause expand its awareness and raise more money. Besides, having access to your supporters’ network is one of the biggest benefits of running a peer-to-peer campaign in the first place. When your supporter shares their fundraiser it can lead to, on average, another $45 in donations, so encouraging the share is a huge component of peer-to-peer.

9. Offer up your support.

You’ll want to make sure your supporters don’t feel like they’re alone in their quest to raise money for your cause. Keep the conversation going by celebrating milestones, offering up support, checking in on them, and giving guidance whenever you can.

10.  Incentivize and thank fundraisers.

Often times, supporters will need an extra dose of encouragement to organize a fundraiser on your nonprofit’s behalf. Consider providing prizes such as water bottles, t-shirts, or stickers as incentives. Thanking supporters will not only show your gratitude, but also encourage them to continue the good work they’re doing for your nonprofit. One way to show gratitude and incentivize your fundraisers is to promote them on social media. This acts as both a boost to their campaign, as well as a shout-out to show your appreciation.

When you implement these best practices to enhance (or kick off) your peer-to-peer program, you’re setting your nonprofit up for success.

CrowdRise by GoFundMe’s easy-to-use peer-to-peer fundraising platform allows your community to fundraise on your behalf to make an even bigger impact for your cause and its mission.

*Based on the 2018 Global NGO Technology Report