Daniella Dowiak is an account manager at Cathexis Partners. She has worked in the nonprofit sector for more than ten years. With a deep understanding of nonprofits’ limited resources, she is passionate about helping organizations get the most out of their technology.

Peer-to-peer campaigns and events are such an effective way to extend your fundraising reach that many nonprofits today consider them a key part of the fundraising mix. But, what do you do if your peer-to-peer fundraising results aren’t what they used to be, or aren’t as remarkable as you’d like?

Here are nine impactful things you can do to today to improve your next peer-to-peer fundraising campaign or event:

1. Revisit the basics.

Whether you’ve been running peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns for years or you’re just getting started, it’s worth taking time to rethink your overall process. Brush up on best practices for everything from planning and launching to running and wrapping up successful online peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns. A few tweaks to your process can make a big impact.

2. Re-think your software platform.

If you don’t have a software platform designed for peer-to-peer fundraising, or if you do but the software is difficult for participants or staffers to use, it might be time to look for a new platform. To get you started, here’s a guide for choosing a peer-to-peer fundraising platform.

3. Make your website friendlier.

Go to the home page of your website. Pretend that you have never been there before. Ask yourself the following questions, and work with your website manager to make improvements:

    • Is it clear what I need to do if I want to learn more, register, or donate?
    • How many clicks does it take to sign up or donate?
    • How many questions am I asked during the registration or donation process (and do we really need to ask all of them)?
    • If I’m donating, is it easy to find the person I want to donate on behalf of?
    • If I’m registering as a fundraiser, how easy it is for me to sign up and then actually start fundraising?

4. Have a compelling story.

You need a moving story to get your supporters excited about helping you raise funds. And, your supporters need it to share with friends and family. Be sure that the story and communications for your fundraising campaign or event answer these questions:

    • What makes our organization unique?
    • What impact are we having on our mission?
    • What problem does this peer-to-peer fundraising campaign solve?
    • How do we want people to feel about our campaign (emotionally touched, inspired, outraged)?

5. Tie dollars to something real.

Associate the donation levels for your campaign or event with what the funds will provide. For example, letting supporters know that their donation will help feed a family of four or send a child to school for a year is more powerful than simply asking for a specified amount of money.

6. Ask, clearly.

Many of your supporters will be happy to participate and help you raise funds — but you have to ask! In every form of communication, make sure your call-to-action is clear. And remember, asking someone to register and asking someone to fundraise are two DIFFERENT asks. If someone hasn’t registered yet, your messaging should be about asking them to register (not “register and then fundraise”). Once someone is a registered participant, then you can target them with fundraising communications.

7. Take time to analyze.

Take some time to gather, analyze, and use data from your past campaigns or events. Dig into your constituent relationship management (CRM) system and see what trends and opportunities you can uncover to improve your fundraising results. For example, use data from previous campaigns or events to add personalized notes to your recruiting emails and tap into the loyalty of past participants. In this case, you might look up your previous years’ results, and add a personal note to your recruiting email, such as:

  • “Thank you for raising $X last year.”
  • “Thank you for being one of our top 50 fundraisers last year.”
  • “Last year you ran X:XX in our 5K and took Xth place. Are you ready to do it again?”
  • “You’ve participated in our event X times and have raised $X throughout those years with us. We sincerely thank you for your continued support.”

8. Leverage your participants.

The supporters who register to fundraise for your organization can be your biggest cheerleaders. Ask your top performers how else they may want to help, and see if they can use their own stories to recruit other participants. You’ll likely get more fundraisers on board and deepen your relationship with your participants.

9. Reach out directly.

Pick up the phone and call your fundraisers. Ask them how things are going, and thank them for their work. Or, write a personalized note/email to thank fundraisers for their support. Also, consider adding texts to the mix — they’re a great way to send virtual high-fives to fundraisers as they reach milestones.

When your peer-to-peer fundraising starts going flat, you don’t necessarily need to overhaul your campaigns completely. Try a few of these changes — they can go a long way to taking your program to new heights!

Cathexis Partners helps nonprofits use technology to raise funds and engage supporters. Since 2008, the Cathexis Partners team has served more than 850 nonprofits on more than 2,000 projects, including software setup and management, website development, and online fundraising campaign creation. The company is a certified partner with many of the top nonprofit fundraising platforms and peer-to-peer fundraising technologies, and also works extensively with WordPress and other technologies that enhance CRM and CMS software.