The fundraising pendulum is swinging back to “in person,” but that doesn’t mean you should ease up your online efforts, particularly peer-to-peer fundraising. Here’s why:

  • It boosts the donations of almost any fundraising campaign, helping you to reach your goals. According to The State of Modern Philanthropy 2021, “The median amount raised by events in which attendees raise money on behalf of an organization through peer-to-peer fundraising pages, typically is 4.5 times greater than ticketed events.”
  • Compared with traditional fundraisers, it requires less money and resources. The Digital-First Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Study found that peer-to-peer increased revenue by 30% in 2021 vs. 2020, nearly 9x the increase in revenue generated by physical and hybrid fundraising efforts.
  • Peer-to-peer enables your organization to appeal to and connect with Gen Z, who are accustomed (and expect) to be able to engage online. This socially responsible group is particularly drawn to inclusive organizations whose clear values align with their own.
  • It creates a personal, meaningful introduction of your cause and nonprofit to new donors. Existing supporters are the ones spreading the word to friends and colleagues.
  • By offering peer-to-peer, you’re providing supporters another way to participate, thus enabling them to tailor their experience with your organization.
  • The snowball effect—if your event is fun, participants will come back year after year (along with new supporters).

Sounds good, right? Below, we’ll show you how to build and incorporate a peer-to-peer campaign and share a few fun ideas to try, but first, we’ll explain what sets this form of social fundraising apart.

What is Peer-to-Peer Fundraising?

If you’re not 100% sure what the heck peer-to-peer fundraising (aka p2p) is, you’re in good company. This study found that over 40% of nonprofit organizations don’t, either.

A peer-to-peer fundraising event is one in which your supporters raise money on behalf of your cause. A good example is almost any kind of “walk for a cure” event, which is essentially an “a-thon” fundraising campaign with a peer-to-peer component. Participants promote their involvement (and ask for donations) through social media.

What makes p2p fundraising uniquely effective?

  • Peer-to-peer fundraising reaches far beyond your organization’s network. Think of each participant as a mini-influencer, out there telling the story of your cause and galvanizing their followers to donate and participate. There’s a whole constellation of potential new donors out there, and this is how you connect!
  • Team fundraising introduces gamification, which is a fancy word for an online marketing technique intended to inspire engagement with a product or service. In short, participant teams compete to see who can raise the most money and are often incentivized by a prize, which could be swag branded to your nonprofit!
  • The donation ask comes entirely from your supporter-participants.

Peer-to-peer fundraising is NOT crowdfunding!

Crowdfunding is when a nonprofit directly asks supporters to give (usually small amounts)—GivingTuesday is a good example of a crowdfunding campaign. Essentially, followers visit your fundraising page to give, and engagement with the person donating begins (and, in many cases, ends) with the click of that “Donate Now” button.

How to Build a Peer-to-Peer Campaign

Since p2p fundraising is conducted online using social media, a peer-to-peer fundraising platform will not only help you run a p2p campaign effectively, it’ll also help you and your staff be more efficient. This Nonprofit Pro study found that “just over 74 percent of participants said that peer-to-peer fundraising software has made keeping track of information on participants, volunteers and fundraisers easier.”

Using our all-in-one fundraising and events platform, you can create a fundraising page, enable participants to create their own customized pages, and manage volunteers, various teams, and participants. You can also gather donor data and level up engagement with things like leaderboards, fundraising thermometers, and a list of prizes/accolades for top performers. That’s a lot of words, so we’ve created the below video that explains how to build and host peer-to-peer campaigns. This video will: 

  • Provide an overview of how to build your own campaign
  • Show how using peer-to-peer and team fundraising boosts donations and engagement
  • Demonstrate built-in gamification and sharing tools

Peer-to-peer Fundraising Ideas

Any kind of “a-thon” is a fit, from running to biking to reading, but you can also get creative! The beauty of peer-to-peer campaigns is that participants don’t necessarily have to get together to do the activity in person, and they can be added to any traditional fundraising initiative. For example:

  1. Every November, men all over stop shaving and grow out their beards and mustaches for Movember to raise awareness of men’s issues.
  2. Golf fundraisers are a great way to raise money, especially when you add p2p into the mix. Teams can compete to raise money, and you can even create special higher-value donations for holes-in-one (or two or three!).
  3. A push-up, plank, yoga, pilates, or CrossFit (you get the picture) challenge. For instance, the Prostate Cancer Foundation hosted a great push-up challenge in which participants had to “commit to doing 10 push-ups for every $20 donation received. All challengers are encouraged to capture the fun with photos and/or videos and post it to their social media platforms using #PCFPushUp to help share a message of hope and solidarity for anyone affected by this disease.” (via the Prostate Cancer Foundation)
  4. In a “give it up” challenge, participants are invited to choose a favorite food or beverage (like a latte), and for each day they don’t purchase it, they donate the equivalent amount. Participants’ friends and family can get in on the action, too, by pledging support for different lengths of time the participant will last!

Inspire supporters and develop new donors by giving peer-to-peer fundraising a whirl! It’s a low-investment, high-ROI way to freshen up existing fundraisers, introduce new options to your donor base, and reach (or exceed) fundraising goals.

About the Author

Lance Trebesch is the CEO of Eventgroove –  a one-stop, integrated platform for events, fundraisers, and e-commerce driven to help its customers amplify their brand and reach their goals.

Join Nonprofit Tech for Good on April 21 for a 30-minute, no-pressure product demo of Eventgroove’s all-in-one fundraising software. Learn more and register!