Secrets to a Successful Peer-to-Peer Campaign


If your nonprofit is like most others, it always seems as if the staff is too small to generate enough funds. The obvious answer? Expanding your fundraising capabilities through peer-to-peer campaigns.

Why peer-to-peer?

Donors typically think of giving as charitable acts in support of a nonprofit’s mission—and that absolutely is the case. In practice, however, getting someone to open their wallet wide or wider, usually depends on a relationship that one donor has with another.

  • It turns out that giving is not simply a charitable activity—it is in large measure social. The power of peer-to-peer fundraising sounds like this: Join me, let’s do this together. It is a message difficult to say no to.

How peer-to-peer campaigns work

Peer-to-peer campaigns rely on donors and volunteers—Board members or other strong supporters of a nonprofit—to draw upon their personal relationships to help raise funds.

  • These supporters strategically approach their connections, local business people, friends, or family members, and ask their connections to join them in supporting a specific campaign or event.
  • It’s akin to the old bake sale or Girl Scout cookie campaigns but with an updated spin.
  • Strong, expert fundraising software can assist with finding donors, compelling messaging, and easy-to-locate donate buttons.

Examples of peer-to-peer campaigns

  • Coffees hosted by a peer or close friend of a peer. A Board member or executive staff introduce the peer. The peer speaks from the heart, recounting his or her reasons for supporting this mission and this organization in particular before asking others in the room to join in do they can all do this together.
  • Chambers of commerce and other business networks’ social get-togethers where members can make a pitch for their favorite local charity.
  • Social media and crowdfunding campaigns, specifically requested or sanctioned by the nonprofit’s executive or development team, which raise funds for a specific event.
  • Matching gift challenges: a strong nonprofit supporter who sets up their gift as a challenge to peers.
  • Mini walkathons or bikeathons, particularly in memory or in honor of a local person.

The possibilities are endless, limited only by the imaginations of participating peers and the nonprofit’s executive team. The only key ingredient is a peer relationship.

Tips for peer-to-peer success

Before your organization pivots to increasing its peer fundraising significantly, here are tips to keep in mind.

  • Peers become ambassadors for your nonprofit, its mission, and its brand. Select with care who among your supporters will make the best ambassadors and actively recruit them to lead a peer campaign.
  • Plan and oversee the campaign with your peer—don’t make it a quick hand-off: even sophisticated peers may be venturing into new territory. Moreover, peer-to-peer campaigns are vulnerable to awkward social encounters that you want to avoid as a nonprofit relying on private donations. Additionally, some types of peer campaigns may be incompatible with your mission. Executive team oversight is a stronger route to campaign success.
  • Make it easy on peers. The right software, such as Process Donation’s, does all the heavy lifting by sharing campaign messages in email and on social media with text, images and video as well as facilitating and streamlining online giving.

Make 2018 the year you expand your fundraising capabilities through a series of strong, focused peer-to-peer campaigns and remember, the right software provides the key support for success.

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