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3 Reasons Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Drives More Engagement

  • September 28, 2021
Group of volunteers use mobile app to donate to a charity

In the midst of changing technology and trends, one of the best ways to boost awareness for your cause, deepen donor relationships, and increase reach (and proceeds) for your mission is peer-to-peer fundraising. The impact of social fundraising has dramatically increased in the last 18 months, giving nonprofits new channels to create reach and drive engagement. 

According to our latest research study on giving trends during a time of social distancing, peer-to-peer and virtual fundraising strategies reach more donors, engage diverse segments of the population, and create vast potential to tap into new donor bases online. 

In fact, more than 27 percent of U.S. adults have reported fundraising for or giving to a peer-to-peer campaign during the pandemic.

Let’s look at three reasons why peer-to-peer fundraising drives more engagement.

1. Peer-to-peer fundraising leverages social networks.

The reason peer-to-peer fundraising is so engaging is pretty simple: It’s inherently social. 

At the core of social giving is social proof—the concept that people are more likely to get involved with something if their peers and loved ones have already shown an interest in it.

On Instagram alone, the average person has approximately 150 followers. And that’s just on one channel; think about Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok, and more. If one person shares a post about your campaign on social media or requests their peers make donations, think about the number of people they can reach and potential new eyes on your cause.

The best part is that peer-to-peer fundraising scales effectively for nonprofits. In many nonprofits, staffing and resources are constant challenges. But with peer-to-peer campaigns, your supporters do the fundraising, creating ambassadors for your mission. Social fundraising allows your organization to:

  • Increase your exposure. Peer-to-peer and social campaigns bring awareness to your organization. Even for those supporters who don’t give, your brand will appear on their social media feeds, creating an impression and sharing your impact.
  • Leverage social proof to increase proceeds. Studies show that individuals not yet acquainted with an organization are more likely to give as a result of a direct request from a family member or friend than through a direct appeal from a nonprofit.
  • Create opportunities for year-round involvement. Peer-to-peer fundraising opportunities allow supporters to get involved anytime and anywhere. Get creative and spread social giving campaigns throughout the year. 

All you need to do is follow peer-to-peer fundraising best practices, harness the power of social media, and tap into the right fundraising software for success. Then watch your campaigns take off!

2. Peer-to-peer fundraising is easy, flexible, and creative.

A robust peer-to-peer fundraising strategy gives your nonprofit flexibility in the events and campaigns you can roll out.

According to our latest research, social giving campaigns or peer-to-peer fundraisers come in five main shapes and sizes:

  • Fundraising events: In-person, hybrid, and virtual events like auctions, galas, and tournaments can be great for raising funds while providing attendees with an engaging experience to remember. 
  • Runs/walks/rides: Also known as event-a-thons, runs/walks/rides allow participants to take on a powerful role as a volunteer fundraiser for your cause. Supporters often collect pledged donations from connections prior to the big event to be paid out afterwards based on the distance the participant completed.
  • Challenges: In a challenge fundraiser, participants volunteer to complete a pre-determined task, record and share the challenge on social media, tag the next person to complete the challenge, and, of course, submit a donation online. The most well-known example was the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS research in 2014, although thousands of organizations have hosted similarly styled campaigns to raise money and awareness for their missions. 
  • Giving days: Giving days are particular days dedicated to raising a substantial amount of money in a limited time frame for a cause. These are often part of larger campaigns such as Giving Tuesday or Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 
  • Occasions: Honoring a special occasion with a dedicated fundraising campaign, like a birthday fundraiser, is becoming more common practice. Additionally, others are honoring loved ones who pass away by hosting a memorial or tribute fundraiser for a mission they cared for deeply.

Regardless of the types of fundraising efforts you choose, ease of giving remains the #1 motivator behind peer-to-peer giving. So ensure that giving experience for your donors is as streamlined and seamless as possible.

3. Social giving attracts diverse groups of donors.

As more mature donors have begun aging out of philanthropy, Gen X, Millennial, and Gen Z donors, as well as people of color, are now assuming the giving mantle. Finding innovative ways to reach them virtually, like through peer-to-peer fundraising, is key now and going forward. 

Consider the following:

  • Donor age: As younger generations begin to make up a majority of the workforce, targeting these groups of donors is more important than ever before. Our studies show that Millennials and Gen Z donors now make up the majority of the social donor population and participate in more peer-to-peer giving campaigns than their Gen X and Boomer predecessors. (But older generations shouldn’t necessarily be excluded from your strategies!)
  • Location: While traditional fundraising efforts might require supporters to reside within a certain distance from your organization to get involved, the power of the internet continues to open up new opportunities regardless of location. 
  • Level of wealth: While the average social fundraising contribution falls around $200, you can attract all levels of giving through this type of fundraising strategy. This includes the student who can only pledge a few dollars as well as affluent households contributing midsize and major gifts. However, the most effective strategies focus on treating every donor like a critical partner regardless of gift size.

Strong peer-to-peer fundraising strategies will give you more flexibility, stronger relationships with supporters, and overall set you up for long-term success. 


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