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Empower your donors: a guide to P2P fundraising

By Abby Jarvis
April 9, 2020

It’s hard to ignore a global pandemic. More and more people are urged to stay home as COVID-19 continues to be a growing concern. With so much out of our control, it’s more important now than ever to take additional steps to communicate effectively and think about your donors.

Direct your supporter base to healthy guidelines and correct information while also preparing your own team to work from home (if possible). Donors are feeling uncertain and will appreciate the updates. There are some who might even want to turn their anxiety into a positive force and make a change themselves.

One of the best ways to put your supporters in the driver’s seat is with the social fundraising method peer-to-peer fundraising, whether it’s for COVID-19 relief efforts or for your main mission. This is perfect for those who might not have the finances due to the economic turmoil coronavirus has caused but still want to make a difference. Also, they can practice safe social distancing and fundraise from the comforts of their own home!

However, it’s not enough to simply recruit volunteers and ask them to share an online donation page. Peer-to-peer fundraising requires careful planning and management, like all effective fundraising campaigns your nonprofit hosts. From the P2P platform you use to how you market your campaign, each action and choice should be based on how you can empower existing donors and inspire new donors.

If you’re thinking of starting your own P2P campaign, you’ve come to the right place. You’ll be learning about how to maximize your P2P fundraising by:

  • Choosing your peer-to-peer platform
  • Managing your volunteers
  • Taking advantage of all opportunities
  • Showing your appreciation

Are you ready to learn more about how you can take advantage of P2P fundraising? Let’s get started.

Your P2P platform

Choosing your peer-to-peer platform

One of the top reasons P2P fundraising campaigns are so successful and impactful is that they’re based on your volunteers’ personal networks. This means that most of the people donating to your cause aren’t doing it because they necessarily support your mission, but because they support that individual volunteer.

Ensure your volunteer fundraisers are equipped with the best tools to represent their connection to your nonprofit. Keep this need in mind as you decide which peer-to-peer fundraising platform to invest in.

Although it is possible to use a traditional online donation form and let each of your volunteers fundraise with that, a dedicated P2P tool provides a much more streamlined approach and will likely increase how much you raise. For example, the Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii was able to double its P2P funds after implementing a dedicated peer-to-peer tool.

According to this Qgiv article on top peer-to-peer fundraising platforms, the top platforms on the market have a few vital features in order to empower your volunteers. Make sure your P2P platform has:

  • Social integrations. The strength of a peer-to-peer campaign lies in the social media platform that your volunteers fundraise on. Give your fundraisers easy sharing ability and email/post creation with widgets and templates.
  • Peer-to-peer page customization. It’s important that each of your volunteers can effectively convey their connection to your mission through their individual P2P pages. Let them edit the text or add images and video for a fun personalized touch!
  • P2P pages with your nonprofit’s branding. Although the P2P pages should represent each of your unique volunteers, they should also still be branded to your mission. That way people can immediately associate it with your work. For example, use your nonprofit’s colors and include the logo.
  • Fundraising dashboards for volunteers. Your volunteer fundraisers will appreciate having a comprehensive look at the campaign with a fundraising dashboard. This is where they can send out messages, thank donors, or edit their own P2P page. You can even create custom welcome messages to introduce your volunteers to the dashboard.

Once you have a dedicated P2P platform to depend on, you’re ready to empower your donors and start your campaign! Read on to learn the best ways to manage your volunteer fundraisers.

Volunteer management

Managing your volunteers

You already know that engaging your donors and supporters is critical, especially if you want to build those relationships and increase donor retention rates. It’s more cost-effective to focus on current donors than attempt to reach new ones, so make sure you’re actively working toward this goal. The better those relationships are, the more likely those donors will become life-long supporters.

In a time where communication is more important than ever, it’s crucial that you flesh out your volunteer management efforts. You never know when situations might change and you need to announce something in a time-sensitive manner.

You should also plan out emails scheduled in advance so you can let your volunteers know about deadlines and updates to the campaign timeline. If your P2P volunteers are divided into teams, make sure you segment your audience so each recipient only gets personalized and relevant content.

As your P2P fundraiser goes on, think of ways to keep the momentum going and keep your volunteers excited. You can easily show the campaign’s progress within the P2P fundraising dashboard to remind fundraisers how much they’ve raised so far. You can even add a little friendly-competition with gamification tools. Create a truly memorable experience for your volunteers and set the foundation for future engagement.

Fundraising at the next level

Taking advantage of all opportunities

Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns are famously known to raise a lot of money in a short period of time. This is because each of your volunteer fundraisers is reaching out to their own individual network of friends and family, amplifying the reach of what just a simple online donation page might bring.

Make sure you’re effectively marketing your mission. With most people staying at home, your P2P campaign is in a strong position to attract new supporters through digital means. For instance, link to your main website from your P2P pages, email newsletters, and social media accounts.

There are other opportunities to maximize fundraising—take a look at your P2P platform and ensure you have these capabilities:

  • Gamification tools. Mentioned briefly in the previous section, gamification tools include steps taken to create a friendly competitive atmosphere. For instance, you can reward the biggest fundraisers with an incentive to motivate volunteers to keep fundraising. You can also display a participant leaderboard so volunteers know who is on top at all times.
  • Customized online donation forms to encourage matching gifts. Within your online donation forms, encourage people to also include their employers’ names. You never know, a good chunk of your new donors may be eligible to have their employers match their gifts, doubling the original donation. You don’t want to miss out on matching gifts—an estimated $4-$10 billion in matching gift funds goes unclaimed each year.
  • Text fundraising capabilities. Some platforms will also have text-to-give or text-to-donate capabilities. If you want to increase the number of small donations, consider creating your own unique keyword and allow donors to give whenever they can.

With the right tools in volunteers’ hands, your P2P campaign can reach new audiences and increase your overall fundraising.

The importance of thank you

Showing your appreciation

Your job isn’t done once your P2P campaign comes to a close. Whether your P2P volunteers were frequent donors or just casual supporters, this campaign was a great opportunity to engage with them and create the foundation for a long- term relationship.

Don’t ruin it by not thanking your volunteers and donors.

This is especially crucial now. COVID-19 has affected many lives, and those who volunteered to fundraise on your nonprofit’s behalf all went the extra step. As soon as everything is wrapping up and you’re tallying the last donations, remember to send out an appreciation email to your volunteers and donors summing up the campaign. Volunteers will be glad to know they’re being acknowledged and the final result of their work.

On the other hand, this could also be the start of a meaningful relationship with new donors who might not have known your cause beforehand. If you don’t know the right way to express your gratitude, check out Fundraising Letters, a resource of donor thank-you-letter templates.

Besides just sending an email, there are other ways you can show your appreciation:

  • Depending on the relationship level and individual preferences, send some donors a handwritten letter or call them.
  • Consider creating a video summing up the impact of the campaign. At the end, you can mention every volunteer who helped.
  • Highlight your top volunteer fundraisers with a social media shout-out.

Nonprofit fundraising thrives when it’s based on relationships and not just transactions. Donors and fundraisers need to be acknowledged now more than ever, so make sure you let them know how much their help mattered.

Closing thoughts

Peer-to-peer fundraisers are great ways to raise an incredible amount of money in a short time, all from the comforts of volunteers’ own homes. Empower your donors and give them the tools to make a change amidst the chaos. After reading this guide, you should know the top tips and tricks to get you on the right track. Good luck!