What is peer-to-peer online fundraising anyhow?

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01.25.2012By

Raising money online is probably the hardest thing any small or medium-size nonprofit will ever do. Sometimes all the effort and lack of results makes it feel like pulling teeth with chopsticks.

Online Fundraising Is No Easy Marathon

First of all, there are the obstacles you have at the starting line. You have to establish an extraordinary amount of trust before they actually make a donation–even if it’s just $10.

There’s also the issue of human resources, which usually includes only one or two people that are trying to manage the entire online fundraising process.

Peer-to-peer fundraising helps eliminate these obstacles.

What is peer-to-peer fundraising?

Simply put, peer-to-peer fundraising is when you empower your supporters to raise money (from their peers) on your organization’s behalf.

Your job is to provide the right guidance and tools for supporters to create their own personal fundraising campaigns. And more importantly, it’s the strategy that you develop to motivate your fundraisers.

What are the benefits of peer to peer fundraising?

Because you are leveraging the exponential power of your biggest supporters, peer-to-peer fundraising can help you establish trust, put more feet on the ground, and unlock creative resources.

  • Peer-to-peer fundraising solves the trust problem. Normally when your nonprofit asks for money, you have to first overcome huge barriers of trust. Peer-to-peer fundraising solves this problem because the people that are raising money for you automatically have trust established within their network of friends.
  • Peer-to-peer fundraising puts more feet on the ground. Raising money online is often difficult simply because you lack resources. Peer-to-peer fundraising solves this problem because you are multiplying yourself and having 20 or 30 people raise money instead of just you.
  • Peer-to-peer fundraising solves the creativity problem. When you create a fundraiser for your nonprofit, usually it’s just you and a couple of other people that have to come up with all the ideas. You have to come up with the messaging, the logos, the stories. But with peer-to-peer fundraising you empower your fundraisers to be creative in telling their own story and to share why they are interested in supporting your cause.

How Do I Start a Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Effort?

In order to be successful with peer-to-peer fundraising, you should consider the following guidelines:

  • Set Goals. The first thing you need to do is to be very, very clear about what you want to achieve and be able to communicate that with potential fundraisers.
  • Shoot Low. Start with a very small project you can raise money for instead of trying to roll out a peer-to-peer strategy in all channels. Also, aim for a very low financial goal, something you can achieve in your sleep. This way, when the fundraising effort is completed, you’ll feel successful.
  • Ask Your Fans. Ask your most passionate supporters what they would want to do for the campaign. Get ideas from them. They will love you for asking!
  • Make It Easy. Use a tool like Razoo which is very easy to use so that there are no technical obstacles to starting the campaign.
  • Stay Connected. If this is your first time doing peer to peer fundraising it’s a good idea to stay connected to those fundraisers on a day-to-day basis. Ask them what they need and how you can support their efforts.
  • Give Praise. Don’t forget that praise and appreciation are probably your best tools for success. When people are doing well, they like to be affirmed.
  • Measure. Use Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, UTM tags, and whatever analytics the fundraising platform includes. What to measure is an entirely different conversation, but just make sure for now that you’re at least capturing data from Facebook, your website, and through the fundraising software.
  • Monitor. This is different from measuring. You want to track mentions of your campaign so that you know who’s talking about you and where they’re saying it.
  • Regroup and  Reflect. Don’t skip this step. Get together with everyone who played a key role (face-to-face) and discuss what worked and what didn’t. This is where the real learning happens!

What else would you add?

  • Phones are an ideal platform for Peer to Peer Fundraising.u00a0 Making it easy for your constituents to raise money for you on the phone should be a top priority at all organizations that depend on public support. I spend most of my professional life working out connections. But Iu2019d love to hear how/what others have done to reach out with the same request to the same people, and what sort of success they have hadu2026 and suggestions for how to make running for witness more appealing.

    • I agree. That one-on-one phone conversation can go a long way in developing stronger relationships with donors. Online communication should only help reinforce that, but a multi-channel approach works best.

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  • Can anyone recommend a good Peer to Peer Fundraising platform?

    Thank you.

    • Julie C

      I have heard of but have not directly used:
      Pledgestar.com
      Generosityseries.com

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  • brenda claflin

    Informative ideas . Just to add my thoughts , if your company wants a CA ADOPT-215 , my assistant filled out a sample version here http://goo.gl/jgj0IA