Peer-to-Peer fundraising is not just a great way to raise money for you organization, but for some it has made all the difference in their fundraising efforts. Take peer-to-peer cycling initiatives for example. The Pan Mass Challenge in Massachusetts, California’s Aids/LifeCycle, and Ohio’s Pelotonia, have all raised millions of dollars. And let’s not forget the Ice Bucket Challenge that brought in over 100 million dollars for ALS.
So why does Peer-to-Peer fundraising work so well? There are a couple reasons:
1. Friends Asking Friends Works
First, and most importantly, friends asking friends to donate results in about 10 times higher response rates and 52% higher donations than a cold call and email. Friends asking friends also expands your reach exponentially. Think about it: if you have 5,000 contacts, those 5,000 contacts know hundreds of thousands of people! You can do the math. Peer-to-peer fundraising equals big bucks for charity!
2. Not Age Specific
People tend to think that peer-to-peer campaigns only target Millennials who spend a lot of free time online. The statistics tell a different story: Over 80 percent of Millennials are receptive to participating in P2P, and over 85 percent of Gen X, 77 percent of Boomers, and approximately 63 percent of mature people (ages 70 and up) are receptive to this fundraising method. St. Baldwick’s Foundation is a good example of P2P that spans all age groups. Back in 2000, the organization started a head shaving campaign to raise funds to fight childhood cancer. Today, literally thousands of head-shaving events take place around the world involving people of various ages. Their website invites everyone to “Be a Shavee.”
3. Allows for Creativity
The “next generation” donor wants to do things differently. They want to be in control, take action, and be creative. Peer-to-peer fundraising allows them to do just that! Each fundraiser can use their imagination to create and promote their own campaign while supporting your great cause.
Choice Humanitarian, for example, started a peer-to-per campaign to end poverty and they give fundraisers the freedom to raise money in their own way. One fundraiser says he will do pushups to end poverty and another commits to petting lamas 2,000 times.
4. Builds Lasting Relationships
Beyond people donating, P2P has the ability to make one-time donors fundraising advocates. In the long run it enables supporters to strengthen their relationship with your organization. The Polar Bear Plunge, for example, started out as a small charity event twenty plus years ago, but has kept donors participating and spreading the word year after year. Last year, close to a 10,000 people took the plunge on a cold January day.
How to Get Peer-to-Peer Fundraisers to Come Back Year-After-Year
Capturing the attention of peer-to-peer fundraisers isn’t always easy so when you have engaged them, you want to be able to keep them for the long haul. Wouldn’t it be great if every fundraiser remained committed year-after-year?
The initial excitement of registering for a peer-to-peer event can wear off so you will need some retention strategies to keep people involved.
- Train fundraisers – just like you train new staff, you can be training fundraisers. They might need help setting up donation pages or advice on how to write a good fundraising email. You can hold in-person training sessions, online ‘how to’ sessions, offer ‘how to’ guides, or make a video that provides fundraising tips. Training can reassure fundraisers and make them feel like they are important to the cause.
- Communicate regularly – we all live busy lives and need reminders from time-to-time. Fundraisers can use a nudge from you once-in-a-while. Use e-mail and other forms of communication to reach participants. Some non-profits schedule regular check-ins with their fundraisers; keeping in mind that communications will differ from person-to-person. For example, you wouldn’t have the same type of conversation with someone who hasn’t acquired any donations as someone who has collected $3,000.
- Consider incentives – whether at work or play, most people like incentives to reach their goals. You can use incentives to motivate your peer-to-peer fundraisers. Some examples of incentives include, event gear, tickets to events, gift cards, gift bags, or other prizes.
- Promote creativity – while participants like guidance, they also like the freedom to take some control. Encouraging fundraisers to be creative gives them control. We have heard of some fundraiser’s throwing dinner parties and setting up a special area in their home for a computer and inviting guests to donate. Others have organized coffee shop meet-ups and then solicited donations.
- Recognize achievement – when someone is recognized for his or her achievement it can inspire him or her to keep going and it can inspire others to join in. Real Men Wear Pink is a well-known fundraiser initiated by the American Cancer Society. Not only does this fundraiser grab attention because of its name, but it also does a good job in recognizing participants. In fact, the organization lists the names of top achievers on their website.
There are many other ways to keep your supporters engaged but the list we have provided is a handy reminder of how simple communications can help you. What it really comes down to is remembering to use your best people skills. Research out of Harvard and Stanford tells us that corporate success depends heavily on personal relationships and the ability to make others feel comfortable. It makes sense that this would also apply to non-profit organizations and peer-to-peer initiatives.
Our digital world has made possible a new era of fundraising, and it’s pretty amazing both for organizations, and for participants! If you’re ready to get started, there are many peer-to-peer solutions to choose from! See our list of 5 Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Solutions.