Using peer-to-peer campaigns and events is a great way to extend your fundraising reach. But, what do you do if your peer-to-peer (p2p) results aren’t what they used to be, or aren’t as impressive as you’d like?
Here are some impactful things you can do to today to improve your peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns and events:
1. Make your website easier to use.
Go to the homepage of your website, pretend that you have never been to the website before, and step through the online process. Focus on functionality more than on how “pretty” your website is. Ask yourself the following questions, and work with your website manager to make improvements:
- Is it clear what I should do if I want to learn more, register, or donate?
- How many clicks does it take to sign up or donate?
- How many questions am I asked during the registration or donation process (and do we really need to ask all of them)?
- If I’m donating, is it easy to find the person I want to donate on behalf of?
- If I’m registering as a fundraiser, how easy it is for me to sign up and then actually start fundraising?
2. Offer a compelling message.
You need an impactful story to get your supporters excited about helping you raise funds, and also for them to share with friends and family. Be sure that your story and communications for your fundraising campaign or event answer these questions:
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- What makes our organization unique?
- What impact are we having on our mission?
- What problem does this particular peer-to-peer fundraising campaign solve?
- How do we want people to feel about our campaign (emotionally touched, inspired, outraged)?
3. Get the word out, clearly.
Many of your supporters will be happy to participate and help you raise funds — but you have to ask! In every form of communication, make sure that your call-to-action is clear, and remember, asking someone to register and asking someone to fundraise are two DIFFERENT asks. If someone hasn’t registered yet, your messaging should be about asking them to register (not “register and then fundraise”). Once someone is a registered participant, then you can target them with fundraising communications.
4. Use a multi-channel approach.
Sending an email and direct mail to your constituents is a good way to recruit participants, but don’t stop there. Think about other communication channels: social media, online advertising, signs at your organization’s events, public service announcements, local TV and radio shows — all of these outlets can be used to ask people to sign up to help your organization. You don’t have to deploy every channel, but be sure to test new outlets, especially online advertising, as that is the easiest method of targeting new audiences in a way that you have full control over how much you spend.
5. Know who your key participants are.
Most peer-to-peer events have a similar model in that a small percentage of participants raise the most funds. But, who are these key fundraisers? They are usually people most impacted by or dedicated to your cause. So, how do you find more people like them? That really depends on your specific organization, but once you ask yourself that question, you’re on the right track to acquiring more of your biggest assets.
6. Leverage your participants.
The supporters who register to fundraise for your organization can be your biggest cheerleaders. Ask your top performers how else they may want to help, and see if they can use their story to recruit other participants. You’ll likely get more fundraisers on board and deepen your relationship with your participants.
7. Tie money to something real.
Associate the donation levels for your campaign or event with what the funds will provide for your organization. Letting supporters know that their donation will help feed a family of four or send a child to school for a year is more impactful than simply asking for a specified amount of money. This also helps make raising money fun — a win for all!
8. Have follow-up procedures.
Once someone registers, how are they communicated with? Make sure there are standard processes on communications used after someone commits to your cause. Some of these can be automatic while others may require action from a staff member. Some things to consider:
- Create a process for communicating with team captains
- Have a plan for reaching out to top fundraisers, your VIPs
- Develop a clear thank you program to ensure fundraisers and donors feel appreciated
9. Reach out directly.
Consider picking up the phone and calling your fundraisers. Ask them how things are going, and thank them for their work. Or, write a personalized note/email to thank fundraisers for their support. Also consider adding texts to the mix — they’re a great way to send a virtual high-five to fundraisers as they reach milestones.
10. Re-evaluate your software platform.
If you don’t have a software platform designed for peer-to-peer fundraising, or if you do but the software is difficult for participants or staffers to use, it might be time to look for a new platform. To get you started, here’s a guide for choosing a peer-to-peer fundraising platform.
11. Strategize your changes.
Choosing what improvements you want to make can be overwhelming, but if you’re strategic about it and focus on the more tactical changes that will help improve your bottom line — raising more funds for your organization — you’ll be on the right track. This may mean that you don’t get to rebrand the event series this year (I know, rebranding might make things look better, but will this really make people suddenly decide to participate or fundraise in your event?), but instead, you focus on creating clear messaging to new audiences.
When you need to give your peer-to-peer fundraising a boost, you don’t necessarily need to overhaul it. A few simple changes today can go a long way to taking your program to new heights!
Daniella Dowiak, Account Manager, Cathexis Partners
Daniella has worked in the nonprofit sector for more than eight years. With a deep understanding of nonprofits’ limited resources, she is passionate about helping organizations get the most out of their technology.