UPDATED: The latest, best methods to drive peer-to-peer fundraising success in 2021.
Fostering and empowering your fundraisers are the most important things you can do to keep your peer-to-peer fundraising programs strong. Not every supporter is an expert at fundraising. They need your guidance during the fundraising journey - especially if this is their first event. Here are some of the most effective methods you can use to empower and motivate participants along their fundraising journey.
1. Adopt fundraisers into your community
People are joining your cause because they want to make a difference and they don't want to do it alone. So right off the bat, make them feel welcome and assure them that they’re joining a mission-minded community. Use welcome messaging in your registration process, but also take time to listen and build meaningful relationships with fundraisers to increase loyalty to your nonprofit’s brand. Think about the subgroups within your community and make sure to celebrate them and, most importantly, help them to connect with each other.
Always remember, they are not your fundraisers, your organization's mission is their cause.
More reading: Learn how investing in community helped Extra-Life grow 17% in 2020 with dedicated participants.
2. Encourage participants to talk about their why
New fundraisers may be shy about “making the ask” for donations initially. Coach them to share their personal connection with your cause on their fundraising page and in messages to drive awareness and donations to their page. The story of why they got involved will help resonate with friends, family and connections they have. When you see a participant authentically sharing their “why”, don’t keep it to yourself. Amplify it to the rest of your community so they can be inspired and potentially follow their lead.
More reading: How to teach your supporters to be influential storytellers Go to article.
3. Leverage Activity Tracking & Activity Pledges
Almost all peer-to-peer fundraising events involve some kind of activity. So track the repeatable activity and allow donors to choose to pledge to a participant's activity instead of a flat donation. Choose the activity (i.e steps walked, miles run, hours volunteered, minutes live streaming, mental-health minutes, or anything repeatable and trackable that fits your brand) and tell your participants to start moving and recording. If it ties to their personal goals it will be an even a greater motivator for them. If donors use pledges it will also deepen the relationship between the donor & participant, because the donor is now invested in the participant's personal goal and their fundraising journey.
In May 2020, the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's 31 Day Challenge increased their fundraising by 181% in 2020 by using Activity Tracking. Read their story.
4. Ask them to donate to their own campaign
Don't sit back and let participants stagnate before they even get started. If they donate even $10 to their own campaign, they’re vested in the cause. Those who self-donate raise substantially more than those who don’t. Prompt the participant to donate to themselves during registration and provide suggested amounts. Even better, use those amounts and communicate the impact they each have. For example, "Feeding America says $1 provides 10 meals" and World Vision says, "For $50, World Vision can provide an individual with clean water that lasts!”
5. Make it easy for them to promote with their favorite social channels
Integrate your fundraising experience with the social media outlets they already enjoy using and where their extended community is. Allow them to sync their fundraising page with Facebook Fundraisers or create a connected streaming experience through Twitch or Youtube. At the very least, pre-fill suggested posts on behalf of the participant they can elect to send to Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook or let them opt into triggered Tweets based on participant campaign activity.
Pro Tip: Auto-populate those suggested donations/impact statements everywhere you can. Use them in the suggested language in fundraiser profiles, appeal emails, and appeal social messages. By giving them a foundation to communicate with, you remove another barrier that could make them pause when requesting donations.
6. Have them set Milestones and Incentives to help them reach their goal
Fundraising is a journey, so let participants make it fun along the way! When they set their goal, coach them to set mini-goals or offer prizes on the path to their overall fundraising goal. They can offer exclusive items as incentives or with milestones make promises to donate more of their personal funds, do more activity, or anything imaginable that will encourage donors to give. Both are great methods for fundraisers to interact with donors and during a live stream and celebrate each victory live!
7. Host virtual gatherings to connect with supporters
If you want to make a more personal connection with your participants, you don't have to settle with only email communications. Live streaming is a great way to virtually gather participants to share impact stories, campaign progress and to continue motivating them to fundraise throughout your campaign's active period. Many nonprofits employed hosting virtual events in 2020 and will continue to use virtual broadcasting tools now that they see the engagement value.
8. Build camaraderie and competition with teams and leaderboards
A team is more powerful than a crowd. Letting your participants team up to fundraise together reinforces the feeling of community. Make sure teams have the same capabilities on their group fundraising page as individual fundraisers do. Let them create team milestones, track collective activity or even host group charity live streams right on their team page.
More reading: Fundraising with teams: Why team building can make your event a success. Go to article.
9. Highlight your superstars
Take a few moments every week in your campaign to recognize and feature your high performers or inspiring individuals in your campaign. Automatically highlight participants and teams on leaderboards. Let them earn and showcase their accomplishments with badges and activity milestones so every bit of progress feels purposeful and engagement stays high. Remember, high-performing fundraisers and team captains are equivalent to big donors from an ROI perspective and should be treated with that level of care to keep them returning each year.
More reading: Ways to coach your team captains to raise more than major donors. Go to article.
10. Remind them to have fun
Fundraising is supposed to be a fun and positive experience. You never want to give participants a transactional feeling. The less formal and business-like your brand voice is, the better. When you’re coaching participants, speak with the goal to inspire creativity and experimentation. Use a tone that is upbeat and encouraging. Build on your brand voice that stays mission-oriented, but do your best to make it unique, uses levity, and is approachable to fundraisers.
Empowering and training your supporters to be strong fundraisers is one of the most valuable relationships you can foster. It’s not easy, but when you have the alliance and commitment from your core community, they can carry you through even during the hardest of times.
In 2020, participation for peer-to-peer events dropped 61%, despite that across the board the fundraising totals of the average participant increased 69%. This means the loyal participants who returned and joined virtual fundraising programs last year worked harder and were more effective than ever. With that kind of commitment, it gives us encouragement that better fundraising days are ahead.