The best gathering in peer-to-peer fundraising gets even better

Erin Todd

Erin Todd

Digital Marketing Manager

With record attendance, inspiring stories, and puppies, P2P Forum Conference brought the party to New Orleans

The DonorDrive team is back from the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum Conference in festive New Orleans. This year, the event broke attendance records with more than 500 attendees from over 80 nonprofits. As the largest conference for peer-to-peer fundraising, we’re proud to sponsor this event year after year. From small beginnings, it’s become the go-to conference for learning—and especially for networking.

We kicked off the conference with our pre-conference workshop, New Technologies in Peer-to-Peer Fundraising. This was an intensive session led by nonprofit marketing and fundraising expert, Allison Fine. Allison spoke about the future of Artificial Intelligence and chatbots in the fundraising space. DonorDrive’s own Meghan Nash, Senior Implementations Manager, covered chatbot best practices and some examples from DonorDrive clients like National Alliance for Mental IllnessKasey Cuppoletti, DonorDrive’s Product Manager, featured streaming as part of this morning of presentations. Ally Brooks, Senior Manager at Eventage, covered communications best practices and how to automate them. 

The Charity Dynamics keynote revealed the Peer to Peer Top 30 findings of 2018. Out of the gate it was alarming to see over half of the events reported a decrease in revenue in 2018. Despite this set back in the overall market, there were lots of organizations seeing strong growth thanks to their ingenuity and ability to stay relevant to their core audience. 

The biggest news was the Top 30 new comer, Extra Life. This gaming marathon fundraises for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and is a longtime DonorDrive client. Extra Life is the first charity gaming event to break into the list dominated by legacy programs. Extra Life reached the highest percentage growth of all programs in 2018. Their program grew an unmatched 24% since last year and proves the virtual event and live streaming models can be a big success for nonprofits. Other events on DonorDrive, like the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of The Darkness Walks and CMN Hospital’s Dance Marathon saw strong growth in 2018 as well. 

Marc Rubner DonorDrive’s CEO, introduced Allison Fine for her keynote message. Allison delivered a high-energy speech at the start of the conference, Pivoting From Transactions to Relationships, and sharing the best ways to empower peer-to-peer fundraisers to become more deeply engaged with nonprofits. She challenged organizations to fill their networks with social capital with their people. She also outlined three key questions to shift conventional mindsets and provided guidance on how to find ways for organizations to collaborate and co-create with their constituents. 

DonorDrive led the conversation of DIY in peer-to-peer fundraising at P2P Forum. Ashley Larkin, DonorDrive Client Success Manager, hosted the DIY Summit segment with 3 outstanding organizations that use DIY effectively in their arenas. Mariela Castillo from St. Baldrick’s Foundation, explained how their experience offers many lessons for far smaller programs. Colleen Veldt, Director of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising at Covenant House International, explained how they overcame the physical limitations of hosting their signature Sleep Out program and created a DIY complement to it. They grew their program with the creation of Sleep Out America, a DIY version of the program, that broadened their footprint. Finally, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Heather Beck shared lessons from her group’s Passion Fundraising initiative that leverages DIY to support, not competes, with their program.

Undoubtably, the best moment of the first day at Peer-to-Peer was the arrival of Griffin, Tika, and Smurf from the Louisiana SCPA. These doggies launched the first Live Fundraising™ event at the DonorDrive booth. For two hours they greeted, sniffed and accepted belly rubs from their new friends at P2P Forum. This was all caught on a live stream, with supporters tuning in, watching, and donating to the Louisiana SCPA. When the dogs departed, our team switched gears to showcase fundraising for Extra Life with Super Smash Brothers, Mario Kart and LEGO Building. We had lots of fun activities for P2P attendees to participate in, while anyone who tuned in to the DonorDrive Live Fundraising page could donate to help sick kids.

As always, meeting with the people who build fundraising initiatives around the world was a pleasure. We had amazing conversations with nonprofits and we can tell the future of fundraising is bright for 2019.

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