Feb 6, 2020

FAQ: peer-to-peer fundraising


We hosted a webinar, 411 on peer-to-peer fundraising, with our partners at GiveGab. Here are answers to the questions that came through the chat during our Q+A session. These questions are answered by both teams at GiveSmart and GiveGab. 

What are some strategies to consider for peertopeer (p2p) fundraising that is not connected to an event?
Anytime your organization is working to raise funds for a specific project or initiative, you can launch a digital campaign that has p2p functionality built into it and tie the campaign to a specific objective your organization is trying to achieve. Examples we have seen include a capital campaign to raise $5k to finish a charter school’s playground or $1k to provide a day of free rabies vaccinations at a pet shelter. Once you create the digital campaign, you can invite your supporters to act as p2p fundraisers by creating their own sub-campaigns that highlight why they’re raising money for this initiative and encourage them to ask their peers via social media and email. 

A good strategy for p2p fundraising with digital campaigns is to focus on the story and the relevance this campaign has on the Peer-to-Peer fundraisers. In the example of the campaign to finish a school playground, a great candidate for a fundraiser would be a parent sharing how much joy this playground would bring to their child and how it would provide a safe place for them to play. 

Tips on marketing a one-time art event as a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign?
Depending on the type of event you’re throwing, this can work a few ways: 

  • Peer-to-peer fundraising to raise funds for the event…this will encourage donors and their peers to raise funds for the event that will then act as a showcase or art exhibition, instead of auction. These types of events often have the artwork up for sale, where others offer an exclusive look at a private collection that is unavailable to the public. 
  • Peer-to-peer fundraising to gather artwork for the event that will later be auctioned off…this is a great way to collect art from the community if you’re looking to expand the contents of the art event. 

Consider the goal of your event, and then frame the peer-to-peer portion as a community-building element. Not only will it help raise funds for your event, but it will also expand awareness and a greater base of supporters. 

If the artwork for your event is already decided, you should definitely use that in promotional materials to attract donors’ eyes. You could also consider doing a look book or sneak preview of sorts. 

We’ll talk more about how to market and promote your fundraising campaigns in our next webinar on 2/20/20…join us! 

What background and qualities are desirable for a fundraising champion? Extent or level of prior giving? How to spot those who are good at asking?
The wonderful thing about peer-to-peer fundraising is that anyone who has a passion for your organization is an ideal candidate. Most commonly we will see fundraisers who are volunteers, donors, board members, or a combination of them! When first starting out with p2p fundraising, we recommend asking those who are already good at spreading the word about your organization. You will also want to look for people who have strong computer skills and are active in their social media accounts.

Regarding the extent or level of giving, Peer-to-Peer fundraising truly has no restrictions based on the ability to give. Asking large donors who have just recently given shows that you are looking for new ways to engage them that are not just tied to their wallets. Through p2p fundraising, you remove the pressure of asking them to make another gift and give them the opportunity to share why they have become such a dedicated supporter of your organization. 

In the same respects, asking those who have not given large gifts in the past to become fundraisers will allow them to feel like they are making an even greater impact on your organization than they are able to make on their own. They will feel pride that even if they were only able to give $25 to your campaign, that because of their voice and efforts, they could provide your organization with an abundance of gifts.

It’s not always easy to spot someone who’s good at asking for donations, so look for people who are involved, have brought guests to past events, interact with your organization on social, donate and volunteer or have secured donations on your behalf before (think: silent auction item procurement).  

What is the best way to incentivize fundraising champions to raise more than the amount necessary to participate in a walk?
You could offer some sort of raffle or game (see gambling rules for your state) for an item or experience that was donated to your organization. This way there is some sort of “prize” to go in the drawing for those fundraising champions who raise more than expected.

We do a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign for our annual Walk/Run. What are your tips on getting more involvement in this area? We’ve had the same team ‘win’ the most funds raised for 4 years in a row and we’re looking for new ways to bring in new fundraisers and teams.
A few ideas to bring in new fundraisers and teams are: 

  • Encourage the team that always wins to split up, form their own teams (with new participants), and compete against each other! 
  • Ask staff, board, and volunteers to form teams. 
  • Recruit students (perhaps the cross-country teams?) from local high schools and colleges – they all need volunteer hours! 
  • Offer fundraising opportunities at the event itself that can count towards teams’ overall goals.

We’ve never done a P2P. We have a run, so if we connect the two, do we not charge for the run and instead ask for them to fundraise as part of their entrance fee?
You should still charge the entrance fee for the run because that will cover your event costs. That way, any additional funds that are raised through a peer-to-peer campaign go right to your cause!   

Is it possible to do a P2P fundraiser without an actual event attached? Would using an awareness month based on our org’s mission work?
Yes! You don’t have to have an actual event happening in order to run a peer-to-peer campaign, both types can be successful. Using an awareness month would be a great time to run a campaign. I would recommend looking at the market and some of your competing organizations (if any) and see what they’ve done during the awareness month. You want to make sure you differentiate yourself from them in those high-profile moments. 

So if we set a minimum goal a fundraising champion has to make, and they do not reach it, how do you get them to raise the rest of the minimum?
Not all organizations require their fundraising champions to complete their goal if they don’t reach it. However, if you’d like to, you can encourage them to continue that campaign, or roll it into another upcoming campaign. You want to be mindful in the way that you do this as to not make donors feel an uncomfortable pressure to a point that will dissuade them from continuing to fundraise. 

Any tips for integrating peer to peer fundraising into an event that has not historically featured it? I am not sure how willing our event sponsors/champions would be to do P2P before the event.
For this, it’s all about communicating the importance of elevating awareness and funds for the event and how p2p is the way you’re going to accomplish your goals. Start by highlighting the past results of your event, then project the new results factoring in the use of p2p fundraising leading up to it. 

When first introducing p2p fundraising it’s okay to start small. We recommend thinking of 2-3 potential fundraisers that you will be able to work with closely throughout the campaign. Be sure to check in with them often to better understand any pain points or observations along the way. By the time you are ready for your next campaign, you will be a peer-to-peer expert and your supporters will be more familiar with the concept. 

Can you walk us through the major sequence of messages in the Email Templates that should be provided to fundraisers? What exactly should the messages say across the campaign? 
When providing templates to your fundraisers, It’s important to keep the message simple and consistent. We typically see two types of communications send out via email by fundraisers: 

  • Messages Before and During the Campaign 
  • Give your fundraisers a short blurb they can use about your organization and the goal of the current campaign they are fundraising for. Make sure you reminding them to provide a call to action in their emails with a link to their personal fundraiser. 
  • Messages After the Campaign 
  • As any fundraising professional knows, donor stewardship is not always intuitive. Especially for our Peer-to-Peer fundraisers doing this for the first time. Make it easy for them to send a thank you email to donors of their campaign and make sure it includes information on how these donors can learn more about your organization.

We work mostly with students and have a lot of social media outreach but little fundraising from those we serve due to their age.  Any recommendations for connecting the dots?
You should continue to encourage students to be advocates for your mission, both online and offline. Utilize them as volunteers or have them help with other operational aspects of the organization. You should then look to another group to be your donors so that there isn’t fatigue among the people who are already giving your organization their time. Additionally, you shouldn’t lean on the group you serve to be your main fundraising source, especially if they’re receiving your services and support. 

Do you ever let fundraising champions come up with their own fundraising ideas or more fit them into your ideas?
Of course! The more personal and creative, the better…most of the time. If you have a specific vision and strict guidelines for your campaign then be sure to outline that so your fundraising champions know what you’re expecting.   

What’s a good way you’ve seen fundraising champions celebrated? 
There are so many ways to celebrate your awesome fundraisers. Here are just a few!  

  • Throw a kick-off party to get fundraisers set up with their profiles and make them feel encouraged from the start. Order them lunch or some treats to make it more of a celebration and less of just a planning meeting. 
  • Throughout the campaign give shout-outs on social media to your fundraisers to acknowledge the impact of their fundraiser on your organization 
  • If you are having a live event, take time during your opening remarks to thank your fundraisers. Even have them stand up so they can have a much-deserved round of applause for their extra efforts. 
  • Make sure they know how much you appreciate them from start to finish. Consider having a post-campaign celebration. Your fundraisers can come together and share in the excitement with you. Award fun prizes for those who raised the most, had the most donors, or the best story! 

I liked the creativity you mentioned of climbs in Chicago versus the traditional run/walks. Are there other more outside the box ideas you’ve seen people use?
More creative campaign ideas are here! 

Earlier you mentioned examples of champion fundraisers (board, employees, volunteers) but I’m curious if you’d also include individuals that have benefitted from the organization into that mix?
While beneficiaries could fall into this category, we recommend letting them come to you and opting to be a champion on their own. 

Sometimes our supporters do personal fundraisers on Facebook. Our problem is that we get no donor information so we can thank donors and add them to our database. Any tricks to share to get that info?
Your organization won’t be able to obtain donors’ information without their consent. For future fundraisers, you can encourage your supporters to direct donations directly through your website, or another fundraising vendor, like GiveSmart or GiveGab. 

We aren’t doing peer-to-peer fundraising for a live event but for 22 individual scholarships. Any suggestions?
We would recommend that you create a digital campaign where you tell the story of who the scholarships will benefit and create a sense of urgency to raise funds for each of the scholarships. If you are looking to raise funds separately for each scholarship, consider asking your key supporters to act as fundraising champions with a single scholarship assigned to each of them. 

What are your thoughts on having Venmo as an option to give in addition to text to give, website and obviously mail-in check? 
Do it! The more channels you can open for giving opportunities, the better! Venmo is also easy for the donor since their payment information is already set up. 

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