Charity Navigator Logo
    Charity Navigator Logo

    Error attempting donation

    You're too fast!

    Your donation attempt encountered a problem. Please refresh the page to try again.

    You're faster than our page! Give the page a little longer to finish loading and try your donation again.

    3 Strategies for Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

    Help your supporters champion your cause.

    One popular giving season idea is to host a peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising campaign, where your supporters become champions for your cause and collect donations from their family and friends. If executed effectively, P2P fundraising can help you strengthen your ties with loyal supporters while extending your reach, but it can be challenging to mobilize so many individuals toward your goal.

    But when participants in your P2P campaign are well-informed, motivated, and supported by the right tools, they are well set up for success. 


    In this guide, we’ll explore the following recommendations for peer-to-peer fundraising:

    1. Communicate with fundraisers throughout the entire campaign.
    2. Encourage excitement, collaboration, and competition.
    3. Capture and leverage campaign data.


    With these tips in mind, your nonprofit will be equipped to make the most of your upcoming P2P campaign. Let’s jump in.


    1. Communicate with fundraisers throughout the entire campaign.

    As the organizer of your P2P fundraiser, you have the ongoing responsibility of keeping your participants informed, prepared, and on-track. 


    To do so, be sure you are staying in touch with fundraisers every step of the way:

    • Before the campaign. Provide ample training resources, tips, and marketing collateral for your team captains and individual fundraisers to use as they promote their campaign pages. Many of them will have limited fundraising experience, so this is your opportunity to get them started on the right foot. A software solution that allows for templated messages makes for more informed fundraisers and a quicker, more efficient P2P campaign launch.
    • During the campaign. For the most meaningful approach for fundraiser encouragement and instruction, create segments to target your messaging. For example, for participants who have low (or nonexistent) fundraising totals, your main goal will be to boost morale and offer strategies to improve fundraising totals.
    • After the campaign. Follow up and show your appreciation for the work contributed by each participant, even those who didn’t raise anything. These templates for thank-you letters can help you get started if you aren’t sure of what to say. Your fundraising software may be able to automate these thank-you messages or receipts to streamline the process. This recognition will strengthen your relationships with participants and encourage them to recommit next year—and since long-term participants are usually the most successful fundraisers, you want as many to come back as possible. 


    An active channel of communication with your team will create a better experience for each participant and facilitate a more effective fundraiser.


    1. Encourage excitement, collaboration, and competition.

    The success of your P2P fundraiser is driven by your participants, so it’s important to do what you can to drive them forward. Consider the following opportunities to engage your participants:


    • Hold a kickoff or finale event. While P2P events like walk-a-thon fundraisers have traditionally occurred in-person, you can also host a virtual event to generate excitement about your campaign.
    • Divide participants into teams. Team spirit is a powerful motivator. To make this even more effective, look for a P2P software solution that allows you to target teams with tailored coaching emails. Some organizations stop at just getting a few teams involved, but those who provide templates and coaching for many participating teams will find that those teams are more successful at engaging their networks and typically raise more money.
    • Include gamification elements. In addition to organizing teams, other competitive features like fundraising thermometers can help individuals and teams individually track their progress. Communicating your progress toward a goal and letting potential donors know about deadlines can also be a powerful motivator.


    These ideas will help you maintain the momentum that participants need to propel them to the finish line. 


    1. Capture and leverage campaign data.

    Strong data management practices will help your nonprofit plan a more effective P2P campaign and maximize its potential.


    According to SalsaLabs’s peer-to-peer fundraising best practices, “The more you understand about your supporters and what inspires them, the more effective your P2P fundraisers will be.” Knowing your supporters will help you to recruit more participants and craft relevant and motivational messages throughout the campaign.


    Once the campaign is over, you’ll have expanded your reach to countless new donors. At this point, they’ve likely donated in solidarity with their friend or family member rather than in support of your nonprofit. Use a message of appreciation to refocus their attention on your mission.


    Your digital thank-you letter to these donors is a key opportunity to cultivate their relationship with your cause, so don’t waste it! Make sure you are capturing data on these donors and storing it appropriately in your CRM. Then, you can reach back out to these individuals for campaigns in the future. Who knows? They may just be next year’s P2P fundraisers! 


    Written by Gerard Tonti, Senior Creative Developer at Salsa Labs, the premier fundraising software company for growth-focused nonprofits. Gerard's marketing focus on content creation, conversion optimization and modern marketing technology helps him coach nonprofit development teams on digital fundraising best practices.