While not a new fundraising tactic, Peer-to-Peer (P2P) events – such as walks, runs, rides, push-up challenges, dance-a-thons, and DIY campaigns – are once again picking up steam as nonprofits prepare for the return of in-person events. However, after more than a year of social distancing and online fundraising, savvy nonprofits have realized the benefits of virtual P2P events and want to keep up the momentum they’ve gained through virtual connectivity.
As nonprofits enhance P2P fundraising strategies to align with today’s new charitable giving landscape, below is a critical list of do’s and don’ts to keep in mind.
Do: Diversify P2P Fundraising Efforts
Many nonprofits transitioned signature in-person fundraising events online and are deciding how to incorporate various strategies to engage their online and in-person audience while they prepare for their face-to-face events.
To maximize fundraising efforts going forward, including diversified fundraising strategies, such as corporate sponsorship, monthly giving and digital engagement plans, as well as an in-person and virtual aspect is critical. An excellent way to expand your network of supporters and maximize donations, in-person P2P events that incorporate multiple ways to connect will quickly emerge as a leading fundraising tactic this year. Plus, let’s not forget the social aspect – when we see our friends taking part in a great cause, we’re inspired to join in, regardless of our physical location.
Don’t: Communicate with Every Supporter the Same Way
Treating every P2P event participant, donor, or volunteer the same or reaching out to everyone with the same message is a huge mistake. Unfortunately, it’s also very common.
To ensure a successful event and to develop deeper relationships with your advocates, nonprofits should group supporters based on their role, age group, and relationship with the organization and personalize outreach accordingly. Example? If a person discloses a personal connection to the cause during event registration, leverage this information to personalize outreach and deepen this relationship. Likewise, if someone participates in your annual event three years in a row, in your outreach, be sure to thank them for their continued support.
Additionally, recent findings indicate that the preferred form of communication varies across different age groups. For instance, Gen X prefer “email” (51%), and Baby Boomers prefer “direct mail” (51%). In this case, leveraging different communication channels to reach different supporters will help maximize donations.
To expand nonprofits donor base, the best practice would be to identify local leaders and tailor outreach efforts to their interests. Think: community organizers. These individuals are highly influential and can motivate their massive network to join in on the peer-to-peer fun.
Do: Harness the Power of Social Media
Speaking of influencers, nonprofits should harness the power of social media and target supporters with large social groups. Specifically, organizations should leverage social media ads on Facebook and Twitter with a call-to-action to sign-up and fundraise for an event. Additionally, it’s key to encourage all participants to reach out on their own social media channels. By posting about their charitable giving, friends and family will be inclined to match their donations.
Social media and messaging apps also provide unique opportunities to raise awareness and build a sense of community. For instance, creating a Facebook group allows your supporters to create a community without having to physically gather. In-person participants can share their photos and experiences online in the same group as your virtual audience, bringing them together for the cause.
Don’t: Forget to Reaffirm Your Nonprofit’s Mission
It’s easy to focus on the light-hearted, fun elements of P2P events. However, to drive greater engagement, it’s important to share the nonprofit’s mission clearly and consistently and how donations are being used to move this mission forward. To do so, nonprofits should work closely with supporters as well as those with personal ties to the cause and encourage them to share their stories with participants.
People are motivated by authentic stories, especially first-hand accounts. Marketing emails about a bake-off for cancer patients may not land in the inbox of an expert cookie connoisseur, but it might resonate with the dad of five who beat cancer and motivate him to put on an apron for charity.
Peer-to-peer fundraising is an incredibly effective method for nonprofits to engage with current donors and reach untapped groups of givers. With the right strategy, nonprofits can maximize their efforts and continue enacting positive change.
Dilman spent her entire career in the nonprofit sector and is passionate about helping mission-focused organizations effect positive change. Prior to her role at FrontStream, Dilman spent five years at Cystic Fibrosis Canada, starting as director of national events and working her way up to executive director of data strategy, integration and national events operations. Before that she held senior program manager and fundraising roles at the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Kids Help Phone, CBC and MS Society of Canada.