Peer-to-Peer (P2P) fundraising is a hot trend in the nonprofit fundraising world and, unlike some trends, continues getting hotter. P2P puts online fundraising tools into the hands of your supporters - allowing them to create a personal page, set a fundraising goal, and ask their friends and family members to donate to their favorite cause - yours!
The reason that this model of fundraising works well is because someone with a deep connection to your organization is making the case to give -rather than being asked by your camp director or development officer. People are more likely to give when they are asked by someone they know. In the case of organizations like yours, the call to give made by a camper or former camper can be quite compelling. For example, imagine if you could provide your campers and alumni a tool to ask their friends and family to support camp in lieu of gifts for their Bar/Bat Mitvah!
It can be very tempting to jump on the bandwagon and get started with any one of the many P2P online tools. Firefly Partners has provided strategic planning, design and development services to nonprofit organizations of all sizes and verticals. We've seen both successes and stumbles as nonprofits make the many decisions that go into starting a P2P program. We've found that the best path to success includes time for the following five steps:
Assess Your Readiness
Creating a new fundraising program takes time and money. Take a look around your organization and ask yourself if you are ready to start. It's far better to take a hard look at your internal capacity and budget early on than to realize you aren't ready two months into your implementation project. Readiness evaluation includes items like people, process, comfort with technology and capacity for risk.
- Pick the Right P2P Tool
Oh my - there are a lot of P2P tools out there today! The benefits to having an array of choices mean that you can determine exactly what is important to your organization. Is it cost? Is it ease of use for non-technical staff? Is it having a lot of guidance and handholding from the vendor? Documenting what is a 'must have' versus an 'I don't care if it has' list will help you focus on getting demos from the handful of tools that are most likely to be a great fit.
- Make It Easy for Users to Take Action It's a fact - some online tools are easy to use (Amazon) while others can feel challenging (changing your address online with your local Department of Motor Vehicles website). In order to see good rates of user adoption - your P2P process needs to be simple! Older supporters may leave in frustration while today's youth may not tolerate a registration process that doesn't let them log in with Facebook. Your P2P tool needs to be set up to make things easy and secure right from Step One.
- Plan Your P2P Promotion
If you launch a P2P campaign and don't promote it - you're likely to experience sadness. This is something that we've seen frequently, even with large organizations, and it doesn't need to happen. Take time to create an ongoing communication and promotion plan! How will you let people know they can do P2P fundraising? What will be included on your website, via social media and in other email communications? What might get mailed with other camp paperwork or after the camp season wraps? Even a simple excel spreadsheet with promotional touch points, dates, and channels can go a long way to help you communicate this particular call to action with different audiences throughout the year.
- Manage Your Campaign
Once the big push of implementation is over, your new P2P program needs care and feeding (just like your campers!). Although many organizations set their programs up to be 'evergreen' -generically so it can go on forever - there are still ongoing upkeep tasks that need to be done. Archiving old personal fundraising pages, monitoring performance, encouraging new community members to participate all need consideration after your initial launch. We hope that this article has given you some food for thought! P2P fundraising can be a boon for your organization if you go a little slowly and carefully (not our usual frame when it comes to raising much-needed revenue!). Your first step is to assess whether P2P fundraising is right for you, take this short survey to see if your camp is ready for P2P.
About Firefly Partners
Creative Solutions. Online Experts. Firefly Partners is a website design and development company focused on serving nonprofit organizations in the US and Canada. Founded in 2008, we help our clients use today's online tools and technology to communicate, advocate and raise money to further their missions. Client focus and quality are what it's all about here at Firefly. Firefly Partners is ready to help you and your organization make smart decisions and ensure that you get an ROI on your investment. Contact us to learn more!
About Maureen Wallbeoff
Maureen Wallbeoff, Firefly Partners VP, possesses a solid grounding in the business needs of nonprofits. At Firefly, Maureen is our number one go-to for strategic planning and ongoing campaign management. Her optimistic attitude, compassionate guidance and top-notch facilitation skills are used daily both within Firefly and on behalf of our clients. Contact Maureen.
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