Peer-to-peer fundraising (or friend-to-friend fundraising) is the effort to enlist your supporters to fundraise for your organization. Traditionally, these campaigns have been centered on walk-a-thons, bowl-a-thons, or other similar events where people ask their own network of friends to sponsor their effort on behalf of a charitable cause. Today, online tools make it much easier for organizations to help supporters set up individual donation pages on behalf of the organization.
Want to learn more about the technology options out there for peer-to-peer fundraising? Check out this article describing a few popular online fundraising tools available today.
Technology is only the start. To truly leverage peer-to-peer fundraising, here are some principles to keep in mind to make success more likely:
- SMART Campaign Objectives. Like any fundraising campaign, a peer-to-peer campaign must have Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based goals. Note that most peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns work best in a short timeframe; studies show 30-60 days to be ideal.
- Define roles and responsibilities. Who will be responsible for managing the campaign? Who will craft regular communications for your fundraisers to share with their friends? Who will track the campaign and communicate it to your community? Who will be responsible for the technology? Who will ensure all donations are thanked appropriately and donors are entered into your database?
- Craft a compelling story for your fundraisers to share with their friends. Use vivid imagery and photos/video if possible.
- Focus on relationships. Specify a place in your communications for your fundraisers to personalize your communications. How can they add their own personal story to engage their friends to give?
- Jumpstart the campaign. Enlist board members, alumni leaders, and other active community members to create their pages first. Hold their hands through the entire process. Solicit a few initial gifts to get the momentum going. Consider kick-off events to rally your fundraisers.
- Set goals with your fundraisers at the onset. Consider goals based on impact. For example, "If you help raise $500, one family can attend family camp this year."
- Empower your fundraisers. Provide them with talking points, photos, regular updates that they can share with their friends throughout the campaign.
- Consider competition. Can you provide some simple, MEANINGFUL prizes for your fundraisers? (Most individual donations received; Most donation $ received)
- Communicate regularly. Provide regular updates to your fundraisers about the progress of the campaign. Celebrate big achievements! Show appreciation when fundraisers reach their goal or other milestones. Encourage fundraisers who haven't yet reached their goal.
- Promote and integrate. Promote your peer-to-peer campaign via multiple communications channels. Highlight fundraiser stories to engage your audience emotionally.
- Choose the right technology for the campaign. Keep in mind: budget; customization; support.
- Don't forget the power of these tools for "friendraising." Remember non-monetary goals. For example, adding new names to your alumni and email lists.
Want to learn more? Check out this Idealware article about these online tools, how they work, and what you have to do to be successful.