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Best Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Tips

Rahul Razdan
April 2018

Peer-to-Peer fundraising, sometimes known as crowd-fundraising or just 'P2P' in short, is a decentralized fundraising methodology where a patron raises funds for the cause from their friends, family members, colleagues and others within their personal and professional networks.

It is widely known that peer-to-peer fundraising is the future of philanthropy and one of the biggest drivers of a successful non-profit program. By design, a well executed peer-to-peer fundraising program results in greater engagement & retention among the non-profit's patrons, raises funds & awareness for various programs and also helps in recruiting new donors.

For all its benefits, it is important to note that peer-to-peer fundraising is not easy for patrons who are fundraising for the first time, and even for some long time fundraisers who are trying to raise significantly more than they have done previously. Having analyzed hundreds of NPO partners and thousands of fundraisers, we've put together this compilation of fundraising tips to help make fundraising more structured and effective for both individuals as well as teams.


1. Set your target & appeal

Ignoring to set-up your fundraising page is the biggest cardinal sin in the land. A successful fundraising page includes the fundraiser's pictures along with a personal message talking about why the cause (and the associated fundraising) is important to them personally. Including tangible outcomes, such as "The $500 I'm fundraising would help feed a family of 4 in need for 1 month", are often effective.

2. Let the party begin

It's no secret that most people don't like being first. That's why it's always a good idea for you to be the first donor on your fundraising page. After you make your contribution, call/text a few closest friends to seek their support. In addition to seeding your campaign, this gives you an opportunity to anchor bigger contribution size. Remember, people are more like to donate in the same range that others before them have donated.

3. Send individual email appeals

There is nothing more your friends, family members and colleagues care about than 'WHY' the fundraiser is important to you. Research has shown that most donors give because the cause is important to the fundraiser. Make sure you pour your heart out in the email, and send the emails individually instead of a mass blind carbon copied email (bcc'd appeals are not personal, thus ineffective).

4. Reach out to your colleagues

Invite your colleagues to support your fundraiser. Some companies have a strict no-solicitation policy, so please check with your human resources (or other responsible) team, before reaching out to your colleagues. While at it, you can also check if your employer has a gift-matching program that you can utilize to further your fundraising impact.

5. Follow up texts and calls

So you've created a stunning fundraising page, donated on the page yourself, have reached out to close friends and family members via emails. It's time to put the hammer down and start following up individually via text messages and phone calls. In this day & age of limited attention spans, making sure that you're driving donor's action is extremely critical. This step is often what differentiates a great fundraiser from a mediocre/good one.

6. Post on social media to maintain momentum

Given the passive nature of social media interactions, we believe that fundraising appeals on platforms like Facebook only work in limited cases. That said, you should leverage your social media networks to maintain momentum. Thanking people for their contributions, posting pictures/videos from your activities (such as runs, bike rides etc.), asking friends to share/re-post your appeal and seeking more donations are pretty effective.

7. Send timely thank you notes

Make sure you thank people who are making donations for you in a timely manner, for example - don't wait for the campaign to end. Good thank you notes are typically personal in nature; share the status of the fundraiser; and also mention a little bit more about sender's affiliation with the non-profit cause.

8. Send regular updates & celebrate

Use email and social media platforms to keep everyone up to date with your campaign progress. Send regular updates, especially when you hit certain milestones (50% raised, 90% fitness challenge completed etc.). Use this communication to seek donation pledges that will get you to the next milestone.

9. Close the campaign strong

During the last few days of the campaign, send out reminders letting everyone know that the fundraising campaign is ending soon. Subject lines with "last 48 hrs to go" or "1 more day to make an impact" have been found to be effective in getting procrastinators to take an action.

10. Wrap it up

At the end of the campaign, send a final thank you email to all the donors with your final fundraising stats. This step is critical for retaining your donors for future fundraisers you might participate in.

We hope that you find these tips practical to implement, as well as helpful in propelling your fundraising drives. Also, we understand that each organization/cause is unique, so feel free to use these tips as a starting point and make them your own. Don't worry, you wouldn't be breaking our hearts by adapting and building on this framework ;-).

If you have queries or comments on the contents of this article, please write to us. If you're a US based non-profit and are interested in learning more about Charity Footprints' fitness & fundraising campaigns, click here to set-up a time to chat.