Starting Your Peer-to-Peer Fundraising with a Bang

With the growth of digital technology, nonprofits are adapting their strategies to peer-to-peer fundraising– a tactic in which loyal supporters raise funds within their networks of family, friends and colleagues on the nonprofit’s behalf—to go virtual.

Peer-to-peer events have always been an excellent way to encourage donors and supporters to team up and have a little fun while also supporting a great cause. And, with the rise of virtual walks, runs, rides and DIY events, peer-to-peer events are becoming more popular than ever. For many nonprofits, virtual fitness fundraisers and peer-to-peer fundraising events are emerging as a fan-favorite amongst their donor base because staying healthy, happy and keeping active is a huge incentive for affecting positive change. So, as nonprofits strive to build razor-sharp peer-to-peer fundraising strategies, here are several things to consider.

Consider the Two Types of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaigns

When planning to launch a peer-to-peer fundraising initiative, there are two types of campaigns to consider: defined campaigns and open campaigns.

A defined campaign is when a nonprofit requests a concrete action and there is usually a defined time period. For instance, a nonprofit plans a virtual dance-a-thon fundraiser for the month of January and asks supporters to take part with friends. An open campaign does not have a specific ask or timeframe, and continuously encourages donations. In these types of campaigns, the nonprofit encourages its donor base to fundraise in any way they’d like, such as around their birthday or an important event such as a wedding. These types of initiatives take less management, but they also drive more creativity and give participants more freedom.

Know Your Audience

Trends show that sociable millennials, active athletes, recent retirees and community organizers are great to target when recruiting supporters to promote your peer-to-peer campaign. Additionally, Gen Y “digital natives” are enthusiastic adopters of new trends in charitable giving. This group may choose ways to fundraise for your cause rather than join an existing campaign. After all, this creative group did create the Ice Bucket Challenge! Also, 90 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds use social networking sites, so make sure you provide participants fundraising tools to reach out to their expansive social networks.

There is a majority of peer-to-peer events that are fitness-focused, so a good audience to reach out are active athletes who can help you engage additional enthusiastic participants to fundraise. Members of this group may choose to participate on your behalf in a marathon or other physical challenge event. Plus, by reaching out to people that have a passion for physical fitness, you’ll likely also reach their running club, hockey team or golf crew. Not only can nonprofits target these supporters to join in on defined campaigns, but they can also encourage them to start an open campaign by raising funds with their own fundraising page not bound at set start and end date.

Furthermore, it’s not a bad idea to identify some potential leaders and high-profile folks in your local community in your outreach efforts. Whether it’s a virtual gala, a tea party or a birthday, when a representative from the community wants to hold a fundraiser on your behalf, encourage them to create fundraising pages to collect and track donations when you provide them with an event kit, logo or other event support.

Maximize the Reach of Your Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

When planning your peer-to-peer event, be sure to include mission-focused language on all your pages to promote maximum engagement and charitable giving.

Leveraging the right technology can help achieve maximum engagement. Organizations that have the ability to connect to varied audiences and their preferences tend to see increased donations. A virtual dance party may be a great way to garner donations and support from the millennial and Gen Y group, and an online auction may appeal more to the baby boomer demographic. There is evidence that each generation engages and donates to charities in their own meaningful way and creating multiple types of fundraising programs that are tailored to these giving preferences/differences can help drive more revenue.

With Panorama by FrontStream, an innovative all-in-one digital fundraising platform and end-to-end peer-to-peer solution, nonprofit organizations can manage their virtual or in-person walk, run or ride campaigns, including other mission-funding donation pages to promote maximum engagement and charitable giving to all audiences.

Panorama by FrontStream accommodates all types of events with multiple locations and start times, unique team configurations, complex registration requirements and more. With a simple, intuitive drag-and-drop content builder, nonprofits can easily create, edit and configure beautifully branded, mobile-responsive event and participant fundraising pages and then spread the word through Panorama’s deep cross-channel engagement tools.

Also, don’t forget to pair your fundraising plan with a comprehensive communications plan. Knowing your audience is key, but targeting them effectively is even more important. Don’t treat every participant the same way – be sure to segment your supporters into different groups and tailor your outreach accordingly.

Chicago-based Misericordia, a nonprofit that provides residence programs and services for individuals with developmental disabilities, utilized a comprehensive engagement plan transform their annual in person event into a successful virtual campaign.


For Social Events, Harness the Power of Social Media

To target social people, head to social media! Leverage your nonprofit’s profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn to get the word out. Many platforms also offer low cost, targeted, advertisements to users. Consider setting aside some of your budget for these ads and a call-to-action to sign-up and fundraise for an event.

Finally, don’t forget to tell your participants to share your event on their own social media channels. By posting about their charitable giving, friends and family will be inclined to match their donations. Send out a weekly or monthly newsletter to with high-resolution logos, mission photos, event details, fundraising best practices and don’t forget to update your audience on the campaign’s progress frequently.

See how Shriners Hospital’s Canada used the power of social media to engage existing and new donors, share real-time updates on campaign progress and ultimately, exceed their fundraising goals!

Time to Reach Out to Your Peers!

Ready to unlock the benefits of peer-to-peer fundraising?

Now that your nonprofit is up-to-speed on peer-to-peer trends, it’s time to engage your supporters. Once they start teaming up with friends, family and colleagues, your mission will be unstoppable.

Don’t forget to encourage creativity and, of course, fun. Congrats, you’re creating a memorable experience for your participants and affecting positive change.

Want more expert tips on creating a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign like no other?

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