4 Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Tactics to Leverage Your Network

Wayne Elsey

June 30, 2023

About the Author

Wayne Elsey

Wayne Elsey is the founder and CEO of Elsey Enterprises (EE) and a member of the Forbes Business Development Council. Among his various independent brands, he is also the founder and CEO of Funds2Orgs, which is a social enterprise that helps schools, churches, nonprofits, individuals and other organizations raise funds while helping to support micro-enterprise (small business) opportunities in developing nations.

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Peer-to-peer, or P2P, fundraising involves leveraging your supporter’s social and professional networks through personalized fundraising pages. Because this fundraising strategy is highly adaptable, you can use P2P to achieve all sorts of nonprofit objectives, from raising awareness for an upcoming event to boosting Giving Tuesday donations to increasing visibility for your recurring giving program

Additionally, P2P fundraising can operate on a time-based deadline or a rolling basis. During a rolling fundraiser, participants keep their campaign going until they hit a certain dollar amount. In this guide, we’ll explore when your organization should use P2P fundraising and which strategies will make your efforts productive. Let’s begin!

When should you use peer-to-peer fundraising? 

P2P fundraising is a powerful source for fielding support, but successfully organizing one of these campaigns requires proper planning and a dedicated supporter base. That’s why it’s essential to carefully consider when your organization should use it before diving right in. 

For example, you can use P2P fundraising to drive nonprofit event support. Funds2Orgs’ fundraising guide recommends pairing your P2P efforts with other, more casual nonprofit events like a shoe drive fundraiser, 5K, or virtual lemonade stand. You can also use P2P for more hands-on events like your nonprofit’s annual auction and have your top supporters make the last bid. Doing this will help your organization spread awareness and increase donations. 

That said, let’s uncover the top four strategies you can use to make your P2P fundraiser a success:

1. Determine your goals

To keep your fundraising team productive, start your campaign by setting clear SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound) goals and list which ones should take precedence. Doing so will ensure you can track your P2P fundraiser’s progress and make needed adjustments along the way. Let’s say that you are organizing a campaign and decide that your P2P fundraiser should:

  • Raise $15,000 within a three-month period.
  • Expand your social media presence by 250 followers. 
  • Increase nonprofit fundraising event awareness and attendance.
  • Amp up year-end giving by 5%.

You’ll need to use your revenue goal to determine how many peer-to-peer volunteers you need to recruit. If, for example, you’d like to raise $15,000 and you recruit 50 volunteers, you can encourage them to set a goal of $300 each for your campaign. If they’re successful, you’ll hit your goal in no time.

Remember to choose a revenue goal and time period that is ambitious yet realistic for your nonprofit. Use metrics like your average donation size and previous peer-to-peer fundraising data to determine which feasible revenue goals.

2. Select a peer-to-peer fundraising platform

Next, you’ll need to select a peer-to-peer fundraising platform that will help you centralize and monitor your campaign. Look for a platform that provides the following features:

  • Individual fundraising pages: Fundraisers will be creating their own individual fundraising pages to make updates, post giving instructions, and share impactful stories on their social media platforms.
  • A central campaign page: This page will give you a high-level overview of your peer-to-peer fundraiser’s progress. It can also act as a leaderboard highlighting top fundraisers, tracking donation progress, and sending mass fundraising updates.
  • Communication capabilities: You’ll need to communicate with individual fundraisers through direct messaging and document sharing. This feature is essential as your organization should be willing and ready to answer all participant questions. 

While researching top peer-to-peer fundraising platforms, scroll through their use cases to understand what features can help you achieve your goals. Look for embeddable donation forms, page personalization, and social integration capabilities to make your P2P fundraiser productive. 

3. Recruit volunteers

Once you set your goals and select a reliable platform, it’s time to recruit peer-to-peer fundraisers! Remember the P2P golden rule: everyone knows someone (who knows someone). Here are some recruitment strategies to help you get started: 

  • Start with your existing network. Invite your staff, current volunteers, regular donors, and previous supporters to kickstart your campaign with donations. It’s best to start with these individuals because they are familiar with your mission, making them effective advocates and ambassadors. Then, ask them to reach out to their networks to scout for additional P2P supporters to add to your peer fundraising team. 
  • Utilize social media. Post on your nonprofit’s social media accounts to gauge interest and spread awareness about your upcoming P2P campaign. NXunite’s guide to digital marketing suggests keeping your posts simple, branded, and straightforward. That way, followers know why you’re asking for participants in your P2P fundraiser and how they can get involved. 
  • Make it easy to get started. Craft and post easy-to-read peer educational materials that spell out your mission, how supporters can help, and why their peer contributions matter (more details on this in the next section). Post this information on a dedicated P2P fundraising page on your website that you can link to in your social media posts. Additionally, consider hosting Q&A sessions on Instagram live streams to chat about how P2P fundraising can boost your cause and the next steps your supporters can take to join the movement. 
  • Offer incentives and recognition. What’s the best way to get participants interested? Offer incentives for reaching fundraising milestones. You might tease a new organizational hoodie or free event tickets for the first fundraisers to reach a certain amount. Recognize fundraisers along the way with social media shoutouts and personalized thank-you notes that convey your appreciation for volunteers

You might consider conducting a soft launch with your nonprofit staff to identify any areas of confusion before reaching a broader audience. That way, you can iron out any P2P technical and content-related issues beforehand. 

Ensure everyone knows how to get involved, where to find more information, and how to set up their individual fundraising pages before recruiting from the masses. 

4. Set your volunteers up for success 

To set your P2P participants up for success, you’ll need to provide each P2P participant with the right tools. In other words, since you’re asking your supporters to leverage their networks, they’ll need to know the ins and outs of your campaign and have all the necessary resources to make the most of their connections.

To fully equip your participants, provide the following resources:

  • Individual fundraising page templates. Pre-designed, branded templates that participants can easily customize make it easy for them to create visually appealing fundraising pages. You can also encourage participants to add personal photos or stories and fundraising progress trackers. This personalization will help them get up and running quickly while customizing their page how they best see fit. Consider including previous examples to give them an idea of what the result can look like. 
  • Social sharing buttons. Add social sharing buttons to keep your participants from having to copy and paste the same information and links over again. Your participants should be able to share their individual fundraising pages, your main campaign page, and other relevant campaign pages with a single click. 
  • Personal storytelling prompts. People are more likely to support a mission that their friends, family, or other connections are personally invested in. Stories from familiar sources carry more weight than stories that come straight from your organization. To guide their storytelling, give your participants guidelines, examples, and resources to help them transcribe their individual experiences with your organization, add authenticity, and motivate others to support your cause. 
  • Individual goal-setting tips. Provide guidance to help participants set realistic and achievable targets. Refer back to your fundraising goal and explain how their personal goals impact your overall campaign objectives. Encourage participants to break their goals into smaller milestones to make them more attainable and help them visualize their progress.
  • Successful previous examples. Consider sharing standout P2P examples of earlier years that effectively drove donations and engaged personal networks. For instance, if last year’s P2P participant’s fundraising challenge to run a mile every $100 dollars won high support, share that participant’s journey and encourage others to try out new challenges. 

By providing your fundraisers with these tools, you’ll help them fundraise confidently and maximize their impact. And remember to offer ongoing support once your P2P fundraisers go live! Repost, comment, and thank them for their efforts throughout their P2P journey. 

Lastly, consider grouping your fundraisers in Facebook groups or other community forums to offer them additional support, answer questions, and give them a chance to share experiences. You might also assign a staff member team to act as a point of contact and provide one-on-one assistance when needed. 

P2P fundraising is all about letting supporters use their networks to further your cause. By determining your objectives and providing your participants with the right resources, you’ll propel your cause forward and make the most of their support. You’ve got this!

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