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4 Peer-To-Peer Fundraising Approaches To Effectively Deploy Nonprofit Supporters

September 6, 2019 Sarah Cavill

Peer-to-peer fundraising, also called social fundraising, is an effective way to leverage the influence of your nonprofit supporters. By tapping into the existing resource of your donor base, you can grow your nonprofit’s network, scale fundraising efforts and ideally expand the scope of your nonprofit.

Strategic Planning Is Integral To A Successful Peer-To-Peer Fundraising Campaign


According to the 2018 Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Study by NonProfit PRO, “Over 43 percent of nonprofits engaged in peer-to-peer fundraising said that fundraising made up over 50 percent of their revenue.” Unfortunately, 45% of nonprofits aren’t engaging in peer-to-peer fundraising, missing out on great opportunities to increase revenue and deepen relationships with donors. By understanding the strategies and benefits of peer-to-peer fundraising, nonprofit marketers may be better able to implement them.

Although peer-to-peer fundraising has a friendly, grassroots aspect to it, there should still be well-planned strategies behind peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns. Organized, well-constructed approaches to peer-to-peer fundraising will help make the most of your donor networks and lay the groundwork for future outreach. There are a variety of different ways to implement peer-to-peer fundraising, including the four listed below.

  1. Rolling Peer-To-Peer Fundraising Campaigns: Rolling campaigns or individual campaigns are ongoing peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns in which supporters leverage opportunities like their birthdays or anniversaries to solicit money for nonprofits. Having the rolling peer-to-peer fundraising campaign option on your website for donors to deploy can be a successful way for donors to take ownership of their fundraising efforts. Rolling peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns can be effective because supporters are typically invested in their causes and their mini-campaigns are an organic extension of that existing support.
  2. Peer-To-Peer Fundraising With Offline Events: Offline peer-to-peer fundraising events are very commonly held around athletic events, like marathons and spinning. Donors typically participate themselves, often by forming teams. For example, Cycle for Survival was started by Jennifer Goodman Linn, a cancer survivor and spin enthusiast, to raise money for Sloan-Kettering Hospital. Goodman Linn hosted the first spin event in 2007, and it grew so quickly and successfully that Sloan Kettering acquired Cycle for Survival two years later. “Cycle for Survival has provided a blueprint for how a startup program can grow into a blockbuster,” said David Hessekiel, Founder and President of the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum. “While the [Cycle for Survival] program is around a decade old, Memorial Sloan Kettering has done a masterful job of carefully building a brand that makes its participants feel like they are truly making a difference.” Although held in the real world, offline fundraising events effectively use social media platforms and mobile optimized websites that are easily shared for frictionless donations.
  3. Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding campaigns are usually time-based, often six to eight weeks long, and usually work alongside additional marketing strategies that creates broad support for a charity or nonprofit organization. Crowdfunding can encompass social media, website, email, direct contact or team fundraising.
  4. Social Fundraising: Social Fundraising takes place only through social media platforms. Donor buttons on sites like Facebook, and videos, photos and hashtags on Instagram are among the ways supporters are reaching out for donations through their social channels. In 2015, Charity: Water raised $1.8 million with a social media campaign targeted at people with September birthdays using a simple, but effective, concept.

Digital Marketing Strategies And Technology Solutions Enhance Peer-To-Peer Fundraising

Digital innovations, like text-to-donate and proactive email-list building, are optimizing donations across all types of giving and donor groups. The Nonprofit PRO study noted that “95 percent of nonprofits said a peer-to-peer fundraising technology has helped them manage day-of activities,” and The Chronical of Philanthropy found mobile giving has increased by 80% since 2013. Clearly, with mobile and digital consumption increasingly dominant, and native tech users driving technology and trends, an effective peer-to-peer fundraising strategy must leverage digital tools.

Your nonprofit supporters are evangelists for your brand. By creating a robust marketing strategy aligned with supporters’ fundraising efforts, effectively implementing mobile and social platforms and providing ongoing support and contact throughout the funnel of their peer-to-peer fundraising efforts, your nonprofit could see the benefits both in brand awareness and increased revenue.

Reimagining Your Nonprofit Marketing Win? 

Contact DMS

About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Associate Content Manager, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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