Peer-to-Peer Fundraising 101 | The Ultimate Nonprofit Guide

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising 101 | The Ultimate Nonprofit Guide

peer to peer fundraising

Peer-to-peer fundraising can be a savvy way to raise more money while empowering and educating your supporters. This method of fundraising encourages your current supporters to participate in your organization’s fundraising efforts.

As a result, peer-to-peer fundraising can help you magnify your nonprofit’s fundraising efforts and impact while attracting new supporters to your cause. But, a successful peer-to-peer fundraising campaign takes some planning and preparation to set yourself up for success. For example, finding the right peer-to-peer fundraising software for your nonprofit that will automate most of the work and will help fundraisers easily create campaign pages to fundraise for your cause.

Whether you’ve never heard of peer-to-peer fundraising or you’re a professional peer-to-peer fundraising planner, this article is chock-full of peer-to-peer fundraising tips and best practices to learn from! In this article, you will learn:

Bonus Resource –

By the end of this article, you’ll find yourself motivated and equipped to plan your own peer-to-peer fundraising campaign!


What is Peer-to-Peer Fundraising?

Peer-to-peer fundraising encourages your supporters including donors, volunteers, board members, friends, and family to actively participate in fundraising efforts. Instead of simply donating, a peer-to-peer participant becomes an active fundraiser for your organization. It multiplies your organization’s awareness and support, boosts engagement, and helps enrich your donor base. This can actually turn out to be the most effective way to raise money for your nonprofit and boost donations by unleashing the fundraising power of your best supporters.

But it does involve some key steps to be truly successful. In the age of social media, peer-to-peer fundraising takes consistency, trust, and follow-through. After we explain the ins and outs of peer-to-peer fundraising work, we’ll discuss some tips and ideas to help your organization grow!


The Difference Between Peer-to-Peer Fundraising and Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a method for encouraging a large crowd of people to come together and donate money within a specific period of time to help meet the overall fundraising goal of an individual or an organization. For example, if your church wanted to host an event or someone needed funds to go on a trip, they could use crowdfunding to ask for donations to achieve that goal. Typically, a crowdfunded initiative includes a web page with the call to action, “Donate.”

Peer-to-peer fundraising differs from crowdfunding in a few ways. The main difference is peer-to-peer fundraising is a larger-scale version of crowdsourcing. It is a mass of many peer campaigns, connected to your original fundraising campaign, helping you spread the word to a wider range of people and raise money from untapped sources. It has the ability to increase donor/volunteer engagement, reach further networks, and achieve higher goals.

Explore the key similarities and differences between peer-to-peer and crowdfunding.

Here is our blog post where we closely compare the two fundraising methods.crowdfunding vs peer-to-peer fundraising

Simply put, both crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising should be parts of your fundraising strategy. But peer-to-peer fundraising has the capacity to multiply the impact of a single crowdfunding campaign (or a fundraising campaign) in all possible ways.


Benefits of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

The biggest benefit of peer-to-peer fundraising is the level of impact it can bring to your organization. Peer-to-peer fundraising can help in the following ways:

  1. Boost your organization’s awareness,
  2. Reach further networks,
  3. Help you raise more donations and meet your revenue goal,
  4. Acquire new donors,
  5. Increase donor and volunteer engagement.

Peer-to-peer fundraising mostly relies on resources you already have – namely, strong relationships and passion. Just add in an easy-to-use, affordable fundraising platform like Donorbox and you’ll be ready to hit the ground running in no time! It will take only toggling of a switch to enable peer-to-peer fundraising and you can invite your friends and family, volunteers, and donors right from the tool.


3 Types of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

what is peer to peer fundraising


1. Ongoing/rolling

Ongoing/ rolling peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns are self-motivated by the fundraisers, giving the participants the power to choose what best works for them. Some fundraisers benefit by having the opportunity to drive their own train and appreciate the flexibility of timing. But the major fallback of this option is a potential loss of steam.

A peer-to-peer campaign like the one below has a button at the top to encourage visitors to fundraise for the cause. Those who click it are guided to create their own campaign pages and start fundraising. This can be a good way to push the idea forward to your supporters.


2. Time-bound

Time-specific peer-to-peer fundraising efforts are usually spread over the course of a few weeks or even months. Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns with a set time period are a great way to provide a beginning, middle, and end. Creating a powerful beginning by drumming up excitement, then having a midway check-in with fundraisers will help keep them engaged. Planning an end event is a thrilling way to finish the race and give your cause some urgency!

This campaign creates a sense of urgency among fundraisers and donors with an end date to their original peer-to-peer campaign.


3. Giving days

Giving days are ambitious but can be great for organizations that love a challenge! Typically, the giving day will require a substantial amount of education and awareness beforehand so participants are ready and eager when the day comes. Giving days are quick, fast-paced ways to reach your fundraising goals.

Check out this peer-to-peer fundraising campaign created during Giving Tuesday 2021 by the High Horses Therapeutic Riding Program. You can check every peer fundraising campaign associated with this by scrolling down and clicking the fundraisers’ names.



How to Start a Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign

As you have learned above, peer-to-peer fundraising can be very effective and fun for everyone!

Before we break down the steps for you, here’s a bonus resource to help you get started right away.

In this Donorbox webinar, Jena Lynch, the Nonprofit Advocate at Donorbox, discusses the ways to create a successful peer-to-peer fundraising campaign with Chris Hammond and Brittany LaGanke from Corporate Giving Connection. Their expert views and tips will enable you to harness the power of peer-to-peer and ensure success for your campaigns.

Let’s have a look at this 4-step process:


1. Get organized.

What is your event? Who is taking the lead? What type of event do you want to plan? By ironing out all of your details, you will not only manage stress levels internally but also ensure a trusting relationship with your fundraisers.

Pro tip: While planning your event, be mindful of the other ways your organization will be fundraising throughout the year. Thinking ahead can help you inform potential donor fundraisers, choose the best volunteer fundraisers, encourage participation from others in your network, and build excitement.


2. Choose peer-to-peer fundraising software.

Selecting a peer-to-peer fundraising platform gives you the flexibility to be creative with your peer-to-peer fundraising efforts. With no contracts or startup fees, Donorbox is great support for short-term and long-term campaigns! Here’s an example of a peer fundraising campaign for your reference.

peer-to-peer fundraising

Pro tip: Being selective of your software will be instrumental in the success of your nonprofit’s peer-to-peer fundraising. Donorbox lets you quickly enable peer-to-peer fundraising for your new and existing campaigns on the dashboard. You can invite potential fundraising participants from the tool and they’ll receive email invitations for creating and customizing their own donation pages on Donorbox. 


3. Engage fundraisers.

Schedule time to inform the participants, allow for questions, and reinforce the mission. Compile and distribute the tools your fundraisers will need to accomplish the goals. Take time to train your fundraising participants on the peer fundraising platform you’ve chosen to reduce the chances of confusion later on.

The resources you provide your fundraisers could be anything from a simple email template for them to customize to a package of materials to host their own event. Be sure you and your team have thought through the task you are empowering your fundraisers to complete so you are equipped to assist them along the way!


4. Remind participants of the goal.

With fun events or active challenges on the horizon, sometimes the true purpose can get lost. Remind everyone involved what they are working towards. Be sure to remind all participants of your organization’s story and include it on all materials – handouts, speeches, and especially landing/donation pages!


Getting Started with Donorbox Peer-to-Peer

The above 4 steps constitute the basic process once you decide to step into peer-to-peer fundraising. With Donorbox’s peer-to-peer feature, starting the campaign is a task done in a few minutes. Donorbox offers a simple-to-set-up platform for peer-to-peer campaigns. All you need to do is:

  1. Switch on the peer-to-peer feature option
  2. Send invites to fundraisers to join your campaign
  3. Let the fundraisers customize their fundraising pages
  4. Start promoting and receiving donations

The steps are simple and the platform is built to help you set up a campaign easily. Read the step-by-step blog on how to set up your peer-to-peer campaign on Donorbox or watch this video.

Here’s a screengrab of the peer-to-peer feature button on your Donorbox dashboard. It’s literally this easy to set up!

peer to peer fundraising software

Turn your best supporters, volunteers, board members, friends and family into advocates of your cause in simple steps and through an automated process on Donorbox. Watch this insightful webinar here to understand the Donorbox peer-to-peer fundraising feature, quickly learn the steps, and know how to run an engaging campaign with some great peer-to-peer fundraising ideas.



5 Best Peer to Peer Fundraising Platforms

peer to peer fundraising tips

Although peer-to-peer fundraising can seem to be a bit labor-intensive, the outcomes are worth it! Below, we’ll dive into the 5 best peer-to-peer fundraising software platforms.


1. Donorbox

Donorbox’s peer-to-peer fundraising feature is simple to use, packed with storytelling potential, and maximizes your campaign efforts with great add-ons. It only takes toggling of a switch on your campaign dashboard to get started.

Some key features that are specific to Donorbox peer-to-peer fundraising –

  • It takes less than a minute to create a new peer-to-peer fundraising campaign or turn any existing fundraising campaigns into peer-to-peer by toggling a switch.
  • You can invite people using the tool or keep the option open to all who visit your campaign pages online (with a button at the top of the page).
  • Interested supporters will receive an email from Donorbox, they can log in, accept your invite, and start fundraising in minutes.
  • Fundraisers can add their own photos and background image to their fundraising pages.
  • They can add the story behind their supporting your cause.
  • They can set their fundraising goals (overall or for the month).
  • Fundraisers will be able to customize the donation receipt.
  • Each peer fundraising campaign page will be equipped with a goal meter and our robust donation form.
  • Donations from all campaigns will go to your original campaign account.
  • All fundraising campaign pages will be powered with social media sharing buttons to maximize your reach and help you meet your social media goals.
  • Your original campaign page will list down the top fundraisers for your campaign, thus inspiring more participation and encouragement.

Pricing: Donorbox is free to start with and there are no monthly fees. We charge a nominal platform fee of 1.5% on your parent campaigns and 2.95% on your child campaigns. Stripe and PayPal’s payment processing fees (2.2% + 30¢) will also apply. But you have an option to ask your donors to cover these fees. Check out more about our peer-to-peer pricing here.


2. GoFundMe

Gofundme is a popular online fundraising tool. Most often Gofundme is used to raise money for personal projects, trips, or a more specific goal in a smaller, more crowdfunding-like method.

Key Fundraising Features:

  • Set up your fundraising page in just a few minutes
  • Set a fundraising goal with a goal thermometer to track your progress
  • Add a photo or video to your fundraising page to help tell your story
  • Recruit donors from the pool of millions of GoFundMe supporters
  • Supported in 19 countries

Pricing: Free plans charge a 1.9% processing fee plus 30 cents per transaction. Flex plans charge a 3% platform fee, plus a 2.2% processing fee and 30 cents per transaction. View pricing details here.


3. Double the Donation

peer to peer fundraising tips

Boost your matching gift efforts with Double the Donation to allow donors and organizations to easily learn about and collect matching gifts from employers as part of your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.

Donorbox integrates with Double the Donation to offer you an all-in-one peer fundraising platform.

Key fundraising features:

  • Search the world’s largest and most up-to-date database of matching gift companies
  • Raise awareness about matching gifts
  • Provide donors with access to matching gift forms, guidelines, and instructions so they can easily submit matching gift requests

Pricing: The Premium plan costs $499 per year. For organizations with more than $25,000 in annual matching gift revenue, pricing starts at $3,000 per year. See all pricing info here.


4. OneCause

peer to peer fundraising tips

OneCause is an event fundraising platform offering mobile bidding and auctions, text-to-give, and peer-to-peer fundraising.

Key fundraising features:

  • Use your peer-to-peer campaign to sell tickets and sponsorships for fundraising events and galas
  • Manage event details, registration, check-in/out, and post-event reporting
  • Create customizable online campaign pages
  • Gamification tools can be added to donation pages to increase donor engagement

Pricing: OneCause provides custom pricing for each organization based on their needs. View plans for online fundraising.


5. Mighty Cause

peer to peer fundraising tips

Mighty Cause is an all-in-one fundraising suite. This software offers easy-to-use donor management tools, peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns, and more.

Key fundraising features:

  • Use peer-to-peer fundraising tools to bolster your efforts
  • Create customized donation pages that reflect your organization’s brand
  • Accept monthly recurring gifts
  • Create a text-to-give or crowdfunding campaign

Pricing: Mighty Cause offers the Essentials plan for $69/month (or $59/month if billed annually) and the Advanced plan for $119/month (or $99/month if billed annually). View details for both plans here. Processing fees also apply.

Read more about choosing the best fundraising platform for your nonprofit in our blog post here.


4 Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Best Practices

p2p fundraising


1. Tell a story

While unique, out-of-the-box events may be fun, be mindful when selecting a campaign. If the peer-to-peer fundraising campaign story connects fundraisers and donors with your organization, your message will ring louder and stick longer.


2. Make it fun and impactful

This is a good time to think about your audience! Think about the people in your network and the people you would like to add to your network. These days, many people are engulfed in busyness. Activities that people want to participate in, that give them a rest from “being busy” or provide a sense of purpose, are the most successful.

Creating labor-intensive processes or strenuous activities are less likely to be followed through as they create more stress on your participants’ already stressful lives.

Pro tip: Excite your team of fundraisers by dividing them all into shorter teams. Give them each a name to make it more fun. This will help them feel more involved, engage with each other, and create strategies for meeting their fundraising goals. Whichever team raises the most money for your nonprofit, reward them with some benefit or gift. With this concept of team fundraising, every time you’ll offer a more engaging peer-to-peer experience for your donor and volunteer fundraisers.


3. Make fundraising convenient

Easy-to-build, straightforward landing pages or text campaigns make peer-to-peer fundraising easy! People learning about the organization are more likely to follow through and join the efforts if the donation and sharing process is a breeze. Once your nonprofit has selected a peer-to-peer campaign or project, you’ll want an easy, on-brand donation form for fundraisers and donors to participate.

Pro tip: Allowing fundraisers to participate virtually can be a convenient way to allow them to share via social media! Read more about running a successful online fundraising campaign here. Your hybrid fundraisers can also benefit from peer-to-peer fundraising. Involve both your online and offline attendees and donors beforehand, provide updates and necessary materials, and reward them on the day of the event for their fundraising efforts.


4. Be observant

Take notes about what works, what doesn’t work, and the why behind both. Learn from your past efforts and the efforts of your peers. Successful peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns are built on peer feedback. Listen to your participants and ask them how their experience has been with the chosen peer fundraising platform. This will help you make better decisions.

Pro tip: By listening to your participants, you not only make them feel empowered but you also learn how to improve and make the process easier for them which leads to a win-win situation!


There are more ways to bring your peer-to-peer up to power and it’s an ongoing effort. Keep your message crisp and your fundraisers informed! We cover 11 best practices to make your peer-to-peer campaign a total success in this post.

Also, watch our video series on best practices for your peak peer-to-peer performance.



6 Ideas for Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Events

Peer-to-peer fundraising can be a game-changer for your nonprofit fundraising efforts, more so with the right and effective ideas that can charge up your campaigns like never before. So, while you dive into the 6 best ideas we’ve written down here, also give this quick, visual resource a watch for more inspiration.


1. A-thons

Consider activities that your network enjoys or that relate to your organization. Read-a-thons are a great way to involve all ages. Run/walk/swim-a-thons can help promote healthy habits. This method can also create friendly competition between each fundraiser to encourage reading more books or swimming more laps.

This method can also create friendly competition between each fundraiser to encourage reading more books. You can also create different reading teams, set a reading goal for each, and encourage team fundraising to boost engagement within teams and make fundraising more fun for your donors and volunteers. You can get creative with the themes, too.


2. Challenges

Challenges can be a fun way to encourage fundraisers to participate virtually. For example, the Ice Bucket Challenge for the ALS Foundation encouraged participants to post a video of themselves pouring ice water over their heads and passing the baton by “challenging” their friends to follow suit. The Extra Life campaign encourages video gamers to play games for a cause!


3. Symbolic gestures

Symbolic gestures are a good way to involve people by asking them to change an aspect of their lifestyle in a symbolic way. Movember encourages participants to grow out their mustaches for the month of November. The End It Movement encourages participants to mark a red X on their hands. Both of these gestures raise awareness and open the door for conversation in addition to fundraising.


4. Champion-driven peer-to-peer fundraising

Not empowering your top donors, supporters, or clients to participate in fundraising is a mistake you don’t want to commit. They can be the faces of your peer-to-peer campaign. You can trust them to represent your organization while giving them the power to tell their story. This strengthens your relationship with them and ensures they’ll continue to be a part of your mission in days to come.

Pro tip: Be sure you are thorough and communicative about the guidelines so they have some instruction to help your organization maintain consistency while allowing them to include their uniqueness.


5. Event management peer-to-peer fundraising

Event management peer-to-peer fundraisers are a great way for people who love to participate in more hands-on ways. Create a handbook that includes activities and talking points to guide the fundraising host. Or consider a box of materials to give the fundraiser to provide swag items, decorative banners, or information materials to provide for the attendees.

A good example is the American Red Cross Blood Drive Scholarship. Each participant receives a handbook educating how to host a blood drive with helpful tools and tips for success.

By giving the fundraiser helpful materials, you are making the process less intimidating and more impactful.


6. Event-specific peer-to-peer fundraising

Like a-thons, creating a specific event on a specific day managed by your organization helps fundraisers participate with less effort. A good example of this is the AIDS Vaccine 200 which encourages participants to raise money for their individual cycling rides without the hassle of hosting an event of their own. Relay for Life is another very successful example that encourages teams to come together, participate, and share experiences.

Event-specific peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns are a much simpler, yet hands-on way for fundraisers to get involved!


Dig deeper into different peer-to-peer fundraising ideas and convert that inspiration into action! Our goal is to bring all the right tools and resources to help you get there. Here’s an example of a peer fundraising campaign page created on Donorbox. It’s simple and powerful! Head over to our blog post on the complete list of peer-to-peer fundraising ideas.


Conclusion

Peer-to-peer fundraising is a great way to engage your network of supporters, acquire new donors, boost donations, and raise awareness! Not only that, you’ll be raising more donations as compared to a simple online campaign or even crowdfunding (you never know!). With some brainstorming and planning, plus an easy-to-use peer-to-peer fundraising software – you’ll be hosting your campaign in no time!

Get started with your peer-to-peer fundraising donation platform in just 15 minutes – with no set-up fees, no monthly fees, and no contract! Sign up now.

You can check out our blog for nonprofit tips and resources.


Peer-to-Peer Fundraising FAQs

We’re going to answer some of the commonly asked questions on peer-to-peer fundraising.

p2p fundraising


1. How can I encourage participation in peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns?

One way to encourage participation in peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns is to create friendly competition between the fundraisers.

Friendly competition is a great, encouraging way to push goals to the limit. By incentivizing the competition, you are likely to receive more engagement. The incentives can be social media shoutouts, gifts, or other forms of public recognition!


2. Which is the best peer-to-peer fundraising software for nonprofits?

We may be biased, but Donorbox has it all! It lets you create customized donation pages with simple donation forms and more features for your fundraisers. With low fees, no contracts, and customizable options – Donorbox is a perfect fit for any and all of your peer-to-peer fundraising ideas.


3. What are some of the top examples of peer-to-peer fundraising?

According to Peer to Peer Professional Forum, the top 5 successful peer-to-peer fundraising programs in 2020 were:

  1. Heart Walk – American Heart Association
  2. Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Alzheimer’s Association
  3. Relay For Life – American Cancer Society
  4. Kids Heart Challenge – American Heart Association
  5. Light The Night Walk – Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Heather is a writer, business owner, and nonprofit professional. She is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) with more than a decade of experience leading fundraising efforts and creating communication materials for arts, education, and social services nonprofits.

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