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.

Whether you’ve never heard of peer-to-peer fundraising or you’re a professional p2p 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

Peer-to-peer fundraising also referred to as p2p fundraising is a method of fundraising that encourages your supporters to actively participate in fundraising efforts. Instead of simply donating, a peer-to-peer participant becomes an active fundraiser for your organization, which multiplies your organization’s awareness and support.

This may seem like a simple idea, 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 p2p fundraising work, we’ll discuss some peer-to-peer fundraising tips and ideas to help your organization grow!

What is the Difference between Peer-to-Peer Fundraising and Crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is a method for encouraging a person’s or organization’s crowd to come together and donate toward a specific goal. For example, if your organization 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 p2p fundraising is a larger-scale version of crowdsourcing. The goal of peer-to-peer fundraising is to encourage your organization’s top champions to create their own fundraising goals and fundraise from their own personal network. A peer-to-peer campaign includes a series of smaller initiatives created by each fundraiser. Peer-to-peer fundraising has the ability to reach further networks and achieve higher goals.

To fully understand the differences between p2p fundraising and crowdfunding, check out our blog post on the topic.

Benefits of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

what is peer to peer fundraising

The biggest benefit of p2p fundraising is the level of impact it can bring to your organization. P2P fundraising can help in the following ways:

  1. boost your organization’s awareness,
  2. reach further networks, and
  3. help you raise more money.

P2P fundraising mostly relies on resources you already have – namely, strong relationships and passion. Just add in an easy-to-use, affordable fundraising software like Donorbox and you’ll be ready to hit the ground running in no time!

3 Types of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

what is peer to peer fundraising

1. Ongoing or rolling peer-to-peer fundraising

Ongoing or rolling p2p fundraising campaigns are not bound by time. These efforts 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. The major fallback of this option is a potential loss of steam. When there isn’t an end date, the fundraisers may lose interest and the campaign could fall dormant.

2. Time-bound or time-based

Time-specific p2p 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!

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 a goal.

How to Start a Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign

peer to peer fundraising tips

As you have learned above, peer-to-peer fundraising can be very effective and fun for everyone! Below we have broken down the steps to help you and your organization get started.

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 possible fundraisers, encourage participation, or build excitement.

2. Choose your peer-to-peer fundraising software.

Selecting a peer-to-peer fundraising platform gives you the flexibility to be creative with your p2p fundraising efforts. With no contracts or startup fees, Donorbox is great support for short-term and long-term campaigns!

Pro tip: Being selective of your software and choosing a system with the features you need will be instrumental in the success of your nonprofit’s peer-to-peer fundraising.

3. Engage your fundraisers.

One of the most important keys to the success of your p2p fundraising effort is preparing your 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.

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 all 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!

4 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. 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.

2. 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 solution for your peer-to-peer fundraising efforts.

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.

3. 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 giving 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.

4. 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 support, 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.

Peer to Peer Fundraising Best Practices to Keep in Mind

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 theme relates to your organization, your message will ring louder and stick longer.

2. Make it fun and impactful for the fundraisers

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.

3. Make fundraising easy and convenient

Easy-to-build, straightforward landing pages or text campaigns make p2p 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.

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. We all want to create something new and original, but oftentimes successful p2p fundraising campaigns are built on peer feedback. Listen to your participants and learn from their feedback to build upon and fine-tune for the future.

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!

6 Ideas to Spark Future P2P Fundraising Events

p2p fundraising

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.

The end result is a fun calculation of the donation amount per milestone! You can get creative with the themes, too. Encouraging your top champions to brainstorm ideas together will jumpstart the passion and inevitably drive them to onboard more fundraisers.

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. Ambassador or champion-driven peer-to-peer fundraising

Selecting top donors, supporters, or clients to participate in the fundraising campaign is a good way to celebrate them. By empowering these champions to be the faces of the campaign, you are trusting them to represent your organization while giving them the power to tell their story.

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 p2p fundraising

Event management p2p 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. Day-specific events for peer-to-peer fundraising

Like -athons, 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 ride 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!


p2p fundraising

Peer-to-peer fundraising is a great way to engage your network of donors 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 p2p 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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