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11 Flavors of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

by The NonProfit Times - September 30, 2013

Peer-to-peer fundraising isn’t just for cause and cure organizations anymore. The rise of crowdfunding coupled with a changing donor demographic has led to a surge in nonprofits of all types building do it yourself (DIY) fundraising programs.

No, it wasn’t table chat at a Howard Johnson’s ice cream parlor. It was a workshop during bbcon 2013, Blackbaud’s Conference for Nonprofits in National Harbor, Md., Marla Barr of San Diego Zoo Global, Nancy Palo of Blackbaud and Mark Becker of Cathexis Partners shared tips for empowering independent fundraisers, including creating a strategy, optimizing the web experience, and managing and marketing their programs. Here are 11 of the ideas.

  • Dip your toes in. It can be overwhelming to think about creating a large peer-to-peer event, but DIY fundraising can help explore the potential.
  • Ensure organizational-wide support by engaging key stakeholders (leadership, staff and constituents) through communicating the performance and benefits (low cost of fundraising, expanded reach and building a stronger supporter base).
  • Create your business plan, acknowledging that the first year is just experimental.
  • The online experience is critical. Create an open platform where constituents can sign up to get a personal fundraising website with email capabilities and encourage them to get creative. Having the funds flow directly to your organization helps increase the credibility of the fundraisers.
  • Create guidelines and best practices and identify risks. Provide rules of engagement, approved logos, digital downloads, printed materials and an organizational fact sheet.
  • Provide prospective fundraisers a plethora of ideas, examples and tools.
  • Add DIY components to existing campaigns to build an army of fundraisers.
  • It’s not a “build it and they will come” type of effort. You still need to have staff involved to build relationships with the individual fundraisers and ensure their success along the way.
  • Market your program on a year-round basis. Feature successful fundraisers – both individuals and activities via your website, social media, e-newsletters and printed materials.
  • Take an active role in recruiting fundraisers. Board members, major donors, advocates and volunteers make great prospects.
  • Recognize your DIY fundraisers and encourage them to do it again.


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