Building a Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Community for Your Nonprofit

A Row of people sitting down and bent over their phones, meant to exemplify peer to peer fundraising.Peer-to-peer fundraising has transformed fundraising and community-building opportunities for the nonprofit sector. With the rising popularity of peer-to-peer fundraising, charities have been able to raise money through a more community-oriented approach. People who are eager to make a difference are now able to fundraise for causes they believe in through their own individual fundraising campaign, magnifying their impact as their network becomes aware of the cause they’re fundraising for.

As a nonprofit, it can be difficult to determine how to generate momentum and inspire peer-to-peer fundraising within your support network. This article lays out a few ways your nonprofit can encourage individuals to start fundraisers that benefit your charity.

Use These Strategies and Theories to Inspire Action

If your intention is to have your supporters start a fundraiser for your cause, you may need to lightly persuade them into taking action. That said, there are a few tried and true advertising strategies you can use to get supporters on board—even when you aren’t selling them a product.

The Rule of Reciprocation

The rule of reciprocation, according to psychology professor Robert Cialdini, states that if you give something to a person, they are hardwired to give something back to you. For example, in a study that Cialdini conducted, he found that people tipped 20% higher on their restaurant bill when the server gave them their check with two complimentary mints.

With this theory in mind, try to offer your supporters something in return for starting a fundraiser for your organization. Perhaps you can offer a free download of a documentary video about your nonprofit or a free photograph of a child that will receive an education as the result of their fundraiser.

Know What Your Donors Want to Gain from Supporting Your Cause

People donating to a nonprofit want to feel like they’re making a difference. Make sure you’re providing them with that value when they support your cause, whether they donate or start a fundraiser for your organization. How can you help fundraiser organizers feel like they’re making a difference? There are a lot of different ways, but here are a few options:

  • Share the fundraiser organizer’s name on your website as a leader taking charge to help your cause.
  • Send fundraiser organizers a thank-you note that can easily be shared on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. This way, they can share your thank-you note to show their network of friends and family how they’re stepping up to help their community. As an added bonus, this can also encourage others to act.
  • Send them a sticker. A fundraiser organizer can put a sticker on their car, laptop, or water bottle. This gives them the opportunity to tell the story of their fundraiser when friends ask about their new sticker. It also helps increase brand awareness around your organization as people will get familiar with your logo and your organization name.

The Verbatim Effect

In a study conducted at the University of Western Ontario, researchers found that while people struggle to remember exactly what was said or written, we do retain the meaning behind what we hear or read. Essentially, people remember the jist of what you said but they won’t remember the words verbatim. How does this relate to inspiring action within your fundraising community? Simply stated, you’ll want to build a very clear call to action into your fundraising request.

If you’d like supporters to start a fundraiser on your behalf, reach out to them with an email subject line of, “Join us in raising money for ________.” This way, they know exactly what your ask is before they even open your email. It will also help them explain where funds are going to their network when they ask for donations.

Use Verbiage That Encourages Action

The copy that you use when communicating with your supporters is crucial, especially if you’d like them to start a fundraiser on behalf of your charity or organization. There are plenty of causes for people to support, so be sure to tell them why your charity is the one they should help.

In a study conducted by Jennifer Aaker, Professor of Marketing at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, she found that people are willing to help your cause or purchase your product if you refer to their use of time rather than money—which is why Jennifer believes we should focus on selling an experience rather than a product.

If you’re aiming to inspire people to start peer-to-peer fundraisers for your charity, here are a few taglines you can use in your outreaches:

  • “Take 5 minutes to help a great cause.”
  • “Donate your time to finding a cure.”
  • “It only takes a minute to make a difference.”

When you’re ready to test this new approach in outreaches, do some A/B testing to see what works best for your audience. Start by dipping a toe in the water—don’t dive in head first or your brand may not maintain the same voice your customers are used to.

The Best Ways to Reach Your Supporter Base

Help your supporters help you and your cause with clear and effective outreaches. Here are three ways you can reach out that will have a big impact:

  • Social Media: Create a call-to-action that can be shared across your organization’s social media platforms. Be sure to incorporate the strategies noted above to motivate your network to start a fundraiser right away.
  • Email marketing: Email marketing is a simple way to reach supporters who are already invested in the work that your organization does. Curate the verbiage in your email to ask them to take the time to create a fundraiser that they can share with their network. This is a great option for supporters who aren’t able to give your organization a monetary donation.
  • Share an existing fundraiser: Share your charity’s main fundraising campaign for the year. Within your fundraiser description, challenge supporters to start a campaign of their own to benefit your cause with all proceeds going directly to your charity.

Start Building Your Peer-to-Peer Community Right Away

In a matter of minutes, you can start a fundraiser for your organization and start building your peer-to-peer fundraising network. Your supporters can quickly and easily join your fundraising efforts, maximizing the change your organization is able to make. Get started today and watch as your fundraising goals are met with the help of those around you.