1. Focus On One Specific Project – Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer are best used for very specific, tangible projects with a fully-defined dollar goal. In fact, this is a requirement on many of the P2P platforms.
2. Pick a Technology Platform That Works For You – There are a multitude of platforms you can choose from to run a P2P campaign. Some are focused exclusively on the charity world, some for new business ventures, and some who focus on both. There are many different kinds of fee structures and mechanisms through which you get your funds.
Finding a platform that integrates with your current software, has the features you need and has a track record for success with projects like yours is key. But, above all, it must be reputable and trustworthy in the eyes of your prospective donors.
3. Read the Fine Print – Some providers do not release donor information back to you – only the funds raised. This will make it difficult for you to build a long-term relationship. Think through what your future communications, if any, will be. You don’t want to surprise your P2P supporters.
4. Jump Start the Campaign with Existing Donors – A huge part of the success of most funded P2P campaigns is a quick start. Reaching 30% or more of your goal in the first few days is often critical to others supporting you. Hopefully, people you know and have supported your organization in the past can provide this needed boost. Reach out to them first!
5. Make Your Appeal Engaging – The need for this project must be as compelling as possible. Can people relate and – more importantly – understand quickly what you are trying to achieve? Is it exciting enough for them to share with their network of friends and contacts? Is your appeal donor-centric?
6. Utilize Social Media – One of the best ways to get the word out is through social media. Not only should you promote the event through your owned accounts, make it easy for your supporters to quickly and easily share your project to their networks. You don’t need to go viral, but you do need to reach more than just the followers you have.
7. Include Rich Media like Photos and Videos – A large part of making your project and donation page engaging is the use of video and pictures. They do not have to professional; just personal, authentic and heartwarming. Think about what brings passion and emotion out in yourself and work from there!
8. Don’t Forget Traditional Media – It’s a digital world, but that doesn’t mean you have to forgo traditional advertising or public relations. There’s no reason you can’t use a press release or a radio/TV spot to publicize your P2P campaign.
9. Consider Rewards – Are there any benefits that can be provided by your organization for donors at or above certain levels? Be creative about identifying exclusive benefits that will be meaningful to the donor(s) and/or their friends and families – especially if you can get them for low or no cost. Exclusive tours, private engagements or limited edition swag works quite well here!
10. Nail the Follow-Up – Most P2P tools will guide you through or completely automate the gift acknowledgement process. Once that is complete, and if you have the donor’s contact information, now is your chance to begin building a long-term relationship with other communications. Be thoughtful and caring as you do this. Keep in mind that your donors may have been supporting the fundraiser who worked on your behalf, rather than you directly. Either weave that person in or be sure to mention them in your follow-up. You may have to totally reintroduce your organization to the donor.
The ten ideas above should provide you with a strong gameplan for your first peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. Best of luck as you embark! Please let us know how what worked for you and what didn’t.
A 30+ veteran of the nonprofit software industry, Jay Love co-founded Bloomerang in 2012. Prior to Bloomerang, he was the CEO and Co-Founder of eTapestry for 11 years, which at the time was the leading SaaS technology company serving the charity sector. Jay and his team grew the company to more than 10,000 nonprofit clients, charting a decade of record growth. Prior to starting eTapestry, Jay served 14 years as President and CEO of Master Software Corporation. MSC provided a widely used family of database products for the non-profit sector called Fund-Master. He currently serves on the board of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and is the past AFP Ethics Committee Chairman. Jay is also the author of Stay Together: How to Encourage a Lifetime of Donor Loyalty.