Peer-to-peer fundraising can do so much for your organization. It allows your supporters to raise money on your organization’s behalf while increasing their engagement in the process.

Unfortunately, retaining those new donors can be a little tricky when you don’t have direct contact with them. When someone else is fundraising for you, how are you expected to retain people you haven’t personally come into contact with? Don’t worry, there are answers! And we’ve broken them down into the following easy, how-to steps.

Try out these tips in order to increase your donor retention percentage:

  1. Add a recurring giving option
  2. Express your gratitude
  3. Engage donors through other channels
  4. Offer volunteer opportunities
  5. Ask for feedback

Read on to maximize your donor retention from peer-to-peer fundraising!


1. Add a recurring giving option

Peer-to-peer campaigns are an excellent way to attract one-time donations from new supporters, but with the right strategy, your campaign can also help you secure commitment for recurring giving as well.

According to the donorCentrics™ U.S. Recurring Giving Benchmarking Analysis, retention rates for recurring gifts can be upwards of 90%, compared to 40% for one-time gifts.

But be cautious with this step. You don’t want your organization to come across as too aggressive or pushy because it can decrease your conversion rate or lower your retention rate. And that’s exactly what you don’t want!

You’ll need to time this step graciously for it to come from the right place: your organization’s heart and passion for your cause.

When your supporters are fundraising for you, your supporter can verbally suggest a recurring giving option as donors contribute. If your P2P software allows it, you can also include a recurring gift option directly on your supporters’ fundraising pages; that way, donors only have to check off a box or two.

Signing up for recurring gifts automatically engages new donors on a more regular basis, increasing donor retention.

Of course, let these new donors choose how much they’d like to donate. In other words, give them a list of monetary amounts to choose from that are meaningful to your organization. Whether they’re giving $5 or $50 a month, stickiness will be created between them and the nonprofit immediately.

If you don’t get a recurring commitment initially, don’t be afraid of making it the basis of the second ask. Just don’t attempt to do that without following the rest of the advice found below.

The takeaway: Asking for contributions after a donor has recently given can be a quick way to lose their support, so your nonprofit will need to find the perfect balance between engagement and asking for donations.


2. Express your gratitude

While your supporters are using their campaign pages to collect funds on your behalf, your online peer-to-peer fundraising platform is collecting donor data from your donation forms and populating your donor database.

This data can help you optimize your outreach and express your thanks in ways that show each donor you care about their support, and not just the monetary value in their involvement.

How do you do it? Let’s look at an example!

If a new donor gave you her phone number when it was not required on the donation form, that might be an invitation to call that donor to express your heartfelt thanks over the phone. If you don’t get a phone number, considering sending her a well thought-out handwritten note from one of your employees or board members.

Keep in mind, it’s almost impossible to be too thankful!

Just as the donation is secured by someone not on your staff (the P2P fundraiser), so too should they be involved in the thanking process. Consider having them make the phone calls or write the handwritten notes. After all, they may not even be aware of who your organization is or why the fundraiser is raising money for them.

After the initial thank you, sure to give them progress reports on where their donations are being used and how they’re furthering your cause. Updates can be sent generally in your newsletter or, better yet, through a personalized email!

Along with personalized thank-you’s, thoroughly engaging supporters in the progress of your work is essential to avoid any recurring donation cancellations and securing repeat one-time gifts.

The takeaway: Thanking supporters for both their monetary and moral support is a key component when it comes stewarding donors. Therefore, you’ll need to take the signals the send you into consideration and personalize your outreach for the best results in fundraising and higher retention rates!


3. Engage donors through other channels

You’ve organically grown your donor base with your campaign, but don’t let that P2P page be the last place donors engage with your organization. After you’ve thanked your donors, you can invite them to visit your organization’s other online platforms.

Include links or buttons to your other profiles on your page; whether it’s your website, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest, your donors can learn more about and interact with your organization on their favorite social media platforms.

On your fundraising page, you might also want to include a subscription widget for your email newsletter. Another way to receive updates, your newsletter will keep new supporters (and current ones, too) updated on your organization’s projects and progress, making them feel like part of your nonprofit’s community. You can also let them know about employee matching opportunities or upcoming events.

The takeaway: Putting your new supporters at the forefront of your nonprofit’s community is a necessity for donor retention. You’ll need to be sure to cultivate these relationships by engaging donors through other channels and with reassuring communication. Just make sure you don’t ignore your loyal donors in this process!


4. Offer volunteer opportunities

If you’re in the middle of a fundraising campaign or planning an event, like a walkathon, for example, you may be in need of a few volunteers! And what better way is there to engage supporters than having them volunteer to hand out water or man the donations table at your next fundraiser?

After you’ve included a newsletter subscription widget on your fundraising page, your newsletter will be reaching an even larger donor base. You can send out inquiries for volunteers in your email newsletter or even create a post about it on your website.

Don’t forget, you can email supporters who aren’t subscribed to your newsletter, like new volunteers that have yet to donate or one-time donors, to see if you can involve them further in your nonprofit’s work.

Plus, as you know, one of the most unique attributes of having new donors fundraise for you is the potential to drastically increase your donor base by expanding to your supporters’ networks. And as we know, expanding your donor base usually leads to more exposure, a larger following, and more contributions.

The takeaway: No matter how you recruit their help, volunteering will put supporters at the heart of your campaign and organization because they’ll directly be a part of the change your nonprofit is making.


5. Ask for feedback

Another helpful part of peer-to-peer fundraising is that you have an ally and a middleman in your supporter! Your supporters are fundraising on your behalf, so why not ask them to accept feedback on your behalf as well? This way, you can evaluate new donors’ honest opinions, on top of the opinions of your loyal donors.

While your fundraisers will already have an established trust with the donors they recruit, you’ll have a comfortable relationship with your regular donors, which will give you multiple and differing perspectives in feedback for your organization.

Fundraising is a constant push, so improving your approaches and efforts won’t stop—and your need for feedback won’t either. You’ll want to know how your donors feel about your donation request strategies and if you’ve made them feel like they’re genuinely contributing and furthering your cause, along with plenty of other things.

You’ll get the most positive feedback once you’ve fully immersed new donors into your organization’s community and made them feel like part of your team.

Consider these options for obtaining feedback:

  • Send out a survey or poll
  • Call donors personally
  • Schedule an in-person meeting

The takeaway: Aside from helping your nonprofit better its outreach and donor retention, asking your donors and supporters for feedback will prove you value their opinions, further strengthening your donor relationships (and avoiding decreases in donor retention rates).

Don’t ignore your donor retention rate. You have no excuse not to proactively steward your peer-to-peer donors, especially now that you have these five easy tips under your belt.

Happy retaining!

The Art & Science of Digital Donor Retention

Abby Jarvis

Abby Jarvis

Director of Marketing Communications at Qgiv
Abby Jarvis is a blogger, marketer, and communications coordinator for Qgiv, a provider of industry-leading online giving and peer-to-peer fundraising tools for nonprofit, faith-based, and political organizations of all sizes. When she’s not working at Qgiv, Abby can usually be found writing for local magazines, catching up on her favorite blogs, or binge-watching sci-fi shows on Netflix.
Abby Jarvis