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Donor Retention Strategies For Retaining Your Peer-To-Peer Fundraisers And Donors

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What if I told you that how you recruit peer-to-peer fundraisers and donors could be more efficient and result in more donations over time? 

When you’re recruiting, are you considering how to get people who participated and gave to you the year before to come back and support you again? If not, then you’re leaving money on the table, and your past participants are missing out on supporting your mission. 

Luckily, you can change course. How? By creating donor retention strategies for retaining your past fundraisers and donors.

Why does retaining these supporters matter?

You may be wondering why it’s important for you to worry about retaining peer-to-peer fundraisers and donors. They’re low-cost supporters, right? While that’s true and shouldn’t be what you spend all of your precious time on, with a little effort you can keep more of these supporters and spend less time in the future recruiting new supporters to hit your fundraising goals.

For instance, if your nonprofit can retain just fifty percent of the donors from last year and they give the same amount this year, you’ll raise fifty percent of last year’s goal without recruiting any new donors. The higher the percentage of retained donors and participants, the more you’ll raise without spending more time and money recruiting new supporters. 

Let’s take a look at how you can retain your peer-to-peer fundraisers!

How to retain peer-to-peer fundraisers

Your peer-to-peer fundraisers are likely already passionate about your cause. They’re willing to fundraise on your behalf, which means they may be willing to donate during the year too. If you want to make that happen, it helps to make it worth it for these peer-to-peer fundraisers to keep supporting you.      

Here are a few suggestions for getting peer-to-peer fundraisers to continue showing their support throughout the year.

Start at the sign-up process.

During the sign-up process, show supporters how much you appreciate them signing up. With that in mind, think about how you’re communicating the benefits of signing up to fundraise. How are they helping? How are you showing that you appreciate them? Are you making the sign-up process fun in some way? 

By being mindful of what your supporters experience when signing up, you can craft an experience that reiterates how important they are to you and how excited you are for them to be helping out. 

We recommend incorporating impact images and supportive messages during the process. If you can, reward participants for signing up or setting a fundraising goal. Prizes can include recognizing them on your social media platforms or even sending them exclusive merchandise.     

Make participating fun.

Think about how you can make the fundraising experience more enjoyable. Can you offer a fun event for supporters to take part in or fundraise for? Can you make asking for donations fun by incorporating giving challenges and contests into your fundraiser?      

One thing you can and should do is recognize the participants who go above and beyond to fundraise on your behalf. This public recognition can boost their affinity for your nonprofit and keep them coming back for future events. Just make sure you get their permission before you share their names publicly. 

Reward engagement.

Another great way to keep participants coming back year after year is by rewarding their engagement with your nonprofit. Encourage them to follow you on social media for event updates, call them out on your social media platforms when they reach fundraising milestones, and engage with them when they mention you. After all, it makes people feel good to be recognized for doing good.

You can start by incentivizing them to like and follow your nonprofit on your social media platforms. Build in activities like sharing your posts or leaving comments for an exclusive prize. This makes it more likely they’ll continue to value and engage with your content. 

Stay in touch with these supporters during and after your fundraising event. Get to know them, thank them for their support, ask for their feedback, and ensure they know how much you appreciate them. By keeping peer-to-peer participants engaged, you make it more likely that they’ll be receptive (and responsive) to your communications now and in the future.

Thank your fundraisers throughout the event or campaign and in the future. 

Lastly, express your gratitude for your participants right after they donate and later in the year. If you want to retain them, it helps to make them feel seen and appreciated.  

Knowing how to say thank you is imperative for retaining your donors and fundraisers alike. So thank them and share specific examples of how they helped your nonprofit achieve its mission. These gestures go a long way in making participants feel like they are part of something meaningful and that their efforts make a huge difference. Knowing this makes them more likely to continue showing their support in the future.

How to retain peer-to-peer donors

Retaining your peer-to-peer donors is a bit trickier than retaining your participants. Why? Because they might just be making a donation to support a friend or family member; they might not have any opinions about your organization at all! However, you may be able to get them to support your nonprofit too. 

Here are some tips to do just that!

Add these donors to your donor database.

When you capture your donor’s transaction and contact information, this sets you up to be able to send meaningful thank you messages and introduce them to your nonprofit organization if they’re not familiar with it.

Make sure to mark these folks as peer-to-peer donors so that you can send tailored communications, like a welcome series for new donors, to this specific group. Remember, they likely knew very little about your nonprofit when they decided to give to a friend’s campaign. It’s your job to introduce them to your cause and make them passionate about it.

Ask them to make a recurring donation.      

Another great way to retain these donors is to ask them to make a recurring donation during the fundraising event. 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 and a single-digit rate for one-time peer-to-peer gifts.      

How do you get peer-to-peer donors to become recurring donors? During your event, talk about your ongoing needs and the benefits of making a recurring donation. This can inspire donors looking to make a one-time gift to a friend’s fundraising page to consider a more long-term commitment. You can also work with your fundraisers to ask them to push for recurring gifts in their asks by sharing stories and resources that show the impact of these donations.

If you’re not comfortable reaching out during the campaign, reach out and ask for recurring donations in a future email or appeal. After the event ends and you’ve thanked these donors and welcomed them to your nonprofit, send an appeal asking them to continue showing their support with a recurring gift. Be sure to reference their past support as a peer-to-peer donor to show them that you appreciate and recognize their past donations. 

Customize your automated follow-up communications.               

Sometimes retaining a one-time peer-to-peer donor is all about making them feel noticed and appreciated, which can be easily accomplished by making a few tweaks to your automated follow-up communications. Are you sending an automated donation receipt via email? If so, customize the receipt to include a salutation directed to the donor and mention the campaign they supported.

An email receipt that starts with “Thank you, [Donor’s Name]!” is much more personal than only providing the transaction summary. Your automated email receipts are also a great place to talk about the impact of donations, your organization’s mission, and ways for the donor to get more involved. 

Just remember: You should ask for their permission before opting them into an email series.      

Thank your peer-to-peer donors.

Just like any other kind of donor, you’re more likely to retain peer-to-peer donors if you thank them. You should incorporate messages of thanks to these donors in your post-event communications to them and in your automated email receipts.

Showing appreciation is a great way to endear your nonprofit to those who gave solely to support their friends or family members. You can incorporate messages of thanks in a post-event summary email, your new donor welcome series, and in other communications in the future. Just be sure to segment your peer-to-peer donors into their own list so your messages of thanks are personalized to their giving experience.

Get to know your peer-to-peer donors.

If you want to retain your peer-to-peer donors, it helps to start a conversation with them. According to Dr. Adrian Sargeant, two-way interactions significantly improve donor retention. Start a dialogue early on in your communications to the donor and use the opportunity to find out more about them. 

You can ask questions like: “What interests you about our organization or mission?” and “What kind of results do you expect from our organization?”     

Not only does asking for opinions help you get valuable feedback, but it also shows these donors that you care about their experience with your nonprofit. 

Engage these donors through other channels.

Once they opt in to your communications, make a point of asking them what information they want to receive from your organization. One easy way to find out is to send an initial email that lists the content interested parties can sign up to receive. In addition to your newsletter, list the different programs you run, event invitations and reminders, and any other content you send your supporters. Send this email out to each new person who opts in from your event registration form and donation page. 

Giving your recipients options empowers your new contacts to specify what information they’d like to receive. Additionally, your nonprofit obtains valuable information about each of these new contacts and their areas of interest, which is useful for segmentation.

Offer volunteer opportunities.

If you’re in the middle of a fundraising campaign or planning an event like a walkathon, 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 donation table at your next fundraiser? If you’re hosting a virtual event, you can still offer volunteer opportunities for things like setting up a livestream or assisting with building out your peer-to-peer event page.

Another great way to engage new donors is by giving them hands-on volunteer experience at your nonprofit. If you need extra hands to help carry out your mission, invite these donors to volunteer. This gives them firsthand knowledge of how their contributions helped. This is paramount to getting donors to stick around.


Whether you’ve decided to go back to in-person events or are running your peer-to-peer events virtually, these donor and peer-to-peer participant retention strategies are designed to make it easier for you to raise funds during your peer-to-peer events—without breaking the bank or taking up all of your time. By using the strategies outlined above, you can retain more of these supporters and raise more year over year during your peer-to-peer fundraising event.

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