Chris Hammond and Brittany LaGanke will walk you through an overview of P2P basics, campaign essentials, and show you how to set your fundraising team up for success and keep them motivated.

Full Transcript:

Steven: Okay. All right. Chris, Brittany, it’s 2:00 Eastern. Is it okay if I go ahead and get this party started officially?

Chris: Absolutely.

Brittany: Let’s do it.

Steven: All right. Cool. Welcome, everyone. Thanks for being here. Hope you’re having a good Thursday. We are here to talk about roadmap to successful peer-to-peer campaign, one of my favorite topics. And it’s a timely one too. I’m glad to see you all here. Nice to see a full room. Hope we’re staying healthy and productive. Hope your fundraising is going okay right now. And we’re going to have some fun over the next hour or so. So I’m Steven. I’m over here at Bloomerang, and I’ll be moderating today’s discussion as always.

And just a couple of housekeeping items before we jump into it here. Just want to let everyone know that we are recording this session and we’ll be sending out the recording as well as the slides if you didn’t already get those later this afternoon. So if you have to leave early, if maybe you get interrupted or miss something, don’t worry, we’ll get all that good stuff to you later today. I’ll email it to you. I promise.

And most importantly, please use that chat box right there on your webinar screen. I know a lot of you already have. Introduce yourself. We’d love to know who you are, where you’re from, what your organization does. But send us questions. We’re going to leave some time for Q&A. We’ll be watching those throughout the hour. So don’t be shy. There’s even a Q&A tab in addition to the chat tab, you can use either of those. I’ll keep an eye on those. I’ll also keep an eye on Twitter if you want to send us a tweet during the session. But we’d love to hear from you. We’d love for these sessions to be interactive.

And if this is your first Bloomerang webinar, just want to say an extra special welcome to all you folks. We do these webinars, usually every Thursday, but we’ve been doing additional sessions throughout the weeks since mid-March. So, you know, if you like this webinar, and I think you will like this one, hopefully you’ll come back for more. But what we are most known for at Bloomerang is our software. We’re a provider of donor management software. If you’ve never heard of Bloomerang, that’s who we are. Just for context, just want to let you know what we’re all about. And if you want to learn more, just check out our website, there’s lots of good info there. You can watch videos and request demos and all that good stuff.

But don’t do that right now because two of my favorites are here, a dynamic duo that I have had the pleasure of seeing speak personally and have hosted on the webinar series before, Chris and Brittany joining us from Corporate Giving Connection. Chris, Brittany, you doing okay? How’s it going? It’s good to see you both.

Chris: Just living good, feeling good. Having a good time.

Steven: Yeah. And Brittany, you are with us too.

Brittany: Thank you so much for having us.

Steven: Yeah. And you’re on opposite sides of the country. Chris is in California, Brittany’s in New York and two of my favorites, like I said. I got to see them speak in person. I think it was last September in Chicago. And then they were on a big virtual summit that we hosted a couple of weeks ago and always have really good information. And their in-person seminars, really good command of the room, really fun session that I got to see them give. So it’s always nice to hear from them.

You got to check them out at Corporate Giving Connection. Lots of experience between the both of them. And they’re here to talk about peer-to-peer, which I feel like is kind of having a moment right now. So I want to let them talk about it. So I’m going to stop sharing my screen. And, Chris, I’m going to give you the power to share your screen and hopefully we’ll get this going. So try it now, man. I think it’s working. Let me know.

Chris: All right. Let’s see. Okay. Let’s see here.

Steven: Almost there.

Chris: Yeah. Let’s go. Hold on. Sorry. From start. All right. Everyone can see? You guys can see?

Steven: Yeah.

Chris: All right. So I will let Brittany take it from here.

Brittany: Okay. So as we know, we’re all here to talk about peer-to-peer fundraising. So I just wanted to start off by talking a little bit about what we’re going to cover in this presentation. So we’re going to go over the very basics of peer-to-peer. So if you’ve done a peer-to-peer campaign in the past, this may be a little bit of information that you already know, but just bear with us. We want to make sure to define everything so that if we have folks that aren’t as familiar that are on this call, we can answer all of those questions for them. So we’re going to talk about the very basics of peer-to-peer, the essentials that you absolutely need to run a successful campaign, and then how to motivate and keep your fundraisers going. So making sure that they’re set up for success and that they have everything that they need to do the work that they’re going to do for your organization and keeping them going. So we will jump right into that.

So as Chris and Steven both said, I think peer-to-peer is really having a moment right now. I think a lot of us in the nonprofit world have had events canceled because of COVID and because of everything going on. So I think a lot of people are desperately in search of ways to replace that lost revenue, which is really important. So the that’s kind of one of the reasons why peer-to-peer is just booming right now.

So a lot of us have probably seen peer-to-peer in the past. So typically it’s been done for walks, runs, marathons, cycling events, things like that. So you probably received an inquiry or an email or request from somebody in your life asking you to donate to a peer-to-peer campaign in the past. So typically through email where they’ll send you a link to their personal fundraising page and ask you to make a contribution that’ll ultimately go towards the organization. But the idea is they’ve created their own fundraising page, they’re asking for donations from their network, so from their family members, friends, people on their social media pages asking to give to their page.

But peer-to-peer has really, in our opinion, it’s branched out a lot from kind of those initial uses, those athletic events. So we see peer-to-peer giving being used for end-of-year campaigns, annual giving, spring or fall campaigns. And even in-person events, we’ve seen, peer-to-peer be used for those too. So a lot of what we’re going to talk about today is more focused on end of year or annual-type campaigns, so online-only campaigns. A lot of this, you could very easily apply to an event-centric campaign, but I think just for now the most pertinent information will be the those online, the virtually-driven campaign. So that’s what we’re really going to focus on.

So why organizations like peer-to-peer? So like we said, a lot of people are familiar with the crowdfunding methods. So you’ve probably done this with your organization in the past. You want to create a fundraising campaign maybe for end of year, maybe for an annual event or something like that and you basically just set up an online page and shoot everybody to that page and ask them to make a donation and it all goes into one big pot. So the benefits of using peer-to-peer versus this method is that it allows people to kind of customize their messages and allows them to put a little bit of a personal touch on it. So you really have an army of ambassadors who are amplifying the message for you. So you’re not just sending out the message to your network that’s getting all of your messages that you always send, you’re reaching new people that you don’t necessarily have in your network.

So they’re able to personalize the message, they’re making that connection more personal. And a lot of times what we see is that people like to use kind of a combination. So maybe you have a main landing page. So you’re doing kind of the crowdfunding method where you’re sending out mass communications, emails and sending everybody to that main campaign landing page to make a donation, but then maybe you put a little bit of a peer-to-peer component into it so that individuals can create their own campaign pages also, so it’s a little more personal, but, of course, they all ultimately feed into that main campaign page.

So we’ve seen people that like to do a combination. We actually just had a client this past year who had never done an end of year campaign before they decided to try one this past November and December. Had never done one in the past and they really didn’t have a robust group of individual donors. It just wasn’t something that they had done. And so they didn’t really have a large network to reach.

So what they did is they created a peer-to-peer campaign and they actually had their board members serve as the ambassadors. So we set up a personal campaign page for each of their board members and they reached out to people in their network. So not only were they getting donations that they would have never had access to, but they’re also making connections that now those people are now in their network, they’re now on their mailing lists and receiving their newsletters and their communications. And they actually were able to raise about $20,000 on our first year campaign, which we were really proud of. They’re a very small organization here in New York, and that was their first time doing anything like that. So we thought that that was a really, really successful first year event and I know that they’re planning to build on that this coming year as well. So you can really kind of do a hybrid of these different methods.

And then in terms of the fundraisers themselves, so fundraisers also love peer-to-peer because it gives them the flexibility and it gives them the opportunity that if they want to personalize things, if they want to put in a lot of effort, they can do that and it will definitely pay off. So they can customize their fundraising pages, they can customize all of the messaging that they’re sending out. So if they’re sending out emails to friends and family members, they can customize and personalize those. They can upload photos of themselves and videos onto their campaign page or onto their social media and really engage as much as they feel comfortable doing.

But it also offers flexibility in the sense that if they just really want to take the templates that are provided for them, if all they want to do is copy and paste a link to their page and send it out to people and not do a whole lot of effort other than that, that’s fine too. They can do that too. So it really gives people that flexibility that it doesn’t need to be a ton of effort, but if they want to put in a little bit more personalization, they can definitely do that.

And I personally love the fundraisers who want to personalize things. I think that makes a lot more fun. It brings a lot more competition into the mix and it just helps people really connect with the organization and the mission. So we love people who like to personalize.

So different popular campaign types. We mentioned this a little bit already, but in the past, a lot of times, runs, walks, cycling events, marathons, those athletic events were typically the ones that use peer-to-peer and they still do, and they’re still really successful, but we’ve seen this really be brought into a variety of different events.

So like we mentioned, end-of-year giving annual campaign, so different campaign themes are really awesome, and we’ve seen a lot of really creative, unique ideas. So we’ve had clients who do programs in schools. So maybe they do an annual peer-to-peer campaign that’s about going back to school. Maybe they do something in September. I mean, the beauty of this is that you can really personalize it for your organization. We had a veterans organization that was able to do . . . maybe you do a campaign around Memorial day or 4th of July. You can really customize it for your organization and your mission.

We’ve even had people, like I said, incorporate peer-to-peer into in-person events like galas. So if you sell corporate tables or you have corporate sponsorships, you could have people fundraising before the event or at the event and they can kind of compete against each other and see, you know, which table is able to raise the most funds for the organization before the end of the event. So we’ve seen it be used in a variety of different ways and I think the most important thing is just like I said, to make it personal and connect it with your organization and your mission.

So now we’re going to talk a little bit about the campaign essentials. So these are the elements, these are the building blocks that you need to put together an awesome peer-to-peer campaign. So starting with diversification. So this is really what it’s all about. We’ve all heard, probably that statistic people say it takes seven touches to get people to do an action, which is typically make a donation. So it’s really important when you’re putting together your campaign strategy to come at it from a variety of different angles because people’s attention spans are really short. So you’re going to need a lot of different touchpoints, but you want them to have one united message. So you can have different ways to activate people. So sending out emails, doing social media activations, having those in-person events, you know, if and when we’re ever able to ever able to do that again.

But also another thing that we’ve seen be really successful is direct mail. So sending people letters in the mail, a lot of people feel like that’s really antiquated or that organizations aren’t doing that anymore. But we kind of are of the opinion that the direct mail, the snail mail is it’s still not dead. So we’ve seen people use that and be really, really successful. We had an organization in the past that did one of these annual campaigns and they had their board members send out direct mail letters and they actually were able to personalize them and put a little personal note along with those letters before they got sent in the mail and they raise a ton of money doing that each year. So it’s really just about who’s in your network, how are they receiving their communications, how can you reach them and how can you be creative?

So in terms of content, what are the things that you need to put this campaign together? So a great campaign theme, and we’ll talk about that a little more on one of the later slides about ways to pick a campaign theme that really works for your organization. But one of the most important things before you can even get started putting your emails together, before you can get started creating those social media images, you really need to work together with your program staff to gather a lot of images, videos, stories, testimonials, quotes, you need a ton of material to bring these things to life and to create these unified messages.

So you want to give yourself plenty of time to collect all of that. And it does take time in your programs. People, of course, will appreciate you giving them time to collect all of that because it’s definitely a lot of work, but you want . . . Like I mentioned before, people’s attention spans are short. I mean, we’ve all been scrolling on social media, all of our email boxes are consistently inundated with emails requesting donations from a million different organizations. So you want yours to stand out. So you’re definitely going to need those compelling images, statistics, and things like that to share that will really grab people’s attention.

So these are some examples of a couple of organizations that we’ve worked with in the past. So you can see in the first one they’re using just an image that stands out and that statistic on there is just really bold. It’s in your face. If I was scrolling through a timeline on social media and I saw that, I would immediately want to know more and I would immediately pay attention to that because it’s bold and it’s in your face. The other example is a little bit more text-heavy, but it’s a really kind of quick little success story from one of their programs and then it’s paired with a quick fact that’s highlighted. And then, of course, the photos. The photos are huge. Whenever you can put a face to the mission, that’s obviously going to reach people and hit a little closer to home. So that’s something that we really like to do.

So campaign theme, this is so important. So you want to pick something that is related to your specific mission in your organization and what your programs really do. You want it to be something that’s easy to connect with and you just want that overarching thing theme to tie everything together. So you’re sending out all these different communications, you want to bring them all together under one umbrella. And something that we really like to do is to encourage people to focus on one specific initiative. So maybe if you have an organization that provides recreation or athletics, maybe you can pick a specific goal or a specific initiative. Maybe you need to rebuild your gym or something like that. It really helps to rally people around something that has a very specific monetary goal and outcome so that it’s very clear and that the value proposition is there while people are donating.

So, for example, if you’re looking to build a new gym facility, you might say, “We need $10,000 to renovate this gym and maybe $25 will buy some new athletic equipment or $100 donation will provide jerseys for teams” or something like that. Giving very specific examples of what each level of donation will go towards just helps people connect with it a little bit more. It makes it a little bit more clear and measurable. So those are some examples of ways to use levels of giving.

And then, of course, it always helps to pick something, especially if you’re going to be active on social media, it helps to pick something that’s going to translate into a catchy title or a hashtag. So you can put that at the top of all of your emails, you can put it on your campaign website. People can use that while they’re posting on your behalf on social media. So if you plan to use that, definitely consider picking something that will translate into a nice hashtag and you want to keep it short and specific again. So you can see, we have a couple of examples on here from past clients that have picked something that’s very easy to rally around, great images, easy hashtags. And these were both banners that they were able to use on their website and their emails and on their social media and just tying everything together.

And then in terms of a campaign goal, so this is something that we see a lot of our clients struggle with as well, is because you want something that is attainable and realistic. So you want to have a sense of accomplishment and you definitely want to shoot for the stars, but you also don’t want to go so crazy that people feel like the campaign is a failure if they didn’t even come close to that goal. So it’s really important to be honest with yourself and to pick something that’s realistic for your organization.

And it also just feels great to be able to achieve a goal and to celebrate with people. People want to celebrate your success with you. So make sure that that’s something that you’re able to actually do.

So we have a couple of questions, a few different questions on this slide that you can kind of use as you’re creating those goals and just ask yourself some of these questions to figure out if your goal is actually realistic. So if you’ve done a peer-to-peer campaign or a crowdfunding campaign in the past, if you did, how much did that raise? That’s probably going to be a pretty good indicator of what you’re able to do right now, unless a ton has changed in terms of your network or your group of people that you’re going to be soliciting.

So if you’ve done an end-of-the-year campaign, how much did that make? If you’ve ever utilized peer-to-peer for an event, what’s the actual impact you’d like to make from this campaign? So like I use that gym example, is there something specific that you can work towards? Do you think that that’s realistic? How many fundraisers would you need to accomplish the goal? So if you’ve done something like that in the past, you could take a look at what was the average donation made. So how many donations would you need based on that average donation size to hit that goal? Is that realistic for you? Do you feel confident that you could exceed the goal? How many different people do you have in your network right now and how many people do you feel like each of them could reach out to?

So these are all different things that you want to consider while you’re coming up with the ultimate goal because obviously at the end of the day, we want to be able to celebrate those successes. So that’s really important to consider. And now I’m going to turn things over to Chris and he’s going to talk about setting up your fundraisers for success.

Chris: Hello, everybody. All right. So I know you’ve heard all of these, you know, clear guidelines of how to put a campaign together, but I think you guys are all, I’m sure, still asking yourselves the same question, where do we find these mythical fundraisers? Well, I say look no further than your backyard. You know, you guys would be surprised that some of the best fundraisers are some of the people that you work with every day, you just need to make sure that you’re giving them clear guidelines and clear templates and giving them the direction that they need to be successful all while keeping them motivated.

So we have some best practices here. So first and foremost, one of our favorite fundraiser types are individuals that are currently involved with your missions and programs. So, you know, I think that’s fairly self explanatory, but, you know, if you’re having an individual that actually knows your mission, knows how important it is and they know the impact that you’re making in the community, they’re going to be much more compelling when they’re speaking to their greater network to communicate your message. So we always say that that’s a nice place to start.

If you have a recurring individual donor that has shown an ability, whether they’re a monthly donor or an annual donor, but somebody that has shown the consistency of making sure that they’re always contributing to your organization, that’s a great place to start because the way that we look at it is if you’re going to have a fundraiser that is driving this campaign, they don’t need to have this incredible gift potential and they don’t really actually need to have a very deep network. They need to be active, but they also need to be willing to be accountable. And if you have somebody that has shown that consistency and that willingness to support on a regular basis, you know, people in their network and their greater network are already going to know about the organization and they’ll probably have a familiarity.

Committee members. I’m sure we all have committee members that . . . some that get everything that they say that they’re going to do done and some that don’t, right? If you have some committee members that have that extra time and they have shown an excellent track record of accountability and a willingness to do more, then you should definitely look there and make sure that you can ask them if they’re actually willing to do a campaign on your behalf. We all have volunteers that we’ve had in the past that that have said, “Hey, can I do more? You know, I really don’t have the capacity to give, but I want to find an opportunity to help.” If they’re dependable and they have an active network, it doesn’t hurt to try.

And then board members, I think this is one of the common misconceptions that a lot of our clients have on a regular basis. They feel just because it’s a board member and they might be their largest donors, that they are going to be the best fundraisers for them. And I have to say in the past, I’ve worked with enough organizations where their board will say, “You know what? I’d like to write a check, but I’m not as willing to reach out to my network. “And that’s absolutely fine.

So pay attention, see how they’ve been in the past. If you had a board members that’s been open to, you know, engaging with members from their work or getting more people involved and have shown a track record of wanting to get others involved, then yes, absolutely have them be a fundraiser. But if not, they might be perfect for another type of campaign where maybe they’re matching a donation that’s coming in or they can support it in another area.

And then just any other additional individuals that are personally invested in your organization or staff that have expressed interest in getting more involved, look to them as well. I think as long as you create those clear expectations and you develop a nice peer-to-peer fundraising kit where they can have the templates they need to be successful and you have a cohesive messaging plan, it becomes much easier to have clear guidelines and expectations so they know what they’re getting involved in. And from there, let them make the decision to tell you, “Hey, I think I can accomplish this,” or, “No, I’m sorry. I’m not going to be able to.”

So just as I had mentioned before, it’s all about developing expectations. So how do we do that? What we’ve seen in the past is so often somebody will get involved in a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign and they don’t even know what they signed up for. They don’t know what their fundraising goal is, they don’t know what the website should look like for their giving page. They just thought they were signing up to help and make a donation. So we think it’s very important to, a), share with them what you’re ultimately trying to accomplish.

So as Brittany had mentioned a little bit earlier, when you have a clear campaign theme and clear messaging of what you’re trying to accomplish with this campaign, it becomes much easier, but you still need to take that time if you have the bandwidth to do so. And I feel for a lot of us, especially if we’re trying to do an online-only campaign, we think it’s imperative to take that five minutes to chat with that potential fundraiser and ask them the clear and easy to answer questions.

For example, “Are you open to soliciting funds from your network through email and social media?” I think this is just really the baseline. If somebody says, “I don’t know if I feel very comfortable, you know, soliciting friends,” well then they probably shouldn’t be a fundraiser.

Are you comfortable with fundraising X amount of dollars over X period of time? I think it’s important to ask that question, right? Because we have seen our clients in the past just assume that the fundraiser has the capacity to get a donation of a certain dollar amount and they didn’t even factor in what they were actually comfortable with. This is an important question to ask and it’s okay if they’re not able to hit that fundraising goal that you were looking for, you should just ask them what amount are they actually comfortable with fundraising.

One of the big pieces that I mention, and we’ll talk about it a little bit later is having those email, having those social media templates, having the images that the fundraiser can use so that they can amplify the message to their audience. So explaining to them, “Hey, I’m going to be providing you with some email and social media templates. Do you think your network would be willing to contribute?” I think it’s important to ask them if they’re going to even use the resources that you’re providing.

And then, you know, we always want to suggest to them if they add that personal touch, as Brittany had mentioned, whether it’s sharing their story or their images or their personal videos, “Would you be willing to share your personal story?” If you have a fundraiser with a rock star type of story where they have a very clear impact that’s happened because of your organization, let’s hope that they’re going to be willing to do so. If not, they have easy-to-use templates that they can make sure that they can use as well.

And it’s always just helpful to know your resources, ask the individuals in your network, do they work for a company that is willing to match donations? That can really come in handy at the end of a campaign, especially if you’re going to be incentivizing that the campaign will be coming to a close and you really want to make sure that you are hitting your campaign goal.

One of the next pieces I’d like to talk about is keeping your fundraisers motivated. And before I get started on really talking about email templates, I think it’s incredibly important to create a fundraising kit. And what do I mean when I’m talking about a peer-to-peer fundraising kit? It is important that you are first and foremost, as Brittany had talked about, giving your fundraisers shareable images, images that have already created. So whether those are professional images or images that have been designed, making sure that your fundraisers have access to those so that when they are sharing on their specific platforms, that they have the tools and the imagery to storytell on behalf of your organization. I always think that that’s the baseline.

That next piece that I think that that a fundraising kit has to have is clear email templates, easy-to-use email templates that are fill in the blank. So this particular one right here is something where we’re just reminding somebody about a campaign. You’re taking the time to say, “Hey, the deadline is coming up. This is where I’m at in hitting my goal.” You know, “This is why this campaign is important to me. Can you donate?” We put this together for all of our clients. We make sure that we have that initial email template that’s introducing the campaign, we have the second email that’s reminding, and then we have that final email that is focused on creating action, creating urgency, and letting them know that there might be a match of some sort to incentivize.

The next one that I was talking about is social media templates. So as you can see, this is what I’m talking about with the graphic design sharable images. For each one of these organizations that we worked with, we wanted to make sure that, a), we were communicating what their campaign was all about, making sure that we have an image that corresponded with that campaign, but also having that clear call to action of “Donate Now.”

We also put together, once again, that same type of language that we’re putting together, and it’s really the similar language that the organization is using to its audience. You’re using that same type of language when you’re communicating with your personal network. So in this particular case, this is one of those initial emails or initial social media posts that we put together and we put together typically three different social media posts that can be scheduled out throughout the duration of the campaign.

And we’ll say, “Help me hit my fundraising goal of $1,000 for an organization that is close to my heart, Dizzy Feet Foundation.” So this was a specific organization that we were working with. We make sure that, a), we’re communicating the campaign goal of what we’re trying to fundraise, b), we’re communicating what the campaign is all about and, c), we’re really communicating why this is important to us. This is something that we provide to our fundraisers to ensure that this is very much just fill in the blank for them so that they don’t have to do any extra work.

And we want to make sure that we’re mindful of their time, but we’re also making sure that they have to keep themselves accountable so that if they end up writing some message that is not in line with what you’ve been trying to communicate, you can direct them back to an area that’s very easy, very mindful of their time, and just really fill in the blank type of messaging.

So this is one of the biggest pieces to me, is you need to be able to keep your fundraisers motivated throughout. So what I mean by that is if somebody has taken the time to put together a campaign on your behalf, you have to realize they don’t have to do any of this. You are working with somebody that is volunteering their time, so at any moment that you can, give them recognition, give them that positive recognition. And a lot of times, this recognition can happen through social media shoutouts, but this can also happen from check-in emails. We think it’s imperative that you have clear check-in emails throughout for your fundraisers to ensure, a), they know where they are on having progress towards their goal, but, b), you’re also able to shout out the people that have been exceeding expectations.

Positive reinforcement from your staff goes a long way. So if your executive director might not have the bandwidth to communicate, you know, “You’re doing a great job,” have another person on your staff take the time and say, “Hey, thank you for what you’re doing. We really appreciate it.” Be mindful of their time. That goes back to having a clear messaging strategy, having clear templates that have already been creating, providing that fundraising kit, and having all of those pieces all figured out before the fundraiser has come in, because what we want is for us to do all the preliminary planning and making sure that once the fundraiser is executing this campaign, they’re essentially pressing “Play,” they’re filling in the blank, they’re plugging and playing, and they’re sending out their network and they’re amplifying their message to the personal network.

Set realistic goals that they are confident that they can exceed. I tell you, there is no easier way to really hurt someone’s morale than them not hitting their fundraising goal. Right? You want to make sure that you’ve created goals that they’re confident that they can exceed, that they are fully equipped to be able to handle and that they had involvement in creating. And so that’s why we thought it was very important to take the time to ask them the questions, “What are you capable of fundraising?” And, “Do you have the tools? Do you have the network to succeed?”

Help them understand the importance of your campaign and the impact that it will make in the community. It’s important at any time to, you know, especially when we’re putting together online fundraising campaigns, it’s imperative that you are finding every opportunity to reintroduce the mission back to the fundraisers. Make sure that the mission is always at the top of mind, even if that’s something where participants are sending thank you messages or sending out videos to the impact that they’re actually making. It’s so important for them to understand why they are involved. That’s the only way that they’re going to have that passion with their personal network. You need to make sure that they have the tools, but also that you’re tugging on those emotional heartstrings so that they’re continuing to stay motivated and they have the mission at the top of their mind and that they have programs at the top of their minds so that they feel like they’re actually making that impact in the community.

Provide coaching and guidance when requested. So what I mean by that is on that early stages, we’re doing all of the groundwork of creating the campaign, developing the content, creating the messaging, creating the communication plan, and creating a bit of that strategy and those templates. But then, you know, once the fundraisers have it in their hands, you want to make sure that you can now take that moment and really, really transition into becoming more of a coach and making sure that you’re saying, “Hey, you guys are doing a great job. Hey, this campaign maybe needs to start shortening their messaging or they need to be more frequent on how they’re posting with their social media have you noticed that this fundraiser has tried this method and it’s working for them?” So making sure that you can plug and play and do a little bit of that testing to see what’s actually working for your fundraisers.

But you also need to be sure that not everybody likes coaching and not everybody likes guidance. You want to make sure that you have that balance with your fundraisers so that you are being mindful of what is the management style that they appreciate most. And I think this is all to say, you want to make sure your fundraisers feel special at all times for their effort.

Take the moments that are important to just show, “Hey, maybe I want to send you guys a t-shirt or I want to send you guys a hat,” something that doesn’t cost any money at all for you guys, something that you guys have already bought or purchased. If you can send that out, or if you can incentivize your fundraisers in any way, that’s going to be important to your success.

So this is a quick recap. So first and foremost, before you’ve even gotten started in reaching out to recruiting or fundraisers, you need to make sure that you have a clear campaign theme and clear impact ratios of how this is ultimately going to help out your . . . how it’s going to help out your campaign and how people can help your organization make an impact in the community.

As we said before, fundraisers are driving your peer-to-peer campaign. You want to make sure that you make it as easy as possible with templates, with a strong messaging strategy, and a clear communication calendar so that they can execute at a high level. You need to give your fundraisers clear instructions and help create the goals. And that goes back to what I was saying before. If you’re asking those questions and you’re sitting down with them and you’re chatting with them and finding out what is their giving capacity, what do they even think about this campaign, they’re not only an ambassador, but they’re a thought partner. So make sure that you’re treating them in that way.

You also want to make sure that you’re available to check in. And then, like I said before, you’re providing that strategy, you’re providing the content, but ultimately you’re going to have to serve a role as a coach. So be available and make it easy for them to get in contact with you, because let’s be honest, your coaching is it and your ability to check in is going to be imperative to your success.

And then provide as much positive reinforcement as possible. Really take those moments to celebrate those victories and make sure that the fundraisers understand that they’re appreciated and that their job has been well done.

So that’s just a quick idea of what we think is simple and ways that you can create a online fundraising peer-to-peer campaign as of now. I’m sure you guys have a lot of questions, so we wanted to be sure to answer all those for you now.

Steven: All right. Cool. We got a lot of questions, so I’m glad we have some time, probably about 15 minutes. So if you haven’t asked a question yet, now is the time. Obviously, Chris and Brittany are wealth of knowledge here. So ask away. Friends, we’ve got a lot of questions about platforms. I know you all interface with a lot of different software providers, and so do we at Bloomerang, but is there other systems you recommend or what do you think folks should know when they go out and, you know, kind of shopping for software?

Chris: I mean, I’ll tell you guys, that’s the number one question that we’re asked all the time. And so there’s a couple of things that I think you have to take into account. What is your budget, right? And take a moment to understand what are the costs that you have to spend from the beginning. What are the just a flat fee cost or the monthly costs that you have to do at the beginning, but also pay attention to the percentage that’s being taken out on the backend. I think those are so important.

We work with a multitude of platforms, work with Salsa. We’ve worked with Classy in the past. We’re working with CAUSEBOX, OneCause. We’re working with so many different platforms and what I’ll say to you is this, I think it’s very important that it’s easy to use, that it’s user-friendly, and that it has the ability to be customizable as possible, but that it still makes it plug and play.

And to us, and I might be a little bit more in the minority on this, I think it’s more important to have strong storytelling, strong content, strong messaging, and that strong calendar than saying, “You know what? I have this incredible powerful peer-to-peer platform.” I think the messaging, I think the recruitment, and I think the people that are driving your campaign are the most important aspects. Brittany, do you have something to add to that?

Brittany: Yeah. The one thing that I always like to add in too is while you’re shopping around for different platforms and for technology, I think something that a lot of people don’t pay attention to that’s really important to note is to ask questions and to pay attention to what is the reporting and the data look like on the backend? What types of data are you going to be able to extract and to get out of this platform at the end of the campaign?

So a lot of times people aren’t thinking about that kind of stuff at the beginning while they’re shopping around, but there may be certain data points that you really want to have to be able to continue to improve on your campaigns year over year. And so you want to make sure that whichever platform you’re using, you’re easily able to gather that data on the backend. So just something to think about also while you’re looking around.

Steven: And, Chris, you mentioned fees can you pull on that thread a little bit? Because sometimes wonder if folks don’t really understand all of the difference and there’s so many different ways that these software vendors charge, you know, some take a percentage of the transaction and don’t charge you a monthly fee, sometimes it’s just a monthly fee. Can you maybe give an overview of the landscape there?

Chris: Yeah. Yeah. When you’re really looking at online fundraising softwares, there’s several different types. And so you have some that have the monthly fee model and that that might ensure that they’re taking less of a percentage on the transactions and then you have others that are just a flat fee for a year, and that still might include like less percentage on the transaction, but it could be a little bit more and they all are very transparent about it. But what I’ve seen more of, and this is happening more with the smaller platforms where it is free to use their platform, and they have a lot of different capabilities available, but they’re just going to have a larger percentage taken on the backend on the transaction fee. And sometimes it’s even based off of just how much you’re raising overall.

So it is important that you’re paying attention to that because I think that using the no pay at the beginning type of option in the bigger percentage up, I think there is a place for it because there is, you know, if you don’t think that you’re going to have a large campaign and your currently strapped for cash, and you just want to really kind of dip your toe in and get a feel for how is your network going to respond to it, that might be a helpful model. But if you’re somebody that knows that you’re going to raise a certain amount of money and they’re taking out 10% on the backend, then that’s probably not going to be the platform that works for you.

Steven: That makes sense. Yeah. I’m seeing a lot more of those free ones where the fee is a little bit larger. Givebutter is one I’ve seen recently that’s pretty decent. So check them out too. But there’s a lot of them. Okay. Brittany, you talked about weaving things in with other campaigns and a few folks here I’ve asked about timing. One asker here, I’ll keep it anonymous. They’re having a virtual event this September and they want to do all the things you talked about. When do you think they should start? Is there a good rule of thumb for the timing on that? Is it a month away, a week away? What have you seen all work on that?

Brittany: I mean, and I think I want to hear what Chris has to say about this as well, but I think we’ve seen it be successful on both ends. Obviously, I think the absolute minimum would be a month of lead time for the campaign, because I think that you really need at least a month to gather all of those materials, get all of the different components put together. I mean, I think that’s the absolute minimum.

A lot of times when we’re talking about, for example, an end-of-year campaign, maybe something that launches on GivingTuesday, for example, and goes through the month of December, we’re going to start prepping for that probably in August or September, because we want to give ourselves plenty of time to gather all of that information, knowing that we’re going to start sending information out and start preparing our fundraisers at least a couple of weeks or a month before the campaign actually launches.

So I think if you’re under some kind of time crunch, especially if you’re trying to raise emergency funds now, I think you can make it work. But I think obviously the more time you have to collect all of those materials, the better off you’re going to be content-wise. So I guess that’s not really a specific enough answer probably that you were looking for, but I think that you kind of have to make it work with the timeframe that you have. But it’s just important to make sure that first and foremost, that all of your fundraisers are adequately prepared before they’re going out there and spreading your message for you. So you just want to have enough time for that.

Chris: And I’ll add to that a little bit. Yeah. I think it really is dependent if you’re putting together a peer-to-peer-campaign that’s going to last for a month or two months, depending on how you want to do it, I think there’s going to be a specific amount of time that you’re going to have to spend recruiting your fundraisers, right? So that might be something that could take two weeks, that could be something that takes two months depending on how many fundraisers you’re looking to have to execute your campaign. And then, yes, on a parallel track, you could be developing the content. And so it comes right back down to what kind of content do you have? Are you going to be using video testimonials or just specific testimonials and you need to compile that content? Are you going to be developing the different content pieces that are going to be graphic design collateral or are you going to be having video?

It really just comes down to what type of content you’re using, what is the amount of fundraisers that you’re using as well, and then just making that you are still giving yourself time for the campaign to actually happen. So it might be something for you where you could be starting to get started on this now and getting those fundraisers recruited and making sure that you’re developing the content and making sure that you’re developing the templates and the communication plan and then it’s just getting to a point to say, “Okay. We’re all prepared. Now we’re going to start the messaging out to the greater public” and making sure that that’s maybe going leading up to the event and that could be the actual campaign that’s taking place.

Steven: That makes sense. You made me think of something that I’ve been wondering personally over the last couple of weeks. I don’t know about you two, but I’m seeing so many birthday fundraisers on Facebook. Especially in the last week, it seems like every day I’ve had the opportunity to donate because of someone’s birthday to a racial justice organization, because of all that’s going on. And I see those, and it seems like those were things that the person who has a birthday chose and probably weren’t generated by the organization in some of the ways you’ve been recommending.

So I guess my question is if your organization gets a peer-to-peer campaign that they didn’t generate, it was just maybe some random follower or random donor that they didn’t ask to do it, what should folks do? And I’m wondering if the, you know, 300 people listening today have had that happen to them. Is there certain things they should be saying to that person? Obviously, I think, you know, thanking the person would be good, but what about those campaigns that you don’t generate that still benefit from?

Chris: Yeah. And so the one thing that I will say, and I think it goes back to what Brittany had talked about is what kind of data comes from those Facebook fundraisers. It’s not a lot of information. Sometimes you’re not getting much information on their email or their phone number or anything of that nature, but if it’s alerting your attention in some way and that money is coming to you in some way, this is the perfect type of person that could ultimately serve as a fundraiser for you. And so making sure that you’re taking a step back and say, “Oh, my gosh, this person’s already doing what I need my fundraisers to do to begin with.” So a), thanking them and making sure that they feel appreciated for the work that they’re doing and serving as an ambassador for your community, but b), continue to cultivate that relationship because you could potentially have them serve as a fundraiser in the future for you as well.

Another thing that I would actually suggest to a lot of the people is if you want to create a bit of like an ambassador kit that you just have on your website and just say, “Hey, if you want to fundraise on our behalf, here’s just some different language you can use. Here are some different images that you can use. Here’s some content that you can share.” If you can make it as easy as possible and you can ultimately say . . . if you can get that person’s email say, “Oh, my gosh, we really appreciate it. We thank you for this. In the future, if you ever want to do something on our behalf, here’s some content that you can share as well and here’s just some messaging that we like to use.”

I think it’s important that, you know, not everyone wants to fundraise on behalf of the organization, they just want to feel good, right? Because at the end of the day, that’s what so many of these fundraisers are about, is just that they feel good about the contribution that they’re making. So be mindful of that, let them have the flexibility to do it as they please, but then ultimately if you get them to become a fundraiser for you, make sure that they have some clear guidelines and some clear content and collateral that they can share on your behalf.

Steven: And it seems like if you see the campaigns happening, you could send that to them and say, “Hey, you could update your campaign right now. You don’t have to wait till the next one.”

Chris: Yeah. Absolutely.

Steven: I love that idea. So just put it on your website, maybe with like, if you have a page where you have your logo for, you know, newspapers or reporters, that kind of thing. That makes a lot of sense.

Cool. Okay. We’ve got some interesting questions coming in now. A lot of people are asking about the length of campaigns, Chris, and I know you mentioned it in one of your answers earlier, but for the two of you, have you seen a good timeframe that really works? I think I heard both of you say, you know, a month or two months, but does that just kind of vary, does it depend on how the campaign’s going?

Chris: Yeah.

Brittany: Yeah.

Steven: Button it up before it starts to look embarrassing, perhaps, or keep it going if it’s, you know, going gangbusters, what do you think?

Brittany: Yeah. I think it’s good to have a definitive end point that you’re letting people know ahead of time so that people know the timeframe that they have. I probably wouldn’t recommend like extending the length of it as you go unless there’s really good reason to do that. And I’m sure that there are exceptions to that. So I’m sure that that exists, but I would recommend being super clear about the timeframe with your fundraisers and your donors ahead of time just so that people know what they’re working with.

I think it really comes down to how much are you asking people to raise? For example, if you’re doing a cycling event or a marathon and people need to raise $2,500 to participate, you need to give them quite a bit of time to accomplish something like that. If you’re doing an end-of-year campaign or a GivingTuesday campaign or something like that, maybe more focused around a holiday, maybe you only do it for a week.

I mean, ultimately, and I’ll tell you just statistically and based on personal experience, no matter how long you give people, the majority of the donations are going to come in on that last week or even those last couple of days. So that’s just how things go. But I think like we’ve said before, being mindful of your fundraisers and their time and how much of a commitment you’re asking them to make is going to answer that question. So we’ve done successful campaigns that have ran for a couple of days. We’ve done them that have run for an entire month. It just really is depending on what you’re asking people to do and the amount that you’re trying to raise.

Chris: And the one thing I’ll add to that is it goes, and I think I’ve been a bit of a broken record on this, but it comes down to the content and the messaging you have, right? If you have enough messaging and you’re seeing their momentum happening, that you can actually do this for a month and you can have that initial email introducing the campaign and you’re having these testimonials and you’re having . . . and look at the data, right?

Like look at how people are responding to your emails. If you’re still getting a high open rate, you’re still getting a click rate, and you’re still seeing that there’s these wave of donations come from these emails, then, yeah, I think it’s important to from the beginning, say, “Hey, this is going to be a month-long campaign,” but make sure that you have the content and the messaging, and the tools to keep people’s attention for a full month, right? That’s 30 days, that’s 31 days. You don’t want to have something where you’re, you know, for the first 15 days you have all this incredible content and then it just starts to, you know, taper off. So keep that in mind as well because that’s going to be work on your end, that you have to ensure that you’re keeping them engaged throughout the duration of the campaign.

Steven: That makes sense. And echoing what Brittany said, the only time I’ve ever seen a campaign get extended past its deadline was, you know, they set a goal for like $500 and they hit it in like an hour and it was a birthday fundraiser and it was a buddy of mine, Adam, and he just said, “Well, let’s keep it going. Can we get to, you know, 1,000?” And I’ll keep this going, but otherwise, I totally agree with Brittany. I don’t know there’s a real good reason.

Okay. Well, geez, that went fast. It’s almost 3:00. I feel like I get talk to the two of you all day and have before, but just some final thoughts. Anything you want to leave? Any parting thoughts before we wrap things up here? I know we didn’t get to all of the questions, but would you be willing to take questions by email, perhaps, if I see your contact? I see you have a contact info.

Chris: Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. As you can see, my email is at the bottom. Feel free to reach out. Feel free to send me a note. And I’m a big believer. If I can answer your question or if I can help in 30 minutes or less, I’m always open to have those types of calls if needed. But I would say first and foremost, just try to shoot me a note and I’ll be happy to answer them when I get to it.

But I mean, I think the biggest thing that I hope that you guys can get away from this conversation is, a), peer-to-peer fundraising is not particularly difficult, but there is time that you have to put in and just look at it with anything that you do. If you’re creating compelling content, you have clear storytelling devices and you’ve taken the time to recruit fundraisers that are quality and that have a personal tie-in to the mission and you’ve developed the templates and the fundraising kit that they can be successful, you’ll be surprised. They’ll exceed your wildest expectations because they already knew what they were getting involved in and they were put in a position to be successful.

So those are just some of my takeaways that I think it’s just always important to be mindful of your fundraisers’ time, but also think about what do you like to receive as a person that’s receiving emails from an organization or receiving emails and social media from an individual fundraiser. That usually can be a nice guide on developing that compelling content. Brittany, you have anything?

Brittany: Yeah. I guess one thing that I would add in to close is that, especially if you’ve never done something like this before, if you’ve never used peer-to-peer, I think it’s important to stay openminded about it and to know that if it’s the first go-around for your organization, each of the different methods that you try might not work exactly the way you want them to, and just be willing to learn lessons and edit as you go and learn for the next campaign.

I think we have a lot of clients where we are working with them and we end up suggesting that they use peer-to-peer on some sort of campaign or event. And we’ve had a lot of people say, “Oh, we tried that one time, you know, three years ago and it didn’t hit the goal that we set out, and so we just gave up on that.” I think that there’s a lot of lessons to be learned and that a lot of organizations, especially if you have never done this before, your community and your network might just not be used to it and might not get it right on the first go-around. So I think it’s important to not just completely throw away these methods and say that that will never work for us. I think that it’s important to be open-minded and to just continue to try new things and maybe start small and work your way up.

Steven: I love it. This was fun. Brittany, Chris, thanks for doing this. We’ve planned this for a little while and it was good to hear a voice, finally, after emailing about this session for so long. So thanks for taking the time. It was fun.

Brittany: Yeah. Thank you so much for having us and thank you to everybody for joining. We hope that you were able to get some value out of this, and especially now our organizations are doing so much amazing work and much needed work. So it’s important for us to be able to help you in any way that we can.

Steven: Thank you for guys [inaudible 00:59:40]. And you all are awesome. It was nice to see a full room. I know you’re probably pretty busy right now but if you are free next week, we got some good webinars coming up. We’re going to get back onto our normal Thursday schedule. So just go to the Bloomerang website and click Resources, you’ll see our webinar schedule. Got some cool sessions coming up for sure. And definitely reach out to Chris and Brittany over at CGC. They are obviously a wealth of knowledge.

So we will call it a day there. Look for an email from me with the recording and the slides and we will we’ll get all that good stuff to you. So thanks again for joining us. Have a good rest of your Thursday, have a safe and healthy weekend. And we’ll talk to you again soon. Bye now.

Chris: Bye.

Brittany: Thank you.

Kristen Hay

Kristen Hay

Marketing Manager at Bloomerang
Kristen Hay is the Marketing Manager at Bloomerang. She also serves as the Director of Communications for PRSA’s Hoosier chapter.
Kristen Hay