According to the Digital Giving Index, 18% of all digital donations now come from peer-to-peer giving campaigns. Social media, mobile devices, and other technologies have made it easier than ever for individuals to ask their peers for donations on behalf of a nonprofit organization that they support.
In fact, in a study published by the Stanford Social Innovation Review, over 50% of the respondents agreed that social networks allow them to support causes more easily.
Since social media is one of the most common ways that we communicate with friends, family, and other people in our networks, it's wise to utilize it in your peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns.
However, managing successful peer-to-peer campaigns through social media takes more than just posting a link. To make the most out of their appeals and gain the support of their peers, both fundraisers and nonprofits alike need a strategic approach.
Here are 15 tips for optimizing your peer-to-peer social media outreach:
- Establish a clear goal and call to action.
- Brand your campaign.
- Choose the right sites.
- Provide a toolkit.
- Share your story.
- Always include the link to your personal donation page.
- Segment your network.
- Highlight milestones.
- Recognize supporters.
- Mix up your posts.
- Take a multimedia approach.
- Promote an event.
- Team up with business sponsors.
- Be interactive.
- Compound social media efforts with others.
Whether you're the organization hosting the campaign or the fundraiser reaching out to your peers, read on to learn how these tips can help you optimize your peer-to-peer fundraising efforts.
People are much more likely to donate to your cause if they know exactly where their money is going and what they need to do to get it to you. Plus, a clear goal will help you take the right approach to your campaign.
Before you start posting, make sure you have an answer to the following questions:
- What is my goal?
- How much money do I want to raise before the end of the campaign?
- What do I need to request from supporters to help me reach this goal?
- Do I also want my supporters to perform another action alongside their donations (e.g. signing a petition to change a piece of legislation related to the fundraiser's cause)?
- What will be the call to action that prompts supporters to contribute?
For fundraisers, the goal simply defines the extent of your personal efforts. For the nonprofit organizing the fundraiser, the goal encompasses the efforts of all of the supporters fundraising on your behalf.
If they're passionate about your cause, supporters will want to donate. Make it easier for them by providing a clear goal and call to action.
Brands aren't just for businesses anymore.
Establishing a brand can do wonders for your campaign.
Not only does it help you tell your story, but it also frames your efforts in a compelling way that makes them more memorable for contributors and more easily shareable for fundraisers.
One of the most valuable ways to establish your brand on social media is by creating a hashtag. It's a trendy identifier that people can include when posting about your campaign, so keep it short and catchy.
Your hashtag can simply be the name of your campaign, or you can brainstorm a few slogans.
If you also choose to create logos and images for your campaign, make sure to include your hashtag in each. You want to display it everywhere possible.
If it starts trending, your #fundraising is sure to be a success!
Like social media sites, each organization and fundraiser has a unique set of strengths.
Although you want your efforts to be as pervasive as possible, it can be more strategic to establish a thoughtful, concentrated effort on two or three sites than it is to stretch your efforts across four or five platforms.
For example, if you're great at graphic design, focus your attentions on more visual social media sites like Instagram or Pinterest. If catchy taglines are your thing, Twitter's probably the one for you.
Keeping your efforts focused will make it much easier for you to stay on top of your campaign and will ensure that your efforts never become too shallow.
But never fear: just because you can't do it all doesn't mean your campaign can't.
The power of a peer-to-peer is that you have a whole network of fundraisers with a variety of skill sets on your side, so all of your social media bases should be covered.
With an effort that's as widespread as a peer-to-peer, it's easy for important information to get lost in translation.
Think of it like a game of telephone, only digital and with a much more complicated message to convey. Each time your message is passed on from person to person, it will change slightly.
If you're the nonprofit hosting the campaign, there's no way to have complete control over how fundraisers are presenting your cause, goal, and message, or to make sure that they're all presenting it in the same way.
Besides, the beauty of peer-to-peer is that people are sharing your cause in a personally meaningful way.
Although you don't want to hamper the creativity of your peer-to-peer fundraisers, you do want to present a somewhat unified front so that donors will never be confused about what you're trying to do.
If you're the nonprofit, organize your fundraisers' peer-to-peer strategies by providing them with a toolkit at the beginning of the campaign.
Your peer-to-peer toolkit can include:
- Information about your organization and cause.
- Campaign goals and strategies.
- A suggested posting calendar.
- Branded photos and videos.
- Pre-written copy.
- And more!
With a toolkit, your fundraisers will be individual pages in the same chapter.
If you're a fundraiser, the reason you're participating in a peer-to-peer campaign is because you're passionate about the cause.
Share this passion with your followers by telling a story. The story can be a personal one or one that's simply about making a difference for an important cause. All that matters is that you're illustrating for potential donors your personal connection to an organization.
If you're the organization running the fundraising effort, sharing your story can help you motivate contributors to participate in the first place. If they understand why this cause is so important to you and how you're making a difference, they're more likely to help.
Sharing your own experiences will make both individual peer-to-peer efforts and the overall campaign more heartfelt and authentic.
Plus, it's a key driver in engaging peers and turning that engagement into action.
One peer-to-peer fundraiser did this so well that he became a bit of an Internet celebrity...and at only 10 years old!
After Jack’s brothers received care at the Sick Kids Hospital in Edinburgh, he wanted to repay the organization for taking care of his siblings. To start fundraising on behalf of the charity, he began by sharing his story and motivation for raising funds on his website.
In the end, telling his story literally paid off. Jack touched many hearts and ended up raising over $100,000 in donations for the hospital. (Learn more about his campaign here.)
The goal of your peer-to-peer fundraising efforts, in the end, is to raise funds.
If you're the organization running the peer-to-peer campaign, you can make collecting funds simpler by giving each of your fundraisers the opportunity to design a personalized donation page.
Provide fundraisers with the information they need to build their pages at the beginning, so they can include the link in all of their posts.
If you're a fundraiser, it's essential to include a link to your customized donation page in all of your posts so viewers have a quick, easy, and obvious way to donate.
Leaving it out could frustrate potential donors and keep them from giving altogether. Start incorporating it from the start so you don't miss out on any contributions.
When you post images, profile pictures, infographics, or other visual content, make sure to include the URL there, too. You want to display it everywhere possible so people can donate whenever the impulse strikes.
Your network isn't just one identical whole. Everyone has networks within their networks.
Throughout your life, you've been culling people from different places, each with different personalities and skills, to create one big, diverse collective.
That means, in some cases, the only thing two of your network members share is their relationship to you.
Keep this in mind as you're executing your fundraising efforts. You can target your supporters more effectively by making different appeals to separate groups based on their specific interests and concerns.
Most social media pages let you segment your friends into lists, so it's easy to share certain information with some lists and different information with others.
With more thoughtful efforts, Joe from work, Sarah from your school days, Tiffany from book club, and Mark from your recreational soccer league are all bound to become valuable contributors.
When running a peer-to-peer campaign, keeping track of your progress is crucial. This goes for both individual fundraisers and the organization.
Creating and tracking milestones will help you stay motivated and quantify your progress so you can give your network updates as you go.
They want to know how their contributions are helping you achieve your goals, so keep them posted!
When you’re meeting or exceeding milestones, make sure to thank your peers for their contributions. If you're falling behind, don't be afraid to ask them for help.
Heifer International's peer-to-peer fundraisers highlight milestones in their campaigns extremely effectively.
On their online donation pages, they have a donation goal bar that shows the overall fundraising goal as well as the amount raised so far.
Consider a fundraising thermometer for your page, too, so it's easy for supporters to visualize your progress.
Everyone loves their fifteen minutes of fame. Engage with supporters by publicly recognizing them in a post.
You can tag contributors and write a brief blurb about how they contributed to your cause in hopes that the rest of your network will be inspired to give.
Plus, even if they'll never admit it, your donors will appreciate being thanked for their good deeds and knowing that they don't go unnoticed.
Team Fox, the grassroots fundraising branch of Michael J. Fox’s nonprofit for Parkinson’s research, is a great example of an organization that recognizes the importance of acknowledging fundraisers and donors.
The site praises top donors on the website and each fundraiser's personal donation page. The organization is so proud of their donors that they're featured on the homepage!
If you're a fundraiser, keep in mind that running a peer-to-peer giving campaign is just like posting about any other topic on social media. You don't want to sound like a broken record.
When it comes to your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, you shouldn't continuously ask your peers for donations. Space apart your posts so that you won’t annoy or bore your network, which could deter potential donors and limit your reach.
Break up appeal posts with news about your progress and shout outs to the donors who are helping you reach your goals.
Furthermore, you don’t have to only post about the P2P campaign you're running. They are your personal social networking pages, so it’s okay to share unrelated posts.
Using multiple media alongside text in your posts is another way to mix things up and keep your campaign interesting.
With more technology available now than ever before, you have a variety of platforms and resources at your fingertips, so the creative possibilities are practically endless!
You can share posts including many different media that will appeal to supporters and keep them engaged, including:
- Photos, images, and graphics.
- Sound clips.
Plus, in an age of information overload, including multiple media in your posts means they're more likely to catch scrollers' eyes and get them to read the information about your campaign in the first place.
For example, take visual content. Recent studies have shown that browsers are 80% more likely to read a piece of content if it features a colored image.
Couple that with the fact that 52% of marketing professionals consider video to be the type of media with the highest ROI, and you know multimedia posts are at least worth a try!
Pairing digital peer-to-peer campaigns with fundraising events is a successful tactic for many nonprofit organizations.
If you're the nonprofit putting on the peer-to-peer fundraising effort, increase the likelihood that volunteers and their peers will get involved by scheduling an event to coincide with your digital peer-to-peer efforts.
Make sure to include event information, photos, and videos in your social media posts.
Checkpoint, a veteran's resource center, did this by launching a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign ahead of their "Crucible Hike: The Extreme Hike to Help Veterans."
During the fundraiser, hikers formed fundraising teams and competed with one another to see who could raise the most money.
In this case, the opportunity to do something they were passionate about motivated more hikers to participate and more peers to give, because they could be more involved in fundraisers' progress and award fundraisers' accomplishments.
If you have sponsors, you already have a built-in supporter base. Don't be shy about asking them to help you bring attention to your peer-to-peer campaign.
See if sponsors will share information about your campaign on their social media pages.
Make sure they also include a link where people can click to donate. In return, share their special promotions or simply recognize them in a post that highlights their brand and contributions.
If you're creating campaign-branded images, you can also include their logos as a way to say thanks. The additional attention will be a mutual win-win.
You can also make appeals to sponsors asking them to donate to your cause.
If you don't have the support of sponsors yet, see if you can form some partnerships with local businesses in your area. The more supporters on your side, the better.
Social media is a two way street.
Using a social network isn't just about sharing your own posts. It's about connecting with your network and community.
As an organization or individual that's asking your peers to take interest in your cause, you should return the favor by showing your community you're interested in them, too.
Interact with your network by sharing others' posts.
If you're an organization, you can share interesting news articles that relate to your cause or help other organizations promote important events or accomplishments by sharing their posts.
If you're a fundraiser, you can do this on a smaller scale by sharing your friends posts about their pursuits and achievements. For example, if one of your friends were hosting a professional networking event, you could share the details with your followers.
If you show your peers that you're their supporter, they're more likely to help you when you reach out and share your posts in return.
It pays to give back.
Fundraisers should integrate both online and offline channels in order to expand their reach as far as possible and optimize their success.
Peer-to-peer fundraising software has made it easier for nonprofits and supporters to utilize multiple tools in their campaigns, such as :
- Donation pages
- Social media
- Direct mail
- And many more!
For instance, supporters can tease short glimpses of the most important information about their cause in a social media post and then link to a donation page that has more details to keep people engaged for longer.
They can also include links to social media, donation pages, videos, and other pertinent information in emails, prompting viewers to take action.
Social media has become one of the primary ways that we communicate with each other on a regular basis. Using it to ask peers for their support is one of the best channels for nonprofits to raise awareness and funds for their cause.
However, like any other nonprofit fundraising strategy, to work it needs to be just that: strategic.
The most important thing when it comes to peer-to-peer is to keep your campaign heartfelt. If you let your personality shine through, your social media efforts are sure to bring excellent results.