At the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society, peer-to-peer fundraising has become an essential piece of their development, engagement and outreach strategy.
Catherine Olteanu, Director of Development, explained that last year, the local animal services organization raised $26,000 in conjunction with the 2011 Pittsburgh Marathon from peer-to-peer fundraising alone. As of the first week of March 2012, the Western PA Humane Society has already surpassed last year's total and is “set to nearly double 2011's numbers, which is very exciting.”
How? Catherine contributes this success to peer-to-peer fundraising's capabilities of extending her reach, allowing constituents to share their stories and setting fundraising goals among runners. You can't, however, always ask people for money. Catherine explains that sometimes, “You just have to engage. Peer-to-peer fundraising gives us a chance to do that. The funds we that we invest in the technology is well worth it.”
So what is peer-to-peer fundraising? Also called social fundraising, it’s the practice (and art) of fundraising via the use of social, web-based tools that allow you to channel the passion that your supporters already have for your mission into activities that raise more funds. Peer-to-peer campaigns give your supporters the ability to create their own personal fundraising site to tap into their networks, which lets you keep better track of their activities. With social fundraising, you enable team members and participants to set personal fundraising goals - usually corresponding with an organized event (walks, races, thons, and contests) - and then reach out to their network of family and friends to ask for donations on behalf of your organization.
You may be wondering - does it work? The 2011 Millennial Donor survey revealed that 62% of Millennials learn about nonprofits through email messages, while 56% hear updates about charitable organizations from their friends. When it comes to giving, 57% donated as a result of a personal request. Peer-to-peer fundraisers take advantage of these numbers by providing a simple, easy-to-navigate system for supporters and their friends to learn about, promote and support their missions.
Below are several tips from a technological perspective for launching and promoting a successful peer-to-peer campaign for your organization:
- Integrate your peer-to-peer fundraising tools with social communication platforms. Allow your fundraisers to connect their personal pages to their social media accounts to broadcast fundraising progress, announcements and goals.
- Provide personalization options for fundraisers' individual fundraising sites. According to research, personalized pages raise 6x more funds than offline or non-personalized pages.
- Educate your fundraisers with tips and advice for updating content on their personal pages, optimizing their communication and utilizing the entire online fundraising package.
- Online donors often decide to support a cause or event spontaneously. If not acted on immediately, that decision to donate may be forgotten. Your peer-to-peer fundraising technology and personal websites need to provide donors a way to contribute through a clear and secure donation page just a click away.
- Encourage media-rich personalized pages by providing the capabilities for fundraisers to upload images, video, social communication integration and stories. Through their sites, each supporter should be able to set a personal and team fundraising goal to keep donors motivated and energized. “Fundraising thermometers” are great visual widgets to display your fundraising progress and needs.
- Individual stories are one of the most effective aspects of social fundraising, so encourage your fundraisers to share why they decided to get involved with your cause. Peer-to-peer fundraisers know the people they’re asking, so take advantage of that connection and make it personal.
- Make sure your peer fundraisers update their networks on their progress, consistently thank them for their support and continue to encourage their friends and family to support your organization.
Technology is evolving and changing the world of fundraising and development. The challenge is to solidify potential donors and encourage current constituents to continue their support. Peer-to-peer campaigns are a great way to create viral social outreach and make your constituents feel like a valued part of your cause.
If you are in the market for fundraising and donor management software that includes tools for social fundraising, check out DonorPro. DonorPro is affordable, easy-to use, and comes highly recommended by nonprofits worldwide. Call them toll free at 866-935-8281 or visit them online at www.towercare.com/content/product-tours.