Platforms like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo have elevated crowdfunding to mainstream status. It’s become a bit of a buzzword, but the fact is that it is a great way to raise money. Consumers are highly motivated to financially support projects, new products, and causes they care about. On top of that, researchers at Northwestern University found that the motivations for giving via crowdfunding are often related to the interpersonal connections between the giver and the requester – and this largely contributes to why the paradigm works so well.
Crowdfunding for Good
This translates to good news for nonprofits, as a very specific form of crowdfunding known as peer-to-peer fundraising continues to gain traction. Peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising takes advantage of your current supporters’ passion for your cause as they tap into their own networks to help raise funds and introduce your organization to new supporters. In other words, it empowers your supporters to ask for donations for you. And it works so well because of the aforementioned personal connections – it provides inherent social proof that your cause is worth attention.
But while P2P provides a direct path to new donors and more funds, it requires plenty of effort, planning, and strategic execution to maximize results.
Making the Most of Passionate Peers
Here are the top five ways to get your P2P efforts in shape for success.
- Use templates to ensure brand consistency
One of the biggest challenges when it comes to peer-to-peer campaigns lies in how your brand is presented. Your supporters love your cause and they want to share your mission with their friends, but are they getting your messaging right? Are they representing your brand the same way you would? Whether team based or individual campaigns, templates are the best way to help ensure brand consistency. Give your advocates pre-filled pages or offer suggested verbiage they can copy and paste in their personal appeals. For team campaigns, help the team leaders be even more effective with engaging messaging specific to getting the rest of the participants revved up and motivated.
- Offer personalized fundraising pages
Since the power of peer-to-peer lies in the emotional draw of direct relationships, enabling your users to post their own photos, videos, goal statements and so on helps deepen the connection between your advocates and your cause. Give them a platform to show their friends exactly what makes your cause is important to them. Let them tell their personal story – their “why” is what will resonate with their peers. Donors love to share images of their volunteer work, their completion of a race they trained so hard for, and the smiling faces of the people they’ve helped through your organization. An impactful story plus a good cause, combined with a personal relationship equals ultimate fundraising power.
- Make it shareable
Another reason for the success of crowdfunding is the proliferation of social media. Almost no one attempts to solicit interest from their peers without using social channels. Your advocates are going to utilize their online networks so be sure your campaign pages include buttons to easily post to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other relevant channels. They should be able to share with a click while keeping your brand identity intact. Direct this offsite traffic back to your own site where new donors can learn more and post their donation. You can even have these links lead visitors to a page specifically for friends of supporters.
- Use your analytics
When shopping for a peer-to-peer platform solution, be sure you will have a dashboard and integrated back office that gives insight into how your advocates and their peers are doing. On average, each of your advocates will bring in about seven donors and more than $500 for your organization. How can you maximize your results? Monitor your analytics and note which donors are having the most success. Which of your channels are performing best? A/B test your suggested verbiage, button placements, and call to action to see how you could be guiding your advocates to be most effective with their appeals. Analytics and testing provide valuable insights that help you determine the best strategies for fully empowering your supporters.
- Foster the relationships with your newfound friends
Your active donors have done the work for you and now you’ve got a new pool of supporters who are willing to get behind your cause. That sure was easy! Now you can sit back and relax, right? Not so fast. These new relationships need special care. Your P2P campaigns should always include a follow up plan for engaging new donors. Give them a warm welcome and show them early on the impact that their donation will have. While their initial give may have been more related to the connection they have with the requester, this is your opportunity to create an emotional connection to your cause. One time gives are nice, but ultimately you’re looking to gain long term relationships with these new donors.
Peer-to-Peer with a Purpose
Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising continue to gain momentum. In fact, collectively, revenues from the 30 largest peer-to-peer fundraising programs totaled $1.57 billion in 2015 — up a modest 9.8 percent over the $1.44 billion reported by these groups in 2006. It’s a no-brainer that every nonprofit should be tapping into this valuable tool to reach new donors and raise more money. Your supporters want to tell their friends and family about their philanthropic endeavors and they want to help their favorite organizations do more good. Give them solid tools that are easy to use and they’ll be your most powerful fundraising asset!
Watch our webinar: Introducing Peer-to-Peer Fundraising.
Speakers: Mike Lamb & Amanda Pitre