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Expand your Reach with Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Word of mouth. When it’s positive, it’s the most powerful type of promotion out there. This is why peer-to-peer fundraising is so popular. It leverages your supporters to fundraise on your organization’s behalf. It resonates with potential donors because participants can tell – in their own words – why they care about your cause. They then go on to inspire friends, family and colleagues to care too. It’s an ideal way to reach new audiences and secure new donors. In addition to tapping into your current supporters’ networks of friends, peer-to-peer fundraising allows your member or donor base to become advocates who will spread the word and share your mission along the way. 

The Mechanics

Peer-to-peer fundraising involves setting up a branded, online fundraising site to serve as a hub for fundraising activity. This central platform is where your fundraisers and supporters can leverage methods — which you provide via your fundraising toolkit — to tell their story and how their story connects with your organization’s mission. This is also the place where everyone keeps track of overall progress and fundraisers can form teams and work collaboratively.

Your peer-to-peer fundraising effort may focus on a signature branded event like a race, walk or golf tournament. But if hosting a big event isn’t feasible, you can also build a “do-it-yourself” model where individuals dedicate their birthdays or engage in other creative activities to raise money for your organization.  

Here are some best practices for peer-to-peer fundraising:

Tell a personal story – Have a fundraiser tell a moving personal story to help encourage donations.

Set fundraising goal/progress – Have the participant set a goal that they — and their network — can work towards. 

Feature a compelling image – Include an image of the person they are fundraising in honor of, or a picture of the fundraiser themselves.

Shine the spotlight on donors – Make the donors heroes too. Include an area where they can see their own donation.

Achievement milestones – Reward participants on their individual page for following steps from your toolkit. Also, congratulate them personally via an email or social media shout-out. 

Social sharing – Make the page easy to share via social platforms. 

Provide a toolkit – Include sample social media posts, email and webpage content for participants to reach out to family and friends for support, and thank you notes that fundraisers can send to their donors.

One of our clients, Disabled American Veterans (DAV) launched a peer-to-peer fundraising program in 2013 with a 5K race where participants could run, walk, roll or ride their motorcycle in honor of injured veterans. Veterans received t-shirts customized with their branch of service, participants wrote on their race bibs the name(s) of veterans they were honoring and teams that raised the most money were named on the website. Over the past three years, the number of participants has grown and the program expanded to a total of three cities in 2015, and will add two more locations in 2016. In 2015 alone, DAV had more than 5,600 participants raise more than $270,000.

Peer-to-peer fundraising is an investment in time, money and resources, but the results can be exponential. Tell us how you feel about the power of peer-to-peer fundraising via CDR’s Facebook or LinkedIn page.



Dawn Iype

Associate Director of Digital Media