by Mark Becker, Founding Partner, Cathexis Partners

Peer-to-peer fundraising is all about engaging supporters to raise funds from their networks on your nonprofit’s behalf.  And, there’s nothing like it for extending your fundraising reach.

No matter the size of your organization or the type of campaign your organization takes on, some thoughtful preparation will help ensure your success. Here are six steps to help you plan your next peer-to-peer fundraising campaign:

Do Some Research

Sign up for another organization’s p2p campaign and take notes from the perspective of a volunteer fundraiser. Some things to pay attention to:

  • How easy is it to sign up as a participant?
  • What tools does the organization provide you?
  • What kind of coaching and support does the organization give you?
  • What do you like/dislike about the process of fundraising for the organization?

Identify Your Goals

Think about what you want to achieve and how much money your campaign will raise. Here are some considerations:

  • Non-financial goals—List your top supporters who you think would be likely to participate in your campaign. Multiply that amount by the number of participants you think they can recruit, and then multiply the resulting number by the number of participants those participants likely can recruit. This number will be your overall participant goal. Next, think through other goals such as number of new donors.
  • Financial goals—Add up the following to estimate how much your campaign will raise:
    • If you plan to offer sponsorship opportunities, think about how many sponsors you likely can secure at various levels of support.
    • Determine if you want to require a registration fee, and if so, how much. Then, use your number of estimated participants to calculate your estimated total registration revenue.
    • Consider how much you think each of your participant groups will raise. Multiply that amount times the total participants to set a fundraising revenue goal.

Determine Your Budget

Think through the costs for your campaign. Some things to consider:

  • Staff time for campaign strategy; copywriting; participant support; fundraiser coaching; and event, website, and database management.
  • Marketing costs for graphic design, advertising, printing of flyers, and postage for direct mail.
  • Cost of software that allows fundraisers to create their own fundraising pages, send emails to friends and family, use social media to share their page, and accept donations online.
  • Event costs if your campaign is related to a physical event.

Decide on the Format

Your goals and budget should help drive your campaign format, and the format of your campaign may require you to adjust your goals and budget. Here are some campaign types to consider:

  • Proprietary physical events—nonprofit-hosted events, such as walks or rides, that take place on a certain date. Participants sometimes pay a fee to sign up and also raise additional funds once registered.
  • Challenge/endurance/destination events—events that are hosted by an entity other than a nonprofit (like the Chicago Marathon), and often have multiple beneficiaries. Participants can register to participate and fundraise on behalf of your nonprofit.
  • Virtual campaigns—campaigns organized by a nonprofit, without a physical event. With these campaigns, the organization provides an online environment for participants to set up their own fundraising page in support of a campaign created by the nonprofit.
  • Independent fundraising/DIY campaigns—allow participants to host their own events and invite friends and family to the events to raise funds for a specific campaign for your organization.

Build a Team

You’ll need people from across your organization to support various aspects of the campaign. Some key roles to consider:

  • Campaign leader to oversee the campaign.
  • Marketing manager to provide writing, graphic design, promotional, and PR help.
  • IT representative to help with any software platform implementation and integration with other systems.
  • Finance manager to ensure appropriate donation processes are in place.
  • Fundraising manager to help participants fundraise.

Select a Peer-to-Peer Software Platform

Your supporters need a way to create online fundraising pages, send emails to friends and family, use social media, and accept donations online. And, you need to track campaign performance and communicate with fundraisers. So, you’ll need the right software platform in place. This can be a bit of a project in itself, so here are some tips for how to choose a peer-to-peer fundraising platform.

Planning is just the beginning of successful peer-to-peer fundraising. Read The Nonprofit’s Guide to Peer-to-Peer Fundraising for more tips on planning, building, running, and wrapping up a successful campaign.

Mark Becker, Cathexis PartnersMark is Founding Partner at Cathexis Partners. For more than a decade, Mark has used his deep experience with CRM and CMS software for nonprofits to help organizations get the most from their existing technology tools, implement new technology to address gaps, and find the best overall approach to using technology to support their missions.