Peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising has become critical to the success of many nonprofits, large and small. Having a good P2P platform on your side can help your constituents easily achieve their fundraising goals and allow you build stronger connections with those supporters. But how do you weed through all of the details to choose the right P2P platform for your organization?

Here are the five criteria your organization should consider when evaluating any P2P platform:

  1. Participant Engagement
  2. Donor Engagement
  3. CRM Integration
  4. Email Communications
  5. Reporting and Admin Support

Participant Engagement

To get, and keep, participants involved in your mission, how do you plan to engage and serve your supporters in their fundraising?

A good P2P platform should make the process smooth and seamless, and that’s where responsive design comes in. It creates an easy user experience across devices, from desktop to tablet to smartphone, for participants who are increasingly managing fundraising on the go. And that means a platform’s social media integration is also crucial to engagement success. Is it easy to use and how does it tie in with the platform’s fundraising tools? What tools does the platform have for you to conduct your event or other fundraising goals? (i.e. Participant Center)

And look at how long it takes to register. Can a person register in just one or two steps? If the process is too long, it could turn off a potential participant right at the start.

Donor Engagement

How well does the platform treat donors? Is it easy for donors to search for events and participants, and to manage contributions? As with participant engagement, this should be responsive. Each year more and more donations are being made on mobile devices; being responsive, keeps you relevant.

Does the donor receive automated responses such as a tax receipt or thanks yous? Is there a simple way to send e-cards and make dedications in honor of friends and loved ones?

The platform should also offer employer matching gift integration with tools such as Donate Double or Double the Donation that help donors quickly determine their company’s matching gift policy and provide access to those guidelines and forms.

What is the percentage of transaction fees your organization will pay? Fees are a cost of doing business, but comparing different platforms’ fee structures could save money and funnel more fundraising dollars to your organization.

CRM Integration

What kind of customer relationship management (CRM) integration does a platform offer? Good CRM integration should provide your organization with streamlined data through real-time sync, more reliable audience segmentation, improved relationship building thanks to more organized and directed communications and easier moves management in cultivating donors.

Reporting and Admin Support

What level of reporting and administrative support does your organization need? Who requires administrative access to the platform and do you need to differentiate between full and partial admin access?

Look at whether the platform offers unlimited web hosting. It should also provide comprehensive customer service support for your organization. On the reporting side, can you obtain custom reports at different levels, such as global, event, or campaign?

Email Communication

Does the platform deliver great email communications to your participants? If there is no formal internal email system, check to see if the platform integrates with an email program like Constant Contact or Mail Chimp.

Consider the following capabilities in your evaluation:

  • How easy is it to set triggered emails (based on an action or days) or coaching emails?
  • What tracking and reporting tools are offered?
  • Is it easy to set up conditionals and other personalization?
  • Can you upload your organization’s stationery?
  • How does the email program work with the CRM system?

There is no perfect path to the ideal platform, but if you understand what’s most important to your organization, by using the five areas outlined above, the pathway should become that much clearer.