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Why Peer-to-Peer Campaigns Work for Any Size Advocacy Group

by Cary Schwartz

If your organization is involved in advocacy, you know that two critical components of a successful advocacy campaign are spreading awareness of an important issue and raising the funds necessary to maximize your efforts. You can easily combine these steps by adding peer-to-peer fundraising to your advocacy work.

When you launch a peer-to-peer fundraiser, you’ll ask your supporters to reach out to their friends and family to collect donations for your cause. Then, they’ll share individual fundraising pages that potential donors can use to learn more about the issue and contribute directly to your organization.

A common misconception about peer-to-peer fundraising is that it only works for certain-sized nonprofits and advocacy groups that already have a manageable number of volunteers they can recruit. Smaller organizations may be unsure if they have enough existing supporters to make the peer-to-peer model work, while very large organizations might feel overwhelmed at the thought of managing a campaign involving thousands of participants.

In reality, peer-to-peer fundraising is effective for advocacy organizations of all sizes, and here are a few reasons why:

  • Peer-to-Peer Campaigns Are Easy to Start
  • They Expand Your Organization’s Reach
  • You Can Pair Your Campaign With a Fundraising Event
  • Peer-to-Peer Fundraisers Bring the Community Together

Whether your organization is focused on solving widespread problems and strengthening community advocacy efforts, you can benefit from a strategically planned peer-to-peer fundraiser. All you need is a committed group of supporters and the right tools to power your campaign. Let’s dive in!

Peer-to-Peer Campaigns Are Easy to Start

Because peer-to-peer campaigns rely on your advocacy group’s supporters to raise funds, the process is fairly simple and streamlined on your end. Your organization creates the overarching campaign, and your supporters handle setting up and sharing their individual pages from there.

Although your supporters do the actual work of raising funds, your organization will be most successful if you stay involved in the campaign in a few ways, including:

  • Goal-setting. According to NXUnite, the first step to start any fundraiser is to set attainable goals. This is especially important in peer-to-peer campaigns to motivate your supporters to reach as many people and raise as much money as possible.
  • Marketing. Encourage your supporters to participate in your peer-to-peer fundraiser by leveraging all of the communication tools available to your organization, such as your website, email marketing platform, and social media profiles. Remember to include clear instructions for how to sign up as a participant and share individual fundraising pages.
  • Tracking results. Collect data on marketing conversions and fundraising totals throughout the fundraiser to help you analyze what went well and where you could improve your strategy for future peer-to-peer campaigns. Also, keep participants’ and donors’ contact information organized so you can easily send thank-you messages.

To simplify creating a customized campaign and tracking results, consider investing in specialized tools. Grassroots Unwired’s guide to peer-to-peer fundraising software explains that the best software solutions easily accommodate the unique needs of organizations of various sizes and can scale alongside your advocacy group.</br

They Expand Your Organization’s Reach

In today’s world, the key to spreading awareness of important issues is for your advocacy group to have a strong digital presence. Because people spend so much time on their computers and smartphones, they’re more likely to learn about your cause if you meet them where they are—online. Plus, research shows that online fundraising is on the rise, growing by 23% in 2021 alone.

Due to their digital nature, peer-to-peer campaigns help expand your educational and fundraising reach, no matter how large or small your organization is. In fact, smaller advocacy groups especially stand to benefit because peer-to-peer fundraising allows your supporters to introduce your organization to a wider audience who you can then continue connecting with over time.

For advocacy groups that already have a large audience, expanding your reach through peer-to-peer fundraising helps build trust in your organization. If a potential donor’s friend or family member sends a personalized message with a link to a fundraising page that includes your organization’s logo and mission statement, the potential donor is more likely to believe your group is legitimate and worth contributing to.

You Can Pair Your Campaign With a Fundraising Event

Standalone events are a tried-and-true fundraising strategy for many organizations. However, adding a peer-to-peer fundraising component to your event maximizes your potential fundraising revenue. Each event participant will raise funds, bringing in additional revenue on top of registration fees, merchandise purchases, and other donations. Plus, if someone chooses not to attend your event, they can still be involved by donating to support a friend or family member who participates.

One type of event that organizations often pair with a peer-to-peer campaign is the a-thon style event. These events require participants to do a specific activity, and the peer-to-peer donations they collect correspond to how much or how long they can do that activity.

You can choose nearly any activity for participants to do at your a-thon style event, but some common ones include:

  • Walking
  • Running
  • Dancing
  • Bowling
  • Reading
  • Swimming
  • Biking

A-thon style events are often scalable based on your organization’s capabilities. To use bikeathon events as an example, smaller organizations could ask participants to ride as many laps as they can around one loop trail, while larger organizations might offer multiple road races of varying lengths and difficulties. You could also add a peer-to-peer component to a rally or other event your advocacy group already hosts to make maximizing your donations and boosting engagement with your cause even easier.

Peer-to-Peer Fundraisers Bring the Community Together

Part of the popularity of both fundraising events and peer-to-peer campaigns is that they bring communities together around a good cause. This common connection is why the two types of fundraisers work so well together—and it’s what advocacy is all about.

Whether they’re part of an event or launched on their own, peer-to-peer fundraisers prompt supporters to become ambassadors for your cause. Participants not only bring new donors into the fold but also deepen their own involvement with your organization, allowing them to become better advocates and stay engaged as your advocacy group grows and evolves over time.

From the largest, best-established organizations to those just starting to plan for growth, any advocacy group can empower its existing supporters and bring in new advocates through peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns. Make sure to invest in the right resources and provide support for participants so they can quickly set up their fundraising pages, work through any difficulties that may arise, and become the best possible advocates for your cause.

Learn more about how Charity Dynamics can help increase your outreach and fundraising potential