What Is Peer-to-Peer Fundraising?

Chances are good you’re familiar with fundraising. Maybe you sold candy bars to help raise funds for your school. It could have been magazine subscriptions, wrapping paper – almost anything, really.

What these programs all had in common was that you had to get out there, pound the pavement, sell (or seek donations), track the money given, record and report personal information (the name, address, phone number, quantity purchased, etc.) for every buyer, and more.

There’s a better way to fundraise today. Peer-to-peer fundraising, usually abbreviated as P2P fundraising, is a breath of fresh air for anyone trying to raise funds for a cause.

What Is Peer-to-Peer Fundraising?

Peer-to-peer fundraising is a simple yet profound way to make it easier to generate money for your cause. It takes the concept of crowdfunding, adds additional tiers, and uses it to generate revenue for charities, nonprofits, and other causes and organizations. It’s actually pretty flexible, although it always involves peers (friends, coworkers, family members, etc.) reaching out to one another on behalf of an organization or cause.

Believe it or not, this isn’t a new concept. If you’ve ever sponsored someone to run or walk a mile (or been sponsored to do so), then you’ve participated in peer-to-peer fundraising and probably didn’t even realize it!

Tim Unselfie

Here’s an example:

Cause A wants to raise funds for an important initiative. Instead of having employees go out on their own and raise funds, the organization decides to use peer-to-peer fundraising. In this situation, the organization allows donors and advocates to set up fundraising web pages and raise money on its behalf. This simplifies the process, takes the burden off the cause/organization, and also helps to reach potential donors who would otherwise be inaccessible.

How It Works

Peer-to-peer fundraising can sound complicated, but it’s actually quite simple. We’ll use Side-Out’s system as an example. To create a campaign, all you need to do is provide some basic information. For instance, you’ll need to choose your campaign type, specify your location, and then choose your fundraising goal.

With that basic information, you can create an entire campaign and then begin enrolling others as part of your team. Spreading the fundraising effort around to friends and teammates can accelerate your campaign, but also provide other benefits.

Why Is Peer-to-Peer Fundraising More Successful?

Peer-to-peer fundraising can be incredibly powerful. But why is it so effective? It comes down to a few simple reasons:

1. You’re Leveraging Existing Relationships: In the conventional fundraising scenario, you approach strangers, give them your elevator pitch, and ask for a donation or support. That can be difficult – there’s a lack of trust and understanding in these situations. However, peer-to-peer fundraising allows you to leverage existing relationships where trust and understanding already exist. Think about it this way: who are you more likely to give $5 to if asked, your friend at school, or some strange guy who approaches you at the mall with a clipboard in his hand?

2. It Amplifies Resources: An organization only has so many employees and/or volunteers who can go out and canvas for donations. That limit means fundraising efforts fall short in too many instances. With peer-to-peer fundraising, you’re able to amplify those resources – everyone knows someone, and building a team extends the reach of fundraising efforts many times beyond what would otherwise be possible.

3. It Builds Awareness: Awareness – it’s a critical consideration for causes, but one that most organizations find challenging. That’s because most charities and nonprofits have to fall back on flyers, brochures, and person-to-person interaction between strangers. Those are all pretty limited and artificial. With peer-to-peer fundraising, you can build awareness organically by talking to your family, friends, coworkers, classmates, and more. They then take that message to the people they know, and so on, spreading outward like ripples in a pond, all through organic word of mouth.

Peer-to-peer fundraising simplifies and streamlines the entire process. It means no more knocking on strangers’ doors (unless you want to get out and do some old-school canvasing. It means organic awareness and amplification, and leveraging existing relationships to drive more donations for your cause!

Related Stories