In 2020, nonprofit organizations around the globe masterfully pivoted peer-to-peer fundraisers to the virtual sphere. But now, your supporters have probably encountered every in-person/hybrid/fully-virtual peer-to-peer iteration out there.
It’s time to introduce some new, engaging fundraising ideas to keep your peer-to-peer participants returning for future fundraisers.
At GoodUnited, we work with nonprofits to raise their relationships with supporters on Facebook. Because Facebook fundraisers are essentially peer-to-peer fundraisers with unlimited reach, we’ve encountered a variety of peer-to-peer fundraising ideas to share!
In this guide, you’re going to explore innovative peer-to-peer fundraising ideas through the following points:
As you read, you’ll explore P2P fundraising ideas for Facebook, P2P fundraising events, and fully virtual P2P ideas. However, while incorporating innovative peer-to-peer fundraising ideas is a great start to boost your program in the new year and beyond, it’s not enough to have a truly successful peer-to-peer campaign-- builiding one-on-one relationships with each individual supporter is key.
So first, let’s walk through how to optimize your next campaign to understand, inspire, and grow your relationships with peer-to-peer supporters.
If your peer-to-peer fundraising program isn’t seeing the success you’d hoped—or, you’re looking to drastically expand the fundraising channel’s potential in 2021—it’s going to take more than incorporating a few of the innovative ideas in this list.
While some nonprofits see the P2P process as a supporter-led effort, consider the ways your team can build relationships with each individual supporter. The best way to do this is to engage in one-on-one communication, including sending encouragement and tips, with the participants in your P2P campaign.
As you’ll soon see, many of the top peer-to-peer fundraising ideas we recommend are conducted using Facebook’s fundraising tools. Here are a few ways that you can continue connecting with peer-to-peer participants:
Unfortunately, while Facebook’s fundraising tools offer a variety of benefits for peer-to-peer fundraising, that doesn’t make it easy to communicate with P2P participants regularly. In fact, for a large nonprofit with an established Facebook peer-to-peer fundraising program, conversing with each and every participant can be an incredibly time-consuming endeavor.
That’s where our services at GoodUnited come into play. Our peer-to-peer fundraising services represent the only turn-key social fundraising solution to build relationships over social media. This includes:
Not only do these services remove much of the administrative burden of running a successful P2P campaign from your team, but they also result in more satisfied P2P participants. We’ve found that after interacting with GoodUnited, 94% of participants are eager to fundraise for the nonprofit again. With them, you can build intimacy with social supporters at scale, growing relationships with the next generation of P2P participants. To learn more about GoodUnited’s peer-to-peer fundraising services, contact our team today.
Let’s begin our peer-to-peer fundraising list with a discussion of P2P fundraisers conducted on Facebook, and how you can use the platform’s tools to raise more effectively.
In lieu of relying solely on a peer-to-peer fundraising platform, nonprofits are now turning to Facebook as the host of their P2P fundraising campaigns. This could be through integrating their P2P tool with the social network or conducting campaigns using Facebook’s fundraising tools alone. In both scenarios, participants share their campaigns with their friends and family members on the social network and raise funds directly through the platform.
There are a few stand-out benefits of Facebook’s fundraising tools that have led nonprofits to use them, including the following:
Continue reading for four innovative peer-to-peer fundraisers you can introduce into your Facebook lineup.
Birthday fundraisers are the bread-and-butter of Facebook fundraising, raising over $1 billion in nonprofit donations since the platform’s fundraising tools emerged. In fact, Facebook actively promotes this fundraising method with reminders a few weeks in advance of a user’s birthday.
Facebook birthday fundraisers involve a user choosing to “Donate” their birthday by raising funds from their peers, via Facebook’s fundraising tools, in lieu of gifts. To make the most of this fundraising idea, inform supporters of the opportunity to donate their birthday and even use targeted Facebook ads to remind your nonprofit’s Facebook supporters who have birthdays approaching.
You can also use this fundraising idea to celebrate your nonprofit’s birthday. For example, plan a supporter-wide peer-to-peer campaign scheduled for the date your nonprofit was founded. Then, encourage supporters to create P2P fundraisers on Facebook aligned with the event to raise as much as possible within those 24 hours.
Facebook allows nonprofits to create open and closed groups to connect with supporters. These groups can be used to raise funds through in-group fundraising tools, or simply as a place for your P2P participants to gather and share tips for successfully raising funds.
Consider the following ways to use Facebook fundraising groups as a P2P fundraiser:
While peer-to-peer fundraising is inherently social, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your participants are experiencing community with one another. Facebook groups empower participants to connect with one another and bond over their shared support of your organization.
The social media-driven ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has raised millions for ALS research since it first emerged in 2014. This tells us one thing: nonprofit supporters are eager to complete challenges publicly in support of a cause.
Since the ALS challenge, variations have popped up across the nonprofit sector— push-up challenges, no-shave challenges, 10,000 steps challenges, and more.
There are two main ways this could play out:
Regardless, for your nonprofit, the steps are simple: you choose a task, challenge supporters to complete it, and ask them to raise funds on behalf of your organization while doing so. Then, participants’ competitive nature and desire to give leads the way!
A Facebook Live fundraiser involves your nonprofit livestreaming an experience and raising funds through that. Generally, this would mean your team raising funds through live appeals and Facebook’s Live donate tools, rather than a peer-to-peer experience.
However, it’s fairly simple to make a Facebook Live fundraiser a peer-to-peer experience— simply ask supporters to raise funds leading up to the event. So, if you’re hosting a virtual gala on Facebook Live, encourage attendees to invite their friends and family to give in support of your nonprofit’s mission via Facebook fundraisers leading up to the event.
Peer-to-peer appeals combined with the live appeal options means that there are two fundraising avenues in Facebook Live peer-to-peer fundraisers. And, depending on whether you choose to host the livestream in a closed group or not, you could also choose to charge a small entry fee for virtual admission.
Fundraising events are a powerful way to make the most of peer-to-peer fundraising, with the P2P portion acting as an exciting lead-up to the full fundraising celebration.
In this list, you’ll find both virtual fundraising events and in-person experiences, so there are valuable ideas to accommodate social distancing and for when you begin to transition back to traditional events.
A walk-a-thon is a peer-to-peer fundraising event that’s accessible for a wide range of participants. The premise is simple: participants raise funds from their friends and family members, either in support of your nonprofit, the participant’s connection to it, or their newfound interest in physical fitness.
Then, the walking begins. You can either extend this event across a time period—such as setting the goal for all supporters to walk and log 10k steps per day for a month—or you can organize an event wherein all participants walk the same preset distance (like a 5k) at the same time.
A bike-a-thon is very similar to a walk-a-thon, except instead of walking, participants are biking! This event is more likely to be held on one day with all participants biking the distance in tandem, rather than the month-long iteration— let’s face it, biking each and every day is likely too big of a challenge for some supporters.
Keep your audience in mind when planning this event, as riding a bike is significantly less accessible than just generally walking a distance. For example, while wheelchair-bound supporters could engage with a walk-a-thon in some manner, a bike-a-thon could be more restrictive. Consider offering alternatives in that scenario, such as a walk-run-ride event.
A 5K race is similar to the previous two event ideas, except rather than walking or riding, participants are running against one another in a race. For this event, designate a time and distance (5k or more, for more advanced runners) for participants to compete. Leading up to the event, they raise funds in support of the race.
During the race, either record the run times of each participant or if fully remote, ask participants to record and report their finish times. Then, present awards for the fastest in each age group as well as the top fundraisers! This event is a great opportunity to make the most of Facebook Groups, as runners can connect with one another to share training regimes and fundraising tips.
Galas carry high fundraising potential—but with that potential comes a more comprehensive planning process. These fundraising nights often involve entertainment, speeches, and networking for donors that give in large amounts, most often by purchasing a table at the event.
Turn this into a peer-to-peer event by asking event attendees to fundraise leading up to the event, acting as ambassadors for your organization. Make it a competition and during the event itself, present the P2P fundraiser who raised the most with an award.
The classic nonprofit charity auction can now be held through fully online means, creating a more accessible and efficient process. First, your team will need to solicit items (ideally donated) that both appeal to your event’s attendees and can be reasonably priced within their budgets.
Then, you’ll create a charity auction website to host the event for a specified time period, such as over the course of two weeks. You’ll collect bids on the site and, after the event, collect the pledged donations and ship items to attendees. Make this a peer-to-peer event by encouraging virtual attendees to fundraise in advance of the event and, similarly to the gala, present the most successful fundraiser with an award such as a raffle box or donated spa package.
A trivia night is a team-based peer-to-peer fundraising event. Invite participants to organize into teams and donate a small amount to enroll their group into the competition. Leading up to the event—as they study up on trivia questions, no doubt—teams should raise peer-to-peer donations from their friends and family members in support of their participation.
Invite guests to watch the trivia competition go down in real-time or live-stream the event for all to see if you’re hosting a virtual event. Designate a prize for the winning team, such as the ultimate trivia raffle basket, and a prize for the team that raises the most funds. Make sure to choose trivia that’s relevant for your organization’s supporters—Disney and Pixar trivia might be ideal for a family-based nonprofit, while pop culture trivia would work well for a nonprofit with an audience of young professionals.
Invite your nonprofit’s most talented supporters to compete in a talent show. Ask for a small donation for enrollment into the show and have participants raise peer-to-peer funds from their friends and family members in support of their competing.
During the event, award the crowd favorite, top talent, top fundraiser, and any other stand-out performances you see. Make sure to invite guests to watch the show live or livestream it so everyone who donated can tune in (and even make donations on-the-spot during the show itself).
The easiest way to turn a concert into a peer-to-peer fundraising event is by asking supporters to raise funds from their friends and family members in lieu of purchasing a ticket for entry. Make sure to choose a main act that’s appealing to a majority of your supporter base, so that in addition to giving to your organization, they’ll be encouraged to fundraise out of a desire to see the artist perform.
Get creative by involving the artists themselves in the peer-to-peer effort. For example, consider choosing the opening act by having them run competing peer-to-peer fundraisers. Have a few up-and-coming artists appeal to their supporter bases to donate, and award the performance slot to whichever artist can fundraise the most!
While many nonprofits participate in the yearly Giving Tuesday in November, that doesn’t mean that has to be your organization’s only giving day. For example, choose a date that’s significant to your organization—such as your founding date, or the kickoff of a major fundraising campaign—and designate that as the next concentrated day of giving.
In addition to asking supporters to make donations on that date, include a peer-to-peer element. For example, ask supporters to create 24-hour Facebook fundraisers on that date and to raise as much as possible within that tight timeframe. The urgency partnered with the fact that participants and their networks can watch the amount rise in real-time will be an incredible motivator.
Many lessons were learned from fundraising in 2020, but perhaps the biggest was this: most in-person fundraising efforts can be pivoted to the virtual sphere.
Let’s discuss a few peer-to-peer fundraising ideas that your supporters can complete remotely— as in, independently and from their own locations.
A book club peer-to-peer fundraiser encourages knowledge acquisition and allows supporters near and far to join in the fun. Simply challenge participants to read over the course of a specified time period and raise funds from their friends and family members in support of literacy.
While this could mean simply challenging them to read a certain amount of books of their choice within a time period (ex: 5 books in February), you can also elevate this virtual fundraising idea using Facebook. Create a Facebook group for all participants and have them share reviews of their favorite books—or, challenge the group to read in tandem and discuss.
During a give-it-up challenge, participants “give up” something— like a behavior, food, or other creature comfort—for a specific time period. Most often, these challenges involve giving up something that’s considered a vice, such as watching television or drinking sugary drinks.
Then, participants raise funds for your organization from their friends and family members. Again, consider using a Facebook group to have users lament their challenges from “giving up” their vice and experience community through that!
A 10,000 steps challenge is a peer-to-peer fundraiser in which you challenge participants to walk 10,000 steps each day for a designated time period, such as each day for a month. This number of steps is widely considered the ideal number for a healthy adult to take each day.
With this challenge, participants raise peer-to-peer funds in support of their efforts toward a healthier lifestyle. Each day, they report their daily steps and whether or not they reach the 10,000 steps goal, and this would be another great opportunity for using Facebook groups to create connections between participants. At the end of the event, award the participants that raised the most funds, those who successfully completed the challenge, and those who walked the farthest distance in total.
Ambassador fundraising involves appointing designated individuals to spread the word about and raise funds for your organization within their personal networks and beyond. Often, you’ll want to choose ambassadors that are well-connected to potential donors—whether they’re a recognizable face in your general community or they simply have a high number of social media followers.
This could be paired with any of the other fundraising ideas on this list, with ambassadors raising funds for your organization as a lead-up to the main fundraiser. Or, you could simply maintain an ambassadors program throughout the year and ask participants to continuously fundraise and spread the word, awarding those who are successful with branded merch and gratitude.
A volunteer challenge has benefits for your organization and the nonprofits in your supporters’ communities. Simply challenge participants to complete a certain number of volunteer hours within a designated time period—such as within one month—and ask them to raise peer-to-peer funds in support of their philanthropic actions.
The other option here is to designate a specific volunteer day and have participants complete their volunteer tasks—such as cleaning up local parks in their areas— simultaneously. Then, leading up to the volunteer day, participants raise funds in support of the effort.
A viral video challenge draws on social media trends to raise funds. First, your team chooses a viral video topic—for example, completing a funny dance, or getting doused with ice water like in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Then, take a video of one of your staff members, board members, or a recognizable member of your community completing the task and post it to Facebook. Challenge your supporters to do the same!
Each supporter that completes the challenge should tag the next person in line—such as a friend, family member, or colleague—in their post. That person then raises peer-to-peer funds on behalf of your nonprofit, encouraging them to complete the challenge. Once they reach their fundraising goal, they complete the challenge, post it, and tag the next person in line!
Traditionally, a bake-off or cook-off would involve participants whipping up their best creations and bringing them to an in-person experience to be taste-tested and voted on. With Facebook groups, you can easily bring this event to the digital sphere.
Participants sign up for the event and raise funds from their peers in support. During the event itself, participants submit photos of their baked or cooked creations to be voted on in the Facebook group. Reward the top fundraiser as well as the supporter with the yummiest-looking dish!
Peer-to-peer fundraising is a powerful tool because it can drastically expand your nonprofit’s fundraising reach and expose you to potential new supporters. It’s a unique fundraising type, as it can be successful in event formats, virtual formats, and more.
Our favorite peer-to-peer fundraising ideas are those that take place on Facebook. To learn more and optimize your peer-to-peer fundraisers on the platform, contact the GoodUnited team today.
In the meantime, check out the following additional resources to learn more: