The Future of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

September 30, 2016 Amy Braiterman

It’s safe to say that our peer-to-peer fundraising world is different today than it was ten years ago—or even two years ago. Today, there are more nonprofit organizations, more events, and more competition for participants and dollars. Additionally, you have crowdfunding platforms popping up left and right, giving individuals more opportunities to create their own fundraising pages and events without needing a nonprofit to provide fundraising tools. So what’s a fundraiser to do? And, why do we continue to focus on the traditional events in this new world?

As organizations look to diversify revenue streams and reach new audiences, traditional programs like cycling, endurance, 5Ks, and walks continue to be many organizations’ bread and butter. While these traditional events may seem passé in today’s “everything new is better” world, it’s important that we continue to invest in these programs to maintain a strong foundation as we explore and experiment with new revenue streams.

Observations of Traditional P2P Programs:

Walks:

While some consider walk programs to be the most boring of our traditional events, they’re still experiencing year-over-year fundraising growth. So, what separates walks from other programs? They’re all about the cause and mission.

Go to any city in North America during the spring and fall months, and you’ll find at least two walk events for different organizations happening on the same weekend. And, you won’t find the same people at either event. Why? Because, while walks may seem boring, they’re also not about the thrill or the flair of the event. They’re about the cause. It’s about making an impact. It’s about having a day to stand up and say, “No, cancer you’re not going to win,” or “I’m living with Crohn’s, and we’re going to find a cure,” or “I love my cat, and want to make sure homeless animals are cared for.”

Cycling, endurance, and 5K programs:

Recognize that these programs attract two types of people: those interested in the cause and those interested in the sport. When evaluating your cycle, endurance, and 5K program, look for ways to separate and address the two types of participants. Consider updating the registration process to allow individuals to self-identify their interest in your organization.

Once you know more about someone’s degree of interest in your event, mission, and organization, cater follow up communication to suit their needs. For example, a participant interested in the sport will need more information about your organization, its cause, and their potential fundraising impact. These warm leads have the potential to be great fundraisers; they just may need more coaching on why their support matters. Try it out; what do you have to lose?

For more information on the future of peer-to-peer fundraising, check out Blackbaud’s three-year fundraising study.

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