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Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Sites: Benefits, Examples, Elements, and Tips

November 22, 2022

As a nonprofit professional, you probably have a pretty good idea of what your donor network looks like. You’ve sunk countless hours into your donor database, getting intimately acquainted with the demographics while you wrangle and segment the data within an inch of its life. The point is, you’re well-versed when it comes to your donors. You know what’s out there.

But wait. What if we were to tell you that behind that familiar network lurks hundreds—nay, thousands—of giving opportunities? And, with a little strategy and a few clicks, your nonprofit could be reaping the rewards? That’s the wonder of peer-to-peer fundraising, friend, and today, we’re going to break it all down for you with this crash course on peer-to-peer fundraising sites. From snazzy examples to game-changing tips, you’ll find that our guidance is peerless.

What is peer-to-peer fundraising?

Because we always like to start at the top, let’s kick things off with a 10-second overview of peer-to-peer fundraising. Peer-to-peer fundraising, also known as P2P fundraising, is when all the donors you know and love reach out to all the folks they know and love to fundraise on behalf of your organization. A peer-to-peer fundraising site refers to those individual donation pages that supporters set up.

The differences between peer-to-peer, crowdfunding, and social fundraising

Now that you’re almost an expert on P2P fundraising (we can tell you’re a fast learner), let’s take a quick detour. What about all those other types of community fundraising? There are so many terms out there these days that it can be a bit tricky to differentiate between peer-to-peer fundraising, crowdfunding, and social fundraising sites. Here’s the DL so that we’ll really know what we’re working with when we build a peer-to-peer fundraising website.

  • With P2P, social fundraising, and crowdfunding, supporters seek donations from their network.
  • However, P2P fundraising is a type of crowdfunding in which supporters create personal pages to fundraise. With crowdfunding, there’s a single campaign site that people contribute to.
  • Social fundraising is a type of P2P fundraising focused on using social media to spread the word, but it’s also used as more of an umbrella term for viral fundraising

Peer-to-peer fundraising sites we love

With all of the basics out of the way, we can finally focus on peer-to-peer sites. A great peer-to-peer fundraising site showcases the nonprofit and the supporter in equal measure, making the case that anyone who donates is doing double duty: supporting a good cause and supporting a loved one. What does a quality peer-to-peer site look like? These examples check all the boxes.

1. Wear Red and Give 🔴

Wear Red and Give is the American Heart Association's peer-to-peer giving campaign.

Draped in crimson, Wear Red and Give's supporter-powered fundraising website is a hub for donors who want to host an individual fundraiser or start a fundraising team.

What we 💙 about it:

Wear Red and Give's P2P donation program features:

  • A fundraising progress bar that shows donors how close Wear Red and Give is to their total goal—and how many P2P campaigns made it happen
  • the A running scoreboard of the most recent and top donations
  • The opportunity to create your own P2P fundraising page, join an already-established team, or start your own!

Here's how Wear Red and Give made it work:

American Heart Association's fundraisers page with a red background and a dancer dancing behind the images of the fundraisers

With a comprehensive webpage of individual and team peer-to-peer fundraisers, donors can join a team that speaks to their passion!

Wear Red and Give campaign page with options to give. Behind the option is an image of a light brown-skinned woman with a natural hairdo

Wear Red and Give's P2P fundraising page gives users endless opportunities to fundraise with custom red "start fundraising" buttons sprinkled across the site.

A line of women wearing red (all the same height!) stand laughing behind the slogan "wear Red and Give TODAY!"

Using a donation progress bar with a powerful call to action, Wear Red and Give makes it easy for anyone to fulfill the fundraising task—no running or biking necessary—just wear red.

2. Lifesaving Aid for Families Fleeing Ukraine 🌍

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is championing peer-to-peer fundraising to raise lifesaving aid for Ukrainian refugees.

With compelling storytelling and stunning visuals, UNHCR is leveraging their customizable P2P fundraising page to generate new teams of P2P fundraisers making a global impact.

What we 💙 about it:

the UNHCR's P2P donation program features:

  • A clear and compelling mission that fundraising partners can use to generate generosity
  • A fundraising progress bar that shows donors how much of an impact they've already made—and how far they have left to go
  • Seamless setup to get your P2P fundraising started!
  • Gorgeous visuals that meet the urgent tone of their work

Here's how UNHCR made it work:

UNHCR's site has a black background with white text on the left and a picture of a man with a blue vest and black hoodie on the right side. He's facing away from the camera.

With powerful language and a clear call to action, UNHCR makes it clear that peer-to-peer fundraisers are a vital part of their efforts to support refugee families.

UNHCR's fundraising page has ways to give in front of a baby reaching for an adult

UNHCR has an easy and accessible user interface that offers multiple options for the eager peer-to-peer fundraiser...

UNHCR's fundraiser form

...and makes it easy to get signed up and get a fundraiser off the ground in minutes.

3. Called to Hope ✨

Called to Hope is a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign by The Jonah Inheritance, a nonprofit that builds sustainable health systems in Nigeria. The Called to Hope Mission Trip is their P2P initiative to raise funds to build a community medical center.

This P2P site has all the bells the whistles—it's visually beautiful and gracefully holds the weight of the subject matter.

What we 💙 about it:

Called to Hope's P2P donation program features:

  • A customized site with compelling colors and visuals
  • Custom team and individual fundraiser sites
  • Impact cards
  • Compelling storytelling video + graphics!
  • A gorgeous gold fundraising progress bar
  • A comprehensive and downloadable social media toolkit
  • Social media fundraising

Here's how Called to Hope made it work:

We can't overstate how stunning these visuals and graphics are—and how important a visually intriguing P2P site is to your overall fundraising success!

The Jonah Inheritance Called to Hope fundraising page is gorgeous with human faces sitting in organic blue and natural tones in the middle of the page.

Transparency is key. Called to Hope's campaign page features a comprehensive breakdown of where your donations are going!

Three different programs are described on a natural colored page
$50k and $100k impact cards for medical trip or center

And with a powerful (and undeniable) call to action, Called to Hope makes it easy for fundraisers to generate impact.

An image of a family sits behind the words: "The world is hungry for HOPE! You have the opportunity to give the hope that saves lives and transforms communities for the better."

4. PIKE NOW Chapter Challenge 🎯

The PIKE NOW Chapter Challenge is a unique peer-to-peer fundraising campaign by the Pi Kappa Alpha Foundation. Funds raised by individual donors and fraternity chapter teams go towards education, training, and personal and professional development for undergraduate fraternity members.

What we 💙 about it:

PIKE NOW's P2P donation program features:

  • An impact report with donor and overall impact stats
  • Social media fundraising integrations
  • A progress bar to generate excitement
  • Options to fundraise individually or work with a local fraternity chapter
  • Council and club membership eligibility for donors
  • An exciting matching donation challenge
  • Visual storytelling and graphics

Here's how PIKE NOW made it work:

The PIKE fundraiser page offers options for the President's Council and the 100% Phi Phi K A Club

Exciting opportunities to earn donor perks and get your donation matched!

PIKE raised $393881, and celebrated the chapter that raised the most to that goal.

An innovative donor report that breaks down current and future goals, fundraising teams, donor stats, and overall impact.

PIKE's donor stats and impact stats

Healthy competition between different chapters and fundraising teams!

PIKE's fundraiser page showing all the fundraisers and teams.

5. End Hunger Now 🥦

End Hunger Now is a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign by Marion Polk Foodshare to target the root causes of food insecurity and build a hunger-free community.

Their P2P site is changing the game with innovative integrations and a seamless donor experience.

What we 💙 about it:

End Hunger Now's P2P donation program features:

  • A Spanish-language version of their custom site
  • A downloadable fundraising toolkit for easy sharing
  • Social media fundraising integrations on desktop and mobile
  • Progress bars to track the success of overall donations + individual campaigns
  • Impact cards for donors to see the significance of their contributions
  • A running scoreboard of the top and most recent donations

Here's how End Hunger Now made it work:

Marion Polk Foodshare's End Hunger Now fundraiser, with a smiling woman in glasses in a warehouse behind the tagline "End Hunger, Together!"
Marion Polk Foodshare's End Hunger Now fundraiser, with a smiling woman in glasses in a warehouse behind the tagline "¡Acabemos con el hambre, juntos!"

Gorgeous custom visuals and storytelling in both English and Spanish!

Marion Polk Foodshare's Fundraising Toolkit

A downloadable fundraising toolkit that you can share on social media!

Marion County fundraiser impact cards

Comprehensive impact cards and accessible buttons to start fundraising instantly!

Peer-to-peer fundraising pages: Key site elements

While a peer-to-peer fundraising site should have that personal touch, all P2P sites also have several key elements in common. Before you kick off a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, ensure your sites include the must-have features below.

Customizable pages

When your supporters reach out to their network on your behalf, they’d better have a site that looks, acts, sounds, and smells like them. (Full disclaimer: we’re still working on the smell-o-vision). Make sure your fundraisers can personalize their pages with their own images, videos, and text.

A fundraising goal

Before your fundraiser can start fundraising, they need an initial goal. Provide guidance for how they can set it, and remind them that they can always up the ante later.

Compelling storytelling

Your story is what differentiates your organization and brings in the donations. Now, it’s time for your supporters to tell their stories. Each P2P site should highlight the fundraiser’s personal connection to your organization, tugging at their network's heartstrings and inspiring them to give generously.

A seamless donor experience

While your supporter is doing the fundraising, that P2P page is still a reflection of your organization. That means the donor experience should be silky smooth, with a consistent brand, clear story, and minimal-click giving.

A+ visuals

We eat with our eyes first, and the same is true for donations. (Yeah, that sounded a lot deeper before we wrote it down.) For those who are not familiar with your organization, impactful visuals show them why they’re parting with their hard-earned dollars. Whether it’s infographics linking contributions to specific results or glossy photos showing the real-life people you’re helping, smart imagery equips your supporters for success.

Mobile app compatibility

Mobile compatibility is always important, but it’s even more so for peer-to-peer sites. Many of your supporters will be reaching out to their networks via text or even (gasp!) word of mouth, so your sites need to be clean and clear on any device.

A focus on impact

Conveying your impact is number one in the fundraising strategy handbook. But when it comes to soliciting donations from people who’ve never even heard of your organization, it becomes all the more important. Break down how each gift makes a difference through hard numbers and compelling visuals.

Countdown timer

A campaign is time-sensitive, and if you want to meet your strategic and financial goals, your site needs to convey clear deadlines and the nightmarish consequences of not meeting them. Okay, okay, “nightmarish” is a bit strong. But by adding a countdown timer to your site, you lay out a clear timeline and lay on the motivation.

Progress bar

In addition to a countdown, showing each supporter’s individual progress toward their goal, as well as how that contributes to your overall campaign goal, encourages donors to give just a little bit more.

Pro-Tip: You can set up your progress bars to show off the impact in books purchased, meals provided, or trees planted in addition to the money raised.

10 tips for your P2P fundraising site

With those key elements squared away, here are some more ways to ensure a successful P2P campaign through stellar peer-to-peer fundraising websites.

Send automated email updates

Your P2P sites are part of a larger campaign, and a successful P2P campaign relies on engaged and excited supporters. Send out customized and automated emails and texts to your fundraisers when they hit key milestones to keep up the momentum.

Consider commitments

Everybody's different, and some people thrive with a hard deadline and a lot of pressure. For those folks, you can set nonnegotiable fundraising goals at the start of the campaign. If they don’t meet their commitments, you charge their credit card the remainder. Talk about motivation!

Equip your supporters with a toolkit

Your supporters are working hard to fundraise on your behalf, so make it as easy on them as possible. Prior to kickoff, send them a fundraiser's toolkit with resources to succeed. This could include:

  • A communications timeline.
  • Fundraising tips.
  • Key messaging.
  • Sample texts and social posts.
  • Email templates.
  • Logos, visuals, and relevant photos and videos.
  • Everything they need to say a resounding thank you to everyone who donated—and to keep those new supporters connected to your organization.

Motivate your supporters

Sure, your supporters are fundraising on your behalf because they love and believe in you, but everyone can use a little extra motivation. Consider fundraising incentives, like matching gifts, as well as personal incentives, like a shout-out to top P2P fundraisers in your newsletter or a gift card to the local coffee shop.

Turn up the emotions

Storytelling connects us across beliefs and generations. To make lasting connections with your supporters’ supporters, you need to tell a powerful story about why your work matters and how they can make a difference.

Keep things attainable

As we all know, fundraising can be a bit overwhelming even when you know what you’re doing. Break down stretch goals into per-person amounts so your supporters don’t feel stressed out. Asking them to get 20 $25 donations is a lot less anxiety-inducing than asking them to raise $500.

Plan for the future

Make sure you have a reliable and efficient way to collect data on all your new donors. Without that vital intel, every single donation will be one and done.

Say thank you again and again

P2P fundraising is a lot of work, and your supporters deserve to feel appreciated and recognized. Keep them updated throughout the campaign and thank them in a myriad of ways. For a big P2P campaign, you might consider a special thank-you event for all your fundraisers.

Give an update

Once the campaign has ended, don’t leave your newfound donors wondering what happened. Provide your supporters with everything they need to update their P2P site with the total raised, the impact, and what your organization is doing next.

Follow up

You’ve thanked your amazing fundraisers, updated the campaign site, and taken a day off for a well-deserved massage. But there’s one more step: you need to reach out to all those new donors, who represent a plethora of fundraising opportunities! Thank them for giving, invite them to an upcoming event, and maybe let ‘em know about your monthly newsletter.

6 benefits of P2P fundraising

Sure, peer-to-peer fundraising is effective, but setting the stage for this type of campaign also a lot of work. After preparing for weeks, crafting gorgeous templates, and massaging your messaging to perfection, you might be wondering if it’s all worth it. Trust us: P2P has all kinds of benefits. (And PS, we have an amazeballs P2P fundraising toolkit right here, so it’s really not nearly as much work as you might think.)

  1. Build your donor base. The number one benefit of P2P: getting connected to new potential donors whom you’d otherwise never meet. Double benefit: those donors come primed to trust you since they've been introduced by someone they know.
  2. Spread awareness. Even if you don’t convert every new supporter, you’ll still spread the word near and far.
  3. Raise more, don’t do more. When your supporters fundraise for you, you make more without putting in tons more hours.
  4. Take a shortcut to trust. Building trust with donors takes a lot of time, but having your donors vouch for you creates that trust instantly.
  5. Up event attendance. Many fundraising campaigns culminate in a big event. If that’s the case, you’ll have way more attendees if you lead up to the big day with P2P fundraising.
  6. Strengthen current donor relationships. By empowering your donors to fundraise for you, you build trust and loyalty, making those relationships better than best.

They say it takes a village, and that’s why peer-to-peer fundraising works. With peer-to-peer pages, you’ll have a whole team of supporters working to advance your mission, collect donations, and amplify your impact.

Key takeaways for nonprofit peer-to-peer fundraising

  • A peer-to-peer fundraising page is an individual site through which a supporter can fundraise on behalf of your organization.
  • By setting up a P2P fundraising site, your supporters can solicit their network for donations to your organization and spread awareness about your cause.
  • Peer-to-peer fundraising gives you access to an expanded donor base and strengthens your relationships with current supporters.
  • P2P campaigns can be especially effective leading up to a big event, such as a gala, giving day, or a walkathon.
  • A great peer-to-peer page balances your nonprofit’s story with your supporter’s story to maximize impact.
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