3, 2, 1… How to Successfully Launch a Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign

This article originally appeared in
Blackbaud’s npEngage on June 10, 2015

In previous articles about peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising, my colleague  Mark Becker, Founding Partner at Cathexis Partners, wrote about four things you should know before starting a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, and Nancy Lemmon, Account Manager at Cathexis Partners, wrote about top tips for planning a P2P fundraising campaign.

Today, I’m sharing some ideas for launching your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.

Making It Fun

Though your organization’s mission may be serious, there are many ways to add fun to your P2P campaign. And, fun is important for keeping your fundraisers engaged and motivated. Create campaign-specific fundraising “thermometers” and social media badges that fundraisers can use to show off their progress. Consider offering appreciation gifts such as t-shirts, hats, or stickers for fundraisers who reach specific milestones. Enter top fundraisers into a drawing for a prize. Or, consider offering a silly pledge—like throwing a pie at your executive director—each time a fundraiser meets a specific goal.

Announcing Your Campaign

Sending an email and direct mail to your current and past donors is a good way get the word out and recruit supporters to fundraise for you. But, why stop there? Think about other communication channels that reach beyond your donor list:  social media, your website, signs at your organization’s events, public service announcements (PSAs), local morning TV news shows — all of these channels can be used to announce your campaign. To build anticipation, announce your campaign well in advance, including a “countdown” (via your website, email, and other communication channels) leading up to the campaign launch.

Building Your Communications Calendar

Once you know how you’ll reach out to possible fundraisers, scheduling your communications from announcement through launch is critical. Write down the date of the very last communication you will send for the launch of your campaign, and then work backward to add all of the other communications and prep work you’ll need to do leading up to that last communication. A few things to keep in mind:

  • Be sure to coordinate with your marketing and fundraising departments so you aren’t “competing” with your organization’s other communications or activities, such as a newsletter, other fundraising campaign communications, or special events.
  • At the same time, find out if you can promote your campaign through your organization’s existing communications (for example, via an “ad” in a newsletter).
  • Allow plenty of time to line up PSAs and segments on your local morning TV news shows; they may require weeks, and even months, to arrange.

Kicking Off Your Campaign

Whether it’s online or in-person, it’s a good idea to have a kick-off event for your fundraisers. This is important for energizing your supporters, and also for training them, as they’ll need to know the campaign timeline and how to set up their individual online fundraising pages. A few ideas for your kickoff event:

  • Have your executive director or a board member welcome fundraisers, explain the importance of the campaign, and thank supporters for signing up to fundraise.
  • Have someone speak about the impact of your organization on his or her life.
  • Ask fundraisers from a previous campaign to speak about approaches they’ve used successfully.
  • Give fundraisers time to get to know each other.
  • Hand out branded material such as training notes, tips, and other details about the campaign.

Tracking Your Progress

Be sure to have a tool in place to track your campaign’s progress. The metrics you track and how you use them will be unique to your organization (I could write an entire article — or even a paper — on that topic alone!), however, here are a few key metrics to get you started:

  • how many people have registered to raise funds
  • how much money each fundraiser has raised
  • how much money the entire campaign has raised
  • total number of donations
  • week-over-week growth

In addition, consider using online surveys as your campaign moves forward so you can track other progress, such as what’s working and what’s not with your fundraisers. Regular in-person or virtual get-togethers are another way to solicit feedback from your fundraisers and let them share lessons learned with each other.

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