6 Ways to Recruit More Participants for Your Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaigns

This article was originally posted on NonProfit PRO’s blog.

Peer-to-peer fundraising can be an in-person physical event like a walk, ride, or run (remember those?) or a virtual version of those events in which participants walk, ride, or run on their own. It can be a campaign, such as a tribute/memorial campaign or a virtual drive. The possibilities go on and on.

But no matter what types of peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns or events you’re running, they all require one key thing to be successful: participants. So how do you get more supporters to sign up as fundraisers?

Here are six approaches to help you recruit more participants for your next peer-to-peer campaign or event:

1. Create powerful messages.
To get your supporters excited about joining your event and helping you raise funds, you need a compelling story that’s easy to share with friends and family. Make sure your messaging addresses these questions:

  • What makes our organization unique?
  • What impact are we having on our mission?
  • What photos or images best reflect our impact on our mission?
  • How is our peer-to-peer campaign solving a problem?
  • How do we want people to feel about our mission and our campaign (emotionally touched, inspired, outraged)?
  • What will the funds raised from the campaign help our organization accomplish?
  • How can participants help us reach our fundraising campaign goals?
  • What compelling statistics can we include?

2. Make your story easy to understand and share.
A surefire way to lose people’s interest in signing up to help raise funds is to make it hard for them to find or understand information. Evaluate your website and emails, and make sure the messaging for your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign is:

  • Easy to understand — Your messaging should make it obvious why your organization has launched the peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.
  • Easy to convey — You may be solving a complicated problem, but your message should be simple enough for your supporters to explain to others.
  • Easy to share — Sharing is the root of peer-to-peer fundraising, which means your peer-to-peer fundraising tools should make it easy for participants to share your message.

3. Analyze your data.
Take time to gather, analyze, and use data from your past peer-to-peer campaigns or events to uncover trends and find new opportunities to improve your recruiting efforts. For example:

  • Review funds raised based on your top fundraisers’ connection to your organization. Understanding more about them can help you target your recruitment efforts with greater precision.
  • Plan to use data from previous campaigns or events to add personalized notes to your recruiting emails. This approach can help you tap into the loyalty of past participants. For example, look up your previous years’ results, and plan to add a personal note to your recruiting emails, such as: “Thank you for raising $X last year.” or “Thank you for being one of our top 50 fundraisers last year.”

4. Do a “soft launch”.
Consider doing a soft launch of your campaign in which you have staff members, board members, and your most involved constituents register to begin fundraising ahead of the official launch. Then, when other constituents, frequent site visitors, or others come across the campaign, they’ll see that it already has interest. (A soft launch can also help to identify any bugs or confusion with registration or donation processes before your campaign really kicks off.)

5. Build recruitment emails.
Create email audiences based on past participation and past team membership. By doing so, you can send targeted messages, such as an early announcement email to those who have participated in the past and follow-up messages encouraging past participants to sign up. Consider asking your most active fundraisers to ask their friends to sign up to raise funds as well.

A few days after your early announcement to past participants, you could send an email to the remainder of your constituent list (non-past participants) to encourage them to register.

Next, send to your entire audience (keeping your overall communications calendar and cadence in mind).  Maybe it is a mention in a newsletter or maybe a unique message focused on campaign recruitment. Either way, refer to item one above and be sure to make people feel compelled to become part of the movement.

Also, be sure to exclude those who have already registered from future recruitment emails, or send them a personalized message that includes a friends and family registration discount code (for event sign-ups) that they can share with their contacts.

These are just some ideas for recruitment emails. The key is to segment your audiences and tailor messages to them to ensure they make the most impact.

6. Reach beyond your list.
Think about other communications channels that reach beyond your constituent list: social media, your website, signs at your organization’s events, public service announcements, local morning TV news shows — all of these channels can be used to announce your campaign and recruit participants.

Also, look at other groups who might be interested in supporting your campaign:

  • Start with companies that are sponsoring your campaign. Check with their HR department to see if you can visit the company (virtually or in person) to let their employees know about your campaign.
  • Visit or call shops in the vicinity of your event. (Virtual campaign? Don’t worry! Simply apply this suggestion to shops around the physical location of your organization.) Ask if they’d like to start a team or join a community team that you’ve created for the campaign as a way to spread goodwill and get involved. If creating a team isn’t their thing, ask to leave information about the campaign for their employees or customers.
  • Rinse and repeat with schools, churches, synagogues, mosques, civic groups, girl/boy scout troops, sororities, fraternities, etc.

If you need more ideas or an extra set of hands for your peer-to-peer fundraising events or campaigns, the Cathexis Partners team is ready to help. Contact Cathexis Partners today

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