Fresh Ideas for Non-Traditional Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaigns and Events

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

I’ve written on this blog before about creative approaches to peer-to-peer fundraising. The truth is that the nonprofit sector has been innovating with peer-to-peer fundraising for some time now. Many organizations have been expanding their reach beyond traditional run, walk, and ride events. They’ve run (and continue to run) everything from tribute/memorial campaigns to virtual food drives that take the peer-to-peer model even further.

Meeting the challenges from 2020
It’s a good thing, considering the challenges of 2020. Thousands of events had to be canceled or re-imagined as virtual events. Those organizations already familiar with running successful virtual campaigns were able to adapt quickly. And, while nothing can replace the atmosphere, spirit, and sense of community that comes with an in-person event, some nonprofits have worked with their technology partners to bring some of the in-person feeling into living rooms, neighborhoods, and back yards in a variety of ways.

These days, some nonprofits are starting to find ways to hold hybrid (virtual/in-person) events. Peer-to-peer fundraising platforms have responded with offerings such as livestream fundraising support and integration with fitness trackers, social media, user generated content (UGC), and Facebook fundraising, to name a few.

Our world continues to change. But no matter how the approach to in-person events changes, non-traditional peer-to-peer fundraising remains as a great way to drive support year-round (even between virtual and hybrid events) and helps nonprofits stay resilient in the future.

The power of non-traditional peer-to-peer fundraising
You need look no further than the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum’s Peer-to-Peer Thirty annual study and ranking of the 30 largest peer-to-peer programs in the U.S. to see the power of non-traditional peer-to-peer fundraising. The study found that while traditional peer-to-peer programs struggled across the board in 2020, a small number of programs that were already set up as virtual campaigns experienced significant growth.

Here are a few highlights from the study:

  • Children’s Cancer Research Fund’s Great Cycle Challenge USA vaulted onto the P2P Thirty list for the first time after posting revenues of $15 million. That total represented an annual increase of 77.1 percent, or $6.5 million, making it the fastest-growing Top Thirty program of 2020.
  • St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s virtual gaming program, Play Live, reported 2020 revenues of $14.1 million, up $4.5 million, or 46.9 percent from 2019.
  • It was joined by another video gaming program, Extra Life, which debuted on the Top Thirty list in 2019 and saw another record year despite the pandemic. Its revenues totaled $17.3 million, up 17.3 percent, or $2.6 million, from 2019.

What more do you need to know to see that non-traditional peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns and events are a powerful tool for nonprofits?

Get inspired
There’s nothing like seeing examples from other organizations to get the creative juices flowing. Download the paper, Coloring Outside the Lines: Creative Approaches to Peer-to-Peer Fundraising, and discover real-life examples of nonprofits that are using non-traditional approaches to peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns and events.

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