Know Your Campaigns Before Selecting Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Software
Peer-to-peer fundraising is a powerful tool in the fundraiser’s toolbox. Anything from a walk-a-thon to a memorial or tribute campaign can be an opportunity to engage supporters to raise funds on your nonprofit’s behalf.
Before selecting a peer-to-peer fundraising software platform, it’s important to have a clear definition of the types of campaigns your organization is looking to support so you can keep in mind what functionality you will need. Following are descriptions of five campaign types and some of the functionality they may require.
• Proprietary Physical Events
These events are nonprofit-hosted events in which participants sometimes pay a fee to sign up and also raise additional funds from their friends and family. They include standard walks, 5ks, and bike rides, and also unique campaigns like stair climbs, rappelling, and other campaigns that are coordinated by the nonprofit. They require the ability to collect registration information and potentially a registration fee, have participants sign a waiver, and ask additional questions about the participant. Some also may require the ability to sell additional optional items, like t-shirts, jerseys, or other campaign-related items, during the registration process.
• Challenge/Endurance/Destination Events
These events are hosted by an entity other than a nonprofit, with potentially multiple beneficiaries. They sometimes require participants to register for the event directly and then fundraise, while other events provide nonprofits with a set number of hard-to-get registrations that the organization can then offer to their constituents in exchange for a commitment to raise funds for the nonprofit.
These events may require the ability to process a credit card — either during the registration process or leading up to the event itself — as a way to allow participants who haven’t reached their fundraising minimum to continue soliciting donations. That way, they can attend the event based on their commitment to raise a minimum amount or be charged the difference at a set time. Other campaign types sometimes use this feature as well.
• Virtual Campaigns
These campaigns are organized by the nonprofit — but without the logistics of physical events. With these campaigns, an organization provides an online environment for supporters to set up their own fundraising page in support of a campaign created by the nonprofit. The organization often will establish fundraising categories such as “workplace giving,” “athletic,” “in memory/honor,” or “special occasion” to help participants get started. The campaigns can be seasonal, annual, or evergreen (with no specific end date). These campaigns have a common brand and often a specific fundraising goal. Registration fees typically are not charged.
These types of campaigns also require the ability to motivate participants using coaching emails, as well as use social media and email functionality for a complete multi-channel marketing approach.
• Independent Fundraising
These campaigns allow participants to host their own events and invite friends and family to the events. While different from virtual campaigns (which are organized by the nonprofit), independent fundraising campaigns require much of the same capabilities, including the ability to market the campaign and motivate participants to fundraise. Some campaigns even dynamically promote third-party events through advertising on the organization’s website, and display events on maps and/or via ZIP code look-ups.
• Tribute and Memorial Campaigns
These campaigns often are found in “cause and cure” and “animal welfare” nonprofits, but are not limited to these missions. Any organization that has a mission tied to supporting the fallen, injured, or lost due to disease, disorder, injustice, or war should consider equipping their constituents with the ability to raise funds in the name of someone who has touched their life. Registration fees normally are not charged for setting up tributes or memorial pages. These campaigns may focus less on a registration process and more on sharing information about the subject of the individual fundraiser’s reason for joining the campaign.
Knowing what types of peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns your organization will be running is just the beginning of choosing the right software to support them. The Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Technology Landscape, a new guide for nonprofits by Cathexis Partners, can help you investigate further. Whether you’re just getting started with peer-to-peer fundraising, or you’re looking to take your campaigns and events to a new level, this guide is aimed at helping you sort through the many tools available today to find the peer-to-peer software that best supports your team, your participants, your donors, and most importantly, your mission.