How to Use the Power of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising in Times Like These

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

Many nonprofits are looking for ways to keep fundraising moving forward through these turbulent times. The right path forward is not always clear. After all, we haven’t been here before.

That’s why last month, Cathexis Partners joined with four other companies that serve nonprofits to deliver a special edition of the It’s a Peer-to-Peer World virtual conference. Our aim was to bring practical peer-to-peer fundraising tips and ideas around virtual events and campaigns to the sector — at a time when in-person events are not an option.

I presented one of the five sessions, Real-World Practical Tips for Virtual Event and Campaign Success, with a couple of peer-to-peer fundraising powerhouses: Betsy Dye from Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, and Jillian Stewart from Peerworks Consulting. For my part, I provided some tech-driven approaches that can help you employ peer-to-peer fundraising in times like these.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Encourage participants to share their activity. If your virtual event is physical, integrate fitness apps like Strava, fitbit, or MapMyFitness into your online fundraising environment to help participants share how they are training for the event. Be sure to include instructions in their participant toolkit on how to use the apps to share their activity on their personal fundraising page and via social media.
  • Create a virtual event bag. For your virtual event, build a virtual goody bag that consists of a web page that includes things like sponsor coupons and a form to complete to receive a t-shirt for the event.
  • Utilize User Generated Content (UGC). The power behind peer-to-peer fundraising comes from people sharing information and driving support from their networks for a cause they believe in. Using user generated content gives you another way for your participants to share their own thoughts and ideas. For example, use a content aggregator like Juicer or Tint to bring content into your campaign home page via your hashtags. You can take UGC to the next level using tools like Gather Voices or Seenit to gather user generated videos.
  • Think “livestream”. Platforms like DonorDrive, JustGiving, and Tiltify provide integration with livestreaming platforms such as Twitch to make it possible to create fundraising campaigns like Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals’ Extra Life and St. Jude’s Play Live, which are raising millions of dollars with gamers. If your organization has a connection with the gaming community, it’s worth giving livestream fundraising a shot.  
  • Take your virtual event to the next level. We’re all getting used to video conferencing these days. It’s a great tool for virtual events. You can go a step beyond video conferencing by providing a high-quality, 3D simulated in-person experience. Virtual/online trade show software such as Vfairs and Inxpo can help you provide these types of experiences.

These are just a few of the takeaways from the session. My session’s co-presenters (as well as the four other sessions in the virtual conference) offered a wealth of practical tips for getting participants excited about and involved in your virtual events and campaigns.

You can watch the session recording, as well as recordings of the other four sessions from It’s a Peer-to-Peer World virtual conference, for free: View the recorded sessions

Need more ideas or an extra set of hands for your virtual events or campaigns? Contact Cathexis Partners.

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