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[GUEST POST] 3 Types of Peer-to-Peer Emails You Can (and Should!) Automate

So much work goes into running a peer-to-peer event! When you’re balancing event planning, building your event page, and finding sponsors, it’s easy to lose communication with donors and participants in the shuffle. Luckily, today’s fundraisers have a growing number of tools that make it possible to automate some important communication pieces.

There will always be some communications that you won’t be able to automate. But automating these three important kinds of emails lets you send participants and donors the information and encouragement they need while freeing up your time to handle other event details.

Here’s how!

Set up a welcome email series for participants

One of the biggest challenges in peer-to-peer fundraising is getting people to actually participate in raising money for you. There are dozens of reasons peer-to-peer participants are reluctant to raise money. They might not know how, they might not know who to ask, or they may just be uninspired. Creating a series of welcome emails for new registrants is a great way to boost your participants’ willingness to raise money. (Psst: Looking for tips on writing great emails? This will help)

What to do

When you plan your welcome series, try to include emails that show participants what their money will accomplish, give them some tips and best practices that will make them confident when asking for a gift, and provide resources like images or templates they can use in appeals.

For example, you might want to build a welcome series that looks like this:

  • Email #1: Welcome message; thank-you message; short story about who the participants will impact with their involvement
  • Email #2: Tips for setting up their personal fundraising page; ideas of stories and pictures to share; information about who to contact if they have questions
  • Email #3: Templates for social posts or emails; fundraising ideas; images they might need (logos, etc.)
  • Email #4: Important details (event time and date, deadlines, etc.); thank-you message; note that you’ll continue to be in touch

How to do it

First, you’ll want to create the email series in your nonprofit’s email marketing platform. Depending on the service you use, you can build an entire email campaign that automatically sends emails based on a variety of rules. This will look a little different for everyone depending on what platform they’re using.

Pull a report from your fundraising platform of all new participants. Then, upload the list to your email provider and begin the series. If your fundraising platform integrates with your email service provider, you can automate this process. If it doesn’t, just pull a report on a regular basis. How often you drop new registrants into the email series is up to you, but we recommend doing it as frequently as you can. It’d be odd to get a welcome email a whole week after you signed up to participate!

Automate emails that encourage and inspire your inactive participants

Your fundraiser is top-of-mind for you, but that’s not necessarily the case for your participants. They’re balancing your fundraiser with their jobs, families, and social lives. It’s natural for them to lose focus!

Luckily, it’s easy to automate periodic emails to disengaged fundraisers. When you write these emails, think of them as a gentle nudge to get involved. There’s a fine line between encouraging people to participate and haranguing them about getting involved!

What to do

Think of some reasons your participants haven’t raised much (or any) for your fundraiser. Could they be busy and overwhelmed by the thought of fundraising? Do they even know where to start? Did they make an ask and then get no responses?

Trying to anticipate the reason behind participants’ inactivity will help you give them the push they need to get involved. Try including elements like:

  • Simple ways they can start fundraising (sharing the link to social media, sending a quick email, etc.) with accompanying templates
  • An invitation to call or email someone at your organization for fundraising help
  • A participant toolkit like the ones in this article

How to do it

Use your peer-to-peer platform’s reporting options to pull a list of inactive participants. You have two options here: you can grab names of participants who haven’t logged into their fundraising pages recently, or you can pull a list of participants who have only raised a very small percentage of their goals. In an ideal world, you’d be able to create emails for both of these groups.

Then, create emails for your targeted participants. Some peer-to-peer platforms can let you do this right from your control panel. If this is the case, you can build the email campaign, identify your audience, and schedule the email ahead of time. Some peer-to-peer platforms may require you to pull the list, then upload it to your email service provider.

Either way, you can build engagement emails before your event starts. Then, it’s just a matter of setting up the rules that will determine when your email platform sends the emails.

Automate donor thank-yous and donor data

It’s easy to neglect peer-to-peer donors. After all, you’re paying lots of attention to your participants, and your donors are probably giving to their friends and loved ones instead of giving directly to your mission. But peer-to-peer donors deserve love, too!

You’re probably already sending automated receipts to your donors (and, if you’re not, you should). Why not take a few minutes to turn the receipts you’re already sending into outstanding thank-you notes? When you edit the automated receipts your peer-to-peer fundraising platform sends to donors, add elements like:

  • Impact statements that tell donors what their money will accomplish
  • A heartwarming picture that reinforces the impact statement
  • An invitation to attend events related to the fundraiser
  • Social sharing options
  • A note letting them know you’ll send updates and impact reports in the future

Once you’ve built a fantastic automated receipt, make sure your peer-to-peer fundraising platform and your donor management system or customer relationship management (CRM) system are working well together. You’ll want to have records of your new peer-to-peer donors in your CRM. That data will be invaluable as you plan retention methods for this group of supporters.

How to do it

First, locate the automated receipt system in your peer-to-peer fundraising platform and edit your event receipt. Make sure you leave the transaction details intact as you add the fun parts of the receipt! If you’re feeling ambitious and want to make your receipts extra-amazing, use conditional content to create receipts that address as many donation specifics as possible.

Then, ensure your CRM and peer-to-peer fundraising platform are working together. Your CRM should be creating and updating records for donors as well as for participants. All that data will be valuable down the line! If you’re concerned about the quality of the data you’re sending back and forth, check out this article for steps you can take to ensure your data is handled properly.

Conclusion

Not all peer-to-peer communications can be automated. But some of the most important messages can be! Automation is a great option if you’re concerned about getting new fundraisers engaged in the fundraising process, need to inspire disengaged participants, or want to make your donors feel appreciated.

Abby Jarvis is a blogger, marketer, and Nonprofit Education Manager for Qgiv, an online fundraising service provider. Qgiv offers industry-leading online giving and peer to peer fundraising tools for nonprofit, faith-based, and political organizations of all sizes. When she’s not working at Qgiv, Abby can usually be found writing for local magazines, catching up on her favorite blogs, or binge-watching sci-fi shows on Netflix.

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