6 Tips for Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Participant Retention

If your nonprofit hosts peer-to-peer fundraising events and/or campaigns, you know the importance of participants. They’re the ones who sign up to raise funds on behalf of your organization. Next to your own nonprofit staff, they’re the ones who can make (or break) your peer-to-peer fundraising.

You probably know, then, how critical it is to retain your peer-to-peer fundraisers. You put a lot of time, effort, and dollars into recruiting participants in the first place. It’s time and cost-effective to keep them around year after year.

So, let’s take a look six best practices for retaining peer-to-peer fundraising participants:

1. Give them a good story to tell.
To keep your supporters excited about helping you raise funds, you need a compelling story to tell them, and also for them to share with friends and family. As you build your messaging and write communications for your fundraising campaign or event, be sure to address these questions:

  • What makes our organization unique?
  • What impact are we having on our mission?
  • What problem does this particular peer-to-peer fundraising campaign solve?
  • How do we want people to feel about our campaign (emotionally touched, inspired, outraged)?

2. Provide them with powerful, yet easy-to-use software.
As people participate in your events and campaigns, they’ll compare the experience with those of other online experiences, including those of Amazon, Netflix, and other familiar websites. Make sure your peer-to-peer software supports a great participant experience, including:

  • Easy event/campaign registration
  • Simple, yet effective email tools
  • Gamification
  • Progress meters

BONUS TIP: Find the right peer-to-peer software for your nonprofit: Use The Nonprofit Toolkit for Selecting Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Software.

3. Offer outstanding coaching and support.
Help participants support your organization by providing fundraising tools, tips, and encouragement throughout the campaign. For example:

  • Offer email templates they can use to solicit donations from friends and family.
  • Send them regular emails with tips and examples for fundraising success. Consider including a video from one of your top fundraisers offering their own tips. And, add an inspirational story about someone who benefitted from your organization’s mission.
  • Pick up the phone and call some of your fundraisers to ask how things are going and to thank them for their work.  

4. Provide incentives.
Those who sign up for your event or campaign already have shown interest in raising funds for your organization. But a little personal incentive can give them an extra nudge to keep up the fundraising momentum. For example, offer an online gift card, a t-shirt, or other gift for participants who reach specific fundraising milestones.

5. Say thank you – more than once.
Many of your fundraisers work hard, so be sure to thank them throughout the campaign or event. When the event or campaign ends, send them a wrap-up thank you email, and maybe even call your top fundraisers. Let them know how much money your organization has raised due to their support, and tell them what your organization will be able to do with the funds raised.

And, just as you might have held a kick-off event to get the ball rolling with your campaign or event, consider inviting your fundraisers to a wrap-up event — virtual or in-person — to recognize your participants’ great work.

6. Listen.
It’s important to get feedback from your peer-to-peer fundraisers once your campaign ends. But be sure to also listen to them during the campaign so that you’ll know what’s working and what’s not.

Use short online surveys as your campaign moves forward so that your fundraisers can give you feedback. Regular in-person or virtual get-togethers are another way to solicit feedback from your fundraisers and let them share lessons learned with each other. Make sure contact information is easy to find on your website, as well as in the communications you distribute so that people can reach out to you for help. You might even want to consider offering an incentive (for example, an organization logo item) to give to people who complete a survey or provide feedback as a way to encourage more responses.

Learn more tips and insights on peer-to-peer participant retention: Listen to the podcast, The NonProfit Voice, episode 56: The Importance of Peer-to-Peer Participant Retention.

And if you need more ideas or an extra set of hands for your online fundraising events or campaigns, the Cathexis Partners team is ready to help. Contact us today.

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