Before facebook… there was Friends Asking Friends

In 1999, an idea based on online greeting cards changed peer-to-peer fundraising forever.  Do you ever wonder where you’d be today without online fundraising tools?  Would walks, runs and rides raise billions of dollars?

I remember what it was like to fundraise before online tools and I’m so grateful a group of smart people in San Diego created Friends Asking Friends. Do you remember life without facebook?  It’s only been a few years, but facebook and now twitter have changed how we communicate with friends and family, just as Friends Asking Friends changed fundraising.

It’s been more than 10 years since online tools where introduced to the market place and I wanted to know what event participants think about these tools and their overall fundraising experience.  So, I asked my friend David Hessekiel, founder and president of the Run Walk Ride Fundraising Council, if he was interested in working on a research project together.  Thankfully, he was.

David and I set out on a mission to find out what people think about peer-to-peer fundraising.  Last week, at the annual Run Walk Ride Fundraising Conference,  we shared our findings.  My favorite take away from the survey; the cause is the driving factor behind why an individual signed up and raised funds.

  • 69% were motivated by a personal affinity or connection to a cause.
  • 72% were motivated to exceed their fundraising goals because of a personal commitment to the cause.
  • 73% liked being part of a team either as captain (23%) or a team member (50%).
  • 95% of team members were likely to set fundraising goals compared to only 77% of non-team members.
  • 40% of team members exceeded their fundraising goals compared to only 29% of non-team participants.

Check out the complete paper.  If you’re looking for more, go to and download two more papers: Understanding the Value of Team Captains and Making Participants and Donors Successful with Mobile Solutions.