Give Your Peer-to-Peer Events New Energy with Activity Tracking

If you have donated money to a quirky aid event focused on snorkeling or a unique chess fundraiser, you know that fundraising events have evolved far beyond the typical 5K runs, cycling events, and charity walks. While traditional events still have an important place in the fundraising calendar, activity-based fundraising events now encompass a diverse range of experiences, from yoga to pickleball to kayaking and more. This evolution has been driven by several factors:

  • The need for increased engagement
  • A more personalized approach to connecting with donors
  • The popularity of activity trackers, such as Fitbit and Apple Watch

And you cannot underestimate the importance of mobile fundraising. Particularly for peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising, mobile capabilities have become crucial in meeting donors where they are, providing a simple, fun donor experience that results in higher turnout, increased revenue, and better year-over-year retention of event participants, donors, and P2P fundraisers.

Learn more: How to Convert Peer-to-Peer Event Participants into Monthly Donors

If your organization is committed to a better donor experience, read on to learn how to give your P2P fundraising events new energy with activity tracking.

What Activity Will Appeal to Your Donors?

Before you decide to launch an activity-tracking P2P event, remember that “activity” does not automatically mean sport. Explore the other get-involved possibilities tailor-made for building community and inspiring generosity. Many non-sport options also happen to be ideal for tracking on a wearable device.

How do you pick the right event? Ask your donors for their input. Survey supporters as part of registration questionnaires, in-person interviews, or your donor satisfaction online survey. Ask them what type of events appeal to them:

  • Recycle rally
  • Treasure hunt
  • Camp-out
  • Volunteer-a-thon

If you discover they’re more interested in physical activities, drop the idea for your readathon or quilting bee and focus on tennis, swimming, or a tree-planting event – your community of supporters will turn out and make enthusiastic gifts when the event is custom-designed for their interests. 

Shifting to more personalized and varied activities means your fundraising events will resonate more deeply with the people who care most about your mission. As you learn more about your constituents’ interests, you can diversify or expand your event offerings, perhaps planning one online and one in-person event to maximize supporter engagement.

On the other hand, offering a P2P event that’s in sync with your supporters’ interests might mean you need to offer fewer events. In a three-year comparison, the 2022 Blackbaud Peer-to-Peer Benchmark Report found that organizations hosted 15% fewer events in 2022 than they did in 2020. But revenue was up by 23%, with nearly 30% more people participating in P2P fundraising events (even though there were fewer taking place). Build the right-fit event and they will come. And they will donate.

Free download: Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Idea Calendar

Take Mobile Fundraising Seriously

Your supporters wouldn’t dream of leaving the house without their cell phones, which means you really need to have your mobile strategy dialed in.

About 28% of online contributions are made from a cell phone. It seems likely that, as Gen Z becomes a force in philanthropy, this percentage will grow. Make mobile fundamental to your P2P strategy so that you’re able to connect with donors and participants where they are and when they are available.

When your P2P fundraising event is facilitated on a mobile platform, donors not only can contribute easily, but they also can share their fundraising efforts with friends and family with a simple swipe and tap (make sure to offer share links on your thank-you page so donors can tell their networks instantly about their gift and the campaign on social media). This new-era approach ensures that your fundraising campaign is not confined to a specific physical location but can reach a global audience. That means more donors and more dollars.

Case in Point: Activity Tracking Delivers Results for Carry the Load

For its Memorial May National Relay event, the organization Carry The Load has embraced cutting-edge technology to leverage mobile with P2P fundraising, along with an activity-centric goal. In the relay, teams walk throughout the 29-day campaign, with participants covering five routes in 48 states to honor the sacrifices made by members of the military, first responders, and their families.

With mobile activity tracking, the relay has now been able to expand its reach to participants who can’t meet on the specified routes, but still want to show their support by walking in their own neighborhoods or on a treadmill. More than 75,000 supporters participated in this event, showcasing how motivating a mobile activity-tracking platform can be. The relay’s fundraising outcomes also were impressive:

  • 46% more funds were raised by participants using a mobile-based platform
  • 58% of participants actively engaged in fundraising

The integration of interactive leaderboards and fitness trackers added a competitive and dynamic element to the Carry The Load event, boosting participant involvement and ultimately fundraising success.

Activity Trackers Help You (and Participants) Achieve Big Results

As the teams and individuals participating in the Memorial May challenge can attest, a little friendly competition never hurt anyone. Incorporating activity trackers such as Apple Watch, Fitbit, Strava, Under Armour, Garmin, and Google Fit adds a layer of accountability and motivation for participants.

When your P2P fundraisers set and achieve their activity goals, they earn a sense of well-being that aligns with the mission of the event. As they track their achievements throughout the campaign, they stay committed to both their fitness (or recycling or reading or mediation) goals and their fundraising objectives. Gamifying both the activity and the fundraising allows participants to get as much out of the event as your organization does. Ultimately, that improves the chances that they’ll sign on again for future events.  

For your organization, the benefits are twofold, too. Activity-tracked P2P fundraising events will help you achieve your goal of raising more money while giving new energy to your cause.