Peer to Peer – It’s Not Just For Races Anymore

Guest Post by Andy Welkley, Product Marketing Manager for Blackbaud’s Peer to Peer solutions.  Andy is a regular speaker, blogger and the creator of the popular video blog series, “I’m on Team Andy”, where he shares the insights he’s gained from his work with nonprofits  to optimize the use of peer to peer technology to boost fundraising results.

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 “Its not just for breakfast anymore”

The Florida Citrus Growers Association introduced this slogan when they launched a campaign to encourage consumers to think differently about orange juice. The competition for a share of the beverage market was heating up – so they branched out!

The competition your organization faces for patron dollars has never been hotter, and savvy organizations have started taking advantage of channels, like Peer to Peer, that have not been traditionally part of their fundraising mix.

“Its not just for Cause and Cure anymore!”

The beauty of adding a P2P program to your fundraising strategy is that you are likely doing some form of it already! Many organizations ask their board members to fundraise on their behalf, often with great success. They have harnessed the strength of Peer to Peer fundraising – patrons are over twice as likely to donate when asked by a friend or family member, than when an organization itself approaches them.

Here are 3 ways to expand you organization’s use of Peer to Peer fundraising:

1.        Donate a Birthday (or other special event)

Recently, my daughter attended a birthday party at the local aquarium. The kids had a fantastic time seeing the animals up close and learning about their habitats. And, keeping with the animal theme, she asked her friends to bring food or toys to donate to the animal shelter.

To me, this seemed like a missed opportunity for the aquarium. The aquarium could have provided my daughter her own personal fundraising page as part of the birthday package. This page could provide details about the party and donation opportunities. Then, eCard invitations could be sent through the organization’s website, giving the organization ownership of the entire experience.

2.       Ask gala or event attendees to fundraise

This is a concept that we call, “Beyond the Event”, and the funds raised can grow significantly if you empower attendees to raise additional funds, beyond the price of their ticket or bidding in an auction.

Here is a great example. The Museum of Science and Industry encouraged their 2012 Columbian Ball attendees to become “deputy development directors” on their behalf. They broke through the boundaries of a fixed number of seats and the limits of their own contact database by leveraging the reach of their most ardent supporters.

3.       Create a competition

One of the unique benefits of Online Peer to Peer fundraising is the ability for participants and patrons to be able to monitor individual and team fundraising performance.

Take advantage of this by creating teams that are bound together by a common goal and then foster competition between those teams. For example, a zoo can create teams where the “captains” are the ‘stars’ of the zoo. Visitors can sign up to fundraise on “Team Rhino” or “Team Penguin”. As these teams compete over a set number of weeks or months, the zoo can send messages from their “captain” throughout the competition encouraging and motivating, while at the same time including some specific messaging about the zoo, a new initiative or opportunity to participate.

At the end, the team that raises the most money can be treated to a special celebration event at the zoo with their team captain. And, the zoo has created many opportunities to reinforce their message and mission as a part of the fundraising process.

It’s not about their net worth, it’s about their networks!

The tips above are meant to help you start thinking about ways you can utilize Peer to Peer to empower your supporters and reach into their networks. There are MANY more ideas out there, and we would love to hear from you about how your organization is using Peer to Peer….

Check out the peer to peer solutions available to you through Blackbaud.