X Recap: 2018 Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum

Marketing and Social Media

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The whole time we were at the 2018 Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum, we debated about which sessions to attend. There were so many great ones — we couldn’t possibly choose just one!

Luckily, others at the conference were prolific tweeters. When we weren’t taking notes (or talking to new friends at our booth), we were glued to the #P2PForum18 hashtag. There, we could read highlights from the sessions we couldn’t attend.

Here’s a roundup of tweets from the Forum (and how they apply to real life). Ready?

X Highlights from the 2018 Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum

1. Big data shouldn’t be a mystery

You should have heard the audience when this slide came up! It’s a funny quote, but it’s true. Everyone talks about big data, no one really knows how it works, everyone claims they’re doing it. But big data is only valuable if it’s usable.

What this means for you: data is only as valuable as it is usable. There are 4 questions should ask yourself when you look at your nonprofit’s data:

  1. What happened?
  2. Why did it happen?
  3. What will happen next?
  4. What should I do?

Don’t get distracted by other patterns and trends — those 4 elements are what matter! Understanding those points will help you be a better fundraiser. Everything else is just noise.

2. DIY fundraisers are your nonprofit’s champions

People who set up their own fundraisers for your cause will raise about 7% more than people who participate in a larger event (like a walk or a run). This is largely because they’re more personally invested in the success of their fundraiser, and people who set up independent fundraisers are more invested in your cause!

What this means for you: people who want to set up their own fundraisers are your nonprofit’s champions. Make it easy for them to support you! In addition to allowing DIY fundraising pages, try supplying them with tools that will make their efforts even more successful. Offer them email templates, ongoing support and encouragement, and pointers that will make their work more effective.

3. User experience is critical if you want participants to fundraise

For better or for worse, the Internet has shaped our expectations of just about everything. That includes peer-to-peer fundraising! We’re used to instant gratification, custom content, immediate help, and a process that is tailored to be as user-friendly as possible. Give us anything else and we start to get cranky.

What this means for you: if you want your peer-to-peer fundraiser to be successful, you need to spend time and effort making it easy to raise money for you. Your participants will expect the experience to be easy-to-manage and tailored to them. Do what you can to make that real! Follow best practices for peer-to-peer fundraising, offer coaching and encouragement, and make sure someone’s available to answer questions. Your participants will feel appreciated, and they’ll stay engaged long enough to raise money for your cause.

4. Participant Retention is the key to raising more money

Participants who raised money for you in the past will raise more than twice what they did previously. Whether it’s because they’re better at communicating your cause, are familiar with your platform, or feel more confident a second (or third, or fourth…) time around, they’re more effective than their first-time counterparts.

What this means for you: Keeping participants engaged between events is crucial! Because they’re more effective fundraisers, putting effort into retaining them is effort well-spent. Try including them in the planning process, sending them behind-the-scenes info as you plan your next event, or survey them about past experiences. Every little bit helps.

5. Peer-to-Peer is (still) up-and-coming

Peer-to-peer fundraising has been around for a while. That’s a good thing! Nonprofits and participants alike are learning how to raise more money though this style of fundraising. Because the industry has had time to sharpen its skills, nonprofits are able to make their participants more successful than ever.

What this means for you: Knowledge is power, and that includes knowledge of best practices. Read up on how others are making their participants more successful so you can do the same! Given the right tools, participants can raise much-needed money for your cause. Make sure those tools get into their hands!

#P2PForum18 Highlights from the Qgiv Team

Despite our furious note-taking, we did manage to tweet a number of highlights from the sessions we attended. Here are 5 of our big takeaways!

1. This is the simplest recipe for engagement you’re ever gonna see

You’re probably sick of hearing the word “engagement.” It’s such a common word for such a complicated concept! This is probably the simplest format for engagement you’ll ever see: ask, thank, report.

What this means for you: there are approximately 80 million things to consider when you’re engaging your supporters. Is your content donor-centric enough? How often should you email them? When do you ask for support and when do you say thanks? There are so many pieces to consider that it’s easy to lose sight of what you’re actually doing. First, you ask your supporters for help. Then, you thank them for the help they offered. Lastly, you share how their help made a difference. Easy peasy.

2. This is a simple tactic that can have a HUGE impact

Google your event. Do you see pages for your past events in the search results? If you do, so do your potential participants… and it can throw them off. Make it easier for them by re-directing old events to your new page.

What this means for you: this is a tactical tip that will reduce participant confusion and ensure they can sign up easily. Just do it! And hey Qgiv clients: we can help if you have questions about this. Just ask!

3. Facebook isn’t going away, so we’re gonna have to learn to live with it.

Nonprofit fundraisers are, understandably, a little put off by Facebook’s fundraising options. It’s hard to get donor information, it’s hard to engage participants the way you like, and it’s hard to track the success of different marketing efforts. But people love it, so you’ve got to learn to roll with the punches.

What this means for you: most peer-to-peer fundraising platforms are designed to help you coach your participants and keep them involved. But Facebook’s fundraising options don’t let you do that. That means it’s time to put on our collective thinking caps. How can you build relationships with the people who are supporting you on Facebook?

4. You’re probably not communicating as much as you should be

When you work for a nonprofit, it’s easy to assume your participants and donors wait breathlessly for your next email. They love you! Supporting you is important to them! Your organization’s mission resonates with them! But we often forget that P2P participants have jobs, social lives, family obligations, and tons of marketing emails in their inboxes. They might not see every email from you. And that’s okay! They want to hear from you. Don’t worry too hard about over-communicating.

What this means for you: every marketer lives in terror of the “unsubscribe” and “mark as spam” buttons. That includes nonprofit marketers. But you shouldn’t worry too hard: the majority of your supporters want to hear from you weekly or bi-weekly. AND you’re competing with all the other emails they receive! Email them once a week in the lead-up to your event. You can pull it back to once every other week after the event has wrapped up and you’ve updated your participants about the impact they’ve made.

5. Avoid burnout by prioritizing your time

Burnout is a real problem in the nonprofit industry, and it’s not hard to understand why! Fundraisers are passionate about their mission, about pulling off events, about meeting goals… the list goes on. This is especially true for peer-to-peer professionals. But self-care is important, and sometimes that means setting hard priorities on how you spend your time. As much as you may want to talk to every single fundraiser all the time, focus your efforts in a strategic way that has a big impact on your goals and helps maintain your sanity.

What this means for you: prioritizing your time is important. This rough formula is a great way to help you figure out where to spend your resources. Focus most of your time and energy on the most successful fundraisers. Spend some of your time on returning fundraisers who make a big dent in their goal. Focus a little time on recruiting new fundraisers. And focus the remaining time on returning fundraisers who aren’t the best performers.

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