Planning peer-to-peer events is a whirlwind, but they’re a lot of fun! Peer-to-peer events are becoming increasingly popular in the fundraising world, but successfully reaching your fundraising goal will depend heavily on keeping your participants engaged. If you don’t have a communication plan for your participants, you could lose out on donations (and recurring participants).
Participant communication sounds easy, but there are important times to engage your P2P participants. That’s why we came up with a few key points to include in each step of the communication process!
When (and How) to Communicate with Participants
Email is the most effective tool for you while you communicate with participants while they raise money for you. Here are a few kinds of emails to send your participants leading up to the event.
- Pre-Event Hype and Recruitment: Start building excitement for your event. The goal here is to persuade people to register for your event. Keep your emails short and to the point! People’s attention spans are short, and, let’s face it, none of us want to read a lengthy email. Make sure your ask is clear (think “Register Today!” or “Sign Up Now!”) and it’s easy for readers to act.
- Participant Spotlights: Want to keep your participants engaged? Showcasing participant’s involvement is a great way to ramp up the motivation! These are great for updating participants while fundraising is still happening. It’s also fantastic content for event follow-up emails and social posts!Openly showing gratitude for participants makes them feel valued. It also encourages others to get involved! One tip: before you recognize someone publically, make sure they’re comfortable with it. You will need their approval before including them in social posts or emails, especially if you want to include a photo.
- Fundraising tips and ideas: Keeping in touch with participants is fun, and it keeps them engaged in the fundraising process. Get creative with it! One great type of content to send them is content that teaches them to raise money. Include tips for asking friends, writing emails, thanking donors, etc. You can also share social media ideas or ways to get publicity around their fundraising!
Use gamification pieces to strengthen the messages in your emails. Rewarding participants for reaching different fundraising amounts or milestones will help them stay excited about fundraising.
You know every detail about your event — where to park, when to meet, where to run. Make sure your participants are on the same page! Here are some tips to help you keep them informed:
- Ramp up pre-event communication: Communication should increase in frequency leading up to the event. You should already be communicating with participants 1-2 times weekly, but it’s a good idea to communicate even more immediately before the event. You’ll have lots of last-minute details to share, and sending shorter, more frequent emails is more effective than sending one long one.
- Share event details: Leading up to the day of the event, it is especially important participants are updated with any details. This includes any last-minute changes and a reminder of the time and venue. You can also include content about where they can pick up event materials, schedules for different events, etc. Include even minor details here-like parking. Nothing is more frustrating than not knowing where to park at a venue/event space. Do they need vouchers? Is there a fee to park? Make this clear! You want your participants to have a seamless experience from start to finish.
- Event Recaps: Your event is over and it went well — hooray!Share the results of your event with your participants and let them know their hard work paid off. Remind them of the original fundraising goal. Was that goal achieved? Let them know! Did you fall short? That’s okay! Share your results and what the money will accomplish. Transparency will encourage returning participants.
- Pictures: Did participants have a great time during the event? Capture these moments! Not only is it awesome content for social media, but it’s a reminder of the fun they had! Pictures are tangible proof of a great event, and it keeps participants’ enthusiasm high. Be sure to send/post them soon after the event is over — it’s a great way to keep people attentive to your messaging even after the event. Pro tip: this is an excellent time to ask participants to stay involved with your nonprofit. Make them remember how much fun they had, then ask them to consider volunteering, visiting your facility, or sharing your nonprofit with their friends.
- Congratulations: Participants are your support system — make sure they feel appreciated. Congratulate them and thank them for taking their personal time to support your cause. Many participants have full-time jobs and families to juggle. They are choosing to use their extra time to help your organization meet a goal. That’s amazing and worth acknowledging! This is a great time to give shoutouts to fundraisers who hit their goals or went above and beyond to help your nonprofit.
Keep participants up-to-date between events
Great communications are the key to participant retention between events. Here are a few tips that will help you keep ’em coming back.
- Offer sneak peeks for upcoming events: Start building excitement early! Start planning for the next event and keep participants updated. What are the new goals? If there is a set date for the next event, inform them. Ask them for feedback or ideas for ways to improve on the last event. Show them pictures of your event branding, swag, or even the venue. Keep them interested and stay at the top of their minds!This allows you to start building excitement for your next P2P event. But don’t give it all away, though — maintain a level of suspense to keep people intrigued.
- Early sign up for past participants: Offer an incentive for participants that sign up early. A discounted registration price is an easy and efficient way to get people on board for your next event.
- Highlights and Impact Reports: Peer-to-peer events usually happen once a year, but their impact lasts year-round! Show participants what they’ve achieved with their hard work. The key here is to remind participants how amazing they felt during your last event. Once you have them excited about how great their last experience was, you can build hype around your next one.Impact reports are your chance to retain participants by showing them their hard work has a real-life impact. Highlights of any P2P events held with pictures will give them warm fuzzies… the same warm-fuzzies they had participating in your event!
Build and Maintain Excitement for P2P events!
Participant communication has two purposes — you get them excited about fundraising and to give them the tools to succeed. An excited, engaged, enthusiastic team will inspire and keep participants actively engaged in all your events! Effectively communicating with participants is a process that lasts all year! If you want more ideas about how to communicate with your participants effectively, check out this webinar from Mandy O’Neill’s here –she has tons of fantastic insights, ideas, and examples.