How to Recruit More Participants for Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Donor Acquisition and Retention

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No matter what types of peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns or events your nonprofit might be running, there’s one thing they all require to be successful: participants. So how do you get more supporters to sign up as fundraisers?  

Here are six marketing approaches to help you recruit more participants for peer-to-peer fundraising: 

1. Create impactful messaging

To get supporters excited about joining your event and helping you raise funds, you need a powerful story. Make sure your messaging addresses key questions, such as: 

  • What makes our organization unique? 
  • What impact are we having on our mission? 
  • What photos or images best reflect our impact on our mission? 
  • How is our peer-to-peer campaign solving a problem? 
  • How do we want people to feel about our mission and our campaign (for example: inspired, outraged, emotionally moved)?  
  • What will the funds raised help our organization to accomplish?  
  • How can participants help us reach our fundraising goals?  
  • What compelling statistics can we include?

2. Make your story easy to understand and share

To keep people’s interest in signing up to help raise funds, it’s important to make it easy for them to find and understand information. It’s also important to make it easy for them to share the fundraising story with friends and family.  
Evaluate your communications, and make sure the messaging for your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign is:  

  • Easy to understand: Your messaging should make it apparent why your organization has launched the peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. 
  • Easy to convey: You might be solving a complicated problem, but your message should be simple enough for your supporters to explain to others.   
  • Easy to share: Sharing is the basis of peer-to-peer fundraising, which means your peer-to-peer fundraising tools should make it easy for participants to share your message.

3. Put your peer-to-peer fundraising data to work

Take time to analyze and use data from your past peer-to-peer campaigns or events. Doing so can help you uncover trends and find new opportunities to improve your recruiting efforts. For example: 

  • Review funds raised based on your top fundraisers’ connection to your organization. Understanding more about them can help you better target your recruitment efforts.   
  • Use data from previous campaigns or events to add personalized notes to your recruiting emails. This approach can help you tap into the loyalty of past participants. For example, look up your previous years’ results, and plan to add a personal note to your recruiting emails, such as: “Thank you for raising $X last year.” or “Thank you for being one of our top 25 fundraisers last year.”

4. Do a soft launch

You might have seen restaurants or retail stores doing a soft launch in which they invite friends and family to eat or shop in a new location before it opens officially. It’s an opportunity to work out any kinks and create buzz before the grand opening.   

Consider doing a similar soft launch of your campaign in which you ask staff members, board members, and your most involved constituents to register and begin fundraising before the official launch. A soft launch can help to identify any bugs or confusion with registration or donation processes before your campaign really kicks off. It also means that when other constituents, frequent site visitors, or others come across the campaign, they’ll see that it already has interest.

5. Build your fundraising emails

When sending out your fundraising emails, make sure to segment your email audiences based on past peer-to-peer fundraising participation and past team membership. By doing so, you can:  

  • Send targeted messages, such as an early announcement email to those who have participated in the past and follow-up messages encouraging past participants to sign up. Consider asking your most active fundraisers to ask their friends to sign up to raise funds as well. 
  • Send an email a few days after your early announcement to past participants to the remainder of your constituent list (non-past participants) to encourage them to register.    
  • Send to your entire audience (keeping your overall communications calendar and cadence in mind). Maybe it’s a mention in a newsletter or maybe a unique message focused on campaign recruitment. Either way, refer to item one above and be sure to make people feel compelled to become part of the movement. 

Be sure to exclude those who have already registered from future recruitment emails or send them a personalized message that includes a friends and family registration discount code (for event sign-ups) that they can share with their contacts.  

These are just some ideas for recruitment emails. The key is to segment your audiences and tailor messages to them to ensure they drive the greatest response.

6. Build your fundraising invitations

Consider other communications channels that reach beyond your constituent list. This might include social media, your website, signs at your nonprofit’s events, public service announcements—all of these channels can be used to announce your campaign and recruit participants. 
Also, look at other groups that might be interested in supporting your campaign:

  • Start with companies that are sponsoring your campaign. Check with their human resources department to see if you can visit the company (virtually or in person) to let their employees know about your campaign.   
  • Visit or call shops in the vicinity of your event. If you’re hosting a virtual campaign, simply apply this suggestion to shops around the physical location of your organization. Ask if they’d like to start a team or join a community team that you’ve created for the campaign as a way to get involved and spread goodwill. If they aren’t interested in creating a team, ask if you can leave information about the campaign for their employees or customers.    
  •  Repeat these approaches with schools, churches, synagogues, mosques, civic groups, girl/boy scout troops, sororities, fraternities, and more to extend your reach even further.
Picture of Mark Becker from Cathexis Partners

Mark Becker, Founding Partner at Cathexis Partners – Mark founded Cathexis Partners in 2008 to help nonprofit organizations get the most from their existing technology tools, implement new technology to address gaps, and find the best overall approach to using technology to support their missions. He previously served as director of IT consulting at a fundraising event production company focused on nonprofits. 

Learn more 

Discover more tips on how to recruit participants for your peer-to-peer fundraising by watching How to Recruit More P2P Fundraisers with Marketing and Design.

In this webinar, you’ll learn pointers from Cathexis Partners and Qgiv about marketing your peer-to-peer event, encouraging registration, and getting participants excited about supporting your cause. 

About Cathexis Partners

We value relationships and are proud to connect nonprofits to our partner network and hope this helps increase your nonprofit’s effectiveness and success. We proudly partner with Cathexis Partners, a nonprofit service provider, helping nonprofits set up and use technology to raise funds and engage with supporters more effectively.

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