Why (and How) to Segment Emails to Peer-to-Peer Participants

Fundraising by Type

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Do you segment peer-to-peer participants when you email them? You should! We know it’s important to segment emails to donors, and it’s just as important to segment emails to participants.

People only engage with content (email content, social posts, etc.) when it’s relevant to their experiences. That’s true with your peer-to-peer participants, too. Generalized content won’t be as effective as content that speaks to where they are in their fundraising journey. If you want people to read what you have to say, say something that applies to them!

Here are a few ideas for how to segment your emails, what to say, and how to say it.


Have a welcome email (or series of emails!)

Most of the people who register for your event aren’t professional fundraisers. Many may be brand new to the fundraising game! Sending them an automated welcome series is a great way to inspire them, show them how to get started, and ease any anxieties they have around raising money.

What to say

Pretend you’ve never had to raise money before. What would you want to know? This is an ideal time to tell your participants how to channel their excitement into great fundraising. Try including emails that cover topics like:

  • A thank-you and welcome email that tells your story, reiterates the impact they’ll make, and why you’re happy to work with them
  • Fundraising best practices (keep these simple!) and pointers — this is a great place to include a fundraiser toolkit
  • How to thank donors who gave to individual fundraisers or teams
  • Information about any incentives or participant events
  • Contact information for anyone who is available to support participants

Participants are most engaged with you immediately after they register. Capitalize on that! Use emails spaced over a week or so to draw them into your fundraising community. If you equip them to be successful right off the bat, they’ll be more likely to get (and stay) involved.

How to pull it off

If you use any kind of email automation platform, you can build a “drip sequence” of emails that are sent automatically after someone registers. If you want a different solution, build out a series of emails in your emailing platform. You can pull periodic reports (or use Qgiv’s email integrations) to identify batches of new registrants. Then it’s just a matter of manually sending the emails to that list.

Email participants throughout the fundraising period

It’s important to stay in touch with your participants while they’re actively fundraising. Remember, they’re balancing fundraising with jobs, families, and social lives. If you want to keep them active, you have to stay top of mind. Regular emails achieve that!

What to say

The easiest way to target these emails is to send messages to participants based on their fundraising progress. When you email them, include:

  • Encouraging messages
  • Uplifting stories
  • Fundraising ideas and tips
  • Thank-you messages

You can get really pointed in these emails. Do you have a group of participants that haven’t raised anything? Target people who have hit 0% of their goal and send them ideas that will get them started. Groups of participants who are heavily engaged and hitting their goals should get tons of thank-yous and impact statements. Middle-of-the-pack fundraisers are great candidates for emails containing fundraising tips, success stories from other participants, and reminders of how their engagement makes a difference.

How to pull it off

Qgiv users: you’ve got access to a super-cool tool that lets you target participants this way. It’s in your peer-to-peer control panel! This article in our Helpdesk includes step-by-step instructions.

If you’re using another platform, simply run a report on your participants’ progress. Sort your report by participants’ progress, pull the lists of those you’d like to email, and you’re all set!

Don’t forget inactive fundraisers

You put a ton of time and effort into recruiting participants for your fundraiser. It can be frustrating if they don’t get involved! Emailing inactive participants is a powerful tool for re-engaging them in your event. Put a little extra thought into these — make them inspiring!

What to say

What inspires your other participants? We know that they’re often motivated by personal stories and stories from the community that benefits from your work. So, when you’re talking to inactive registrants, try including:

  • Pictures and quotes from people who use your services
  • Pictures and quotes from other participants about why they’re involved
  • Inspiring stories from past events
  • Statements about how their involvement will impact your community

With a little thought, you can re-engage participants who have gone dark. When emailing this group, pay special attention to your subject lines. If they’re not engaged, they’re probably not looking for your emails. A short, catchy, interesting subject line will boost open rates in this group!

How to pull it off

If your platform accommodates this kind of email, that’s great (Qgiv users — look here for instructions).

You’ll need to get a little creative with platforms that don’t include this option. Try using your CRM to gauge your participants’ activity, or compare transaction and registration reports to see who’s been inactive. You’ll get a pretty good idea of participants who are lagging a little.

A quick tip: your participants are busy! Don’t worry about participants who haven’t signed on in a few days. We suggest targeting participants who have been inactive for 7 days. That’s a reasonable amount of time! Also, be aware of your tone. You want to be gently encouraging, not pushy!

Talk to your team captains (if you have them)

Team captains are the most valuable group of participants in your event. Not all events will include a group of team captains. But if yours does, make sure to take extra-special care of them! They’re your advocates, your leaders, and your most loyal supporters. They’re your go-to people when you need help or want to boost your event’s momentum. Spend special emails to team captains about:

  • Fundraising progress
  • Ideas for getting team members excited
  • Logistical information like event info, race packets, etc.
  • Channels for giving feedback or getting help

You should also email your team captains if you have important information that must be shared with all participants. You’ll email participants, of course, but they’re more likely to interact with their team members face to face.

How to pull it off

This one is pretty easy! Pull a list of your team captains from your event reports. Use that information to build a list in your email program. You should be ready to email them in just a few minutes!


Focus on different event specifics

Running a multi-location event? What about an event that covers multiple sub-events (like a 10k, 5k, and Fun Run)? Do you have large groups of participants from multiple companies or other sources? You’ll want to tweak your communications to be relevant for them.

What to say

  • If running a multi-location event, target communications to different areas. Participants in one city don’t want event info for the race happening one town over. Only send them information that’s relevant to their location.
  • Did you offer multiple ways to get involved? If you have multiple sub-events, email sub-event specifics to those who registered for them. Your 10k runners don’t care about where and when the Fun Run starts, and your 5k runners don’t need to know when to show up for the 10k.
  • Lots of events include large groups that include multiple teams. Say your local grocery chain has 10 different teams of participants; you’ll want to speak specifically to those 10 teams to give them relevant information. This is especially useful if their day-of-event instructions differ from those of other participants.

How to pull it off

Reporting is going to be your best friend! Use your reports system to identify participants in different groups. Much like the point before this one, you’ll want to run reports, sort them, and use them to build your lists. Qgiv clients: use your constituents table and reports for this part!


After the Event

Keep your lists around after your event! They’ll help you communicate effectively with participants after your event is over. After your event, send several emails about how participants did. Include key fundraising figures, share how you’ll use the funds, and highlight the best parts of your event. You can also ask participants for feedback and ideas. This is a huge part of boosting participant retention between events, so don’t neglect it!

What to say

You’ll have tons of great material for these emails after your event. When emailing your participants, make sure to include:

  • Pictures and videos from your event
  • Impact statements (yes, again! Are you sensing a pattern?)
  • Updates on the percentage of your fundraising goal they reached
  • Team and participant spotlights
  • Participant surveys
  • Invitations to provide feedback
  • Information about future events
  • Volunteering information

People who opted to raise money for you are beyond valuable to your nonprofit. They volunteered their time, social networks, and money to your work. Participants are valuable advocates in your community, and they’re very likely to donate their time or money to you in the future. Focus on building relationships with this group!


Want to learn more?

Great engagement is key to a successful peer-to-peer fundraiser. If you want to be a participant-engaging rockstar, check out these other articles!

Make Peer-to-Peer Team Captains Your Fundraising Secret Weapons

How to Communicate with Your P2P Participants

Peer-to-Peer Retention Pointers You Can Use TODAY

Activating Peer-to-Peer Fundraisers

10 Digital Strategies to Build Peer-to-Peer Retention

Peer-to-Peer Participant Toolkits

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