Did you know that almost 70% of nonprofits are planning to incorporate virtual elements into their events in some way, whether that’s with hybrid events, virtual-only events, or a combination of all of them?
In particular, peer-to-peer fundraising has found great success when it comes to pivoting to virtual, as its engagements already happen primarily online. And just because the events of 2020 may have necessitated virtual fundraising, that doesn’t mean it also didn’t come with its own great benefits.
Virtual peer-to-peer fundraisers can increase the reach of your organization, are often more cost-effective to plan and host than on-the-ground campaigns, and provide an added level of flexibility and convenience for supporters who can’t attend an in-person event.
And, since all virtual engagements are facilitated by your digital tools, it’s the perfect method of collecting valuable data and determining if and where engagements are dropping off.
The beauty of peer-to-peer fundraising is that there is an almost endless list of virtual ideas that you can explore and adapt to your unique mission. To get your fundraising wheels rolling, we’ve come up with this list of ideas, divided into the following categories:
- Easy Virtual Peer-to-Peer Ideas
- Virtual Peer-to-Peer Ideas for the Active
- Virtual Peer-to-Peer Ideas for the Competitive
- Virtual Peer-to-Peer Ideas for Families
Ready to empower your peer-to-peer volunteers while also providing a unique and engaging virtual experience? Let’s dive in!
Virtual Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Ideas
Peer-to-peer fundraising is an incredible opportunity that leverages your supporters’ personal networks to expand the reach of your campaign and solicit gifts. This is because this strategy involves recruiting passionate supporters to fundraise on your nonprofit organization’s behalf.
This type of campaign is perfect to host virtually because the majority of your peer-to-peer fundraisers will be reaching out to friends and family online. Using a mix of social media and email communications, more than 9.4 million peer-to-peer volunteers raised over $1.3 billion for their respective organizations in 2019 and 2020.
To host a virtual peer-to-peer event successfully, you’re going to need the right tools and resources at your disposal.
For the basics, you’ll need a dedicated peer-to-peer fundraising platform and a group of volunteers who are passionate about your cause.
Other tools you’ll likely invest in include an event registration tool, a livestreaming platform, eCommerce tool, and online/mobile auction tool— but the specifics will depend on the unique idea you decide to host. Qgiv’s peer-to-peer tools even have a built-in eCommerce store that you can easily use!
For a list of additional tools, explore our recommended fundraising event software for virtual events!
Easy Virtual Peer-to-Peer Ideas
1. Virtual supply drive
Depending on your mission, you might find more value in asking for in-kind gifts rather than fundraising for money.
A supply drive works great for nonprofit organizations that need supplies like food donations, office supplies, and more!
To host this peer-to-peer fundraiser virtually, use an eCommerce tool to set up an online store. This online store should host all of the in-kind items and supplies that you’d like to receive. Have peer-to-peer volunteers promote your online store to their friends and families.
Then, donors can click on the items on your site, “buy them” as a gift, and have them delivered directly to the community members in need.
2. House parties
House parties have risen in popularity in the past year. With this virtual fundraising idea, you ask each of your peer-to-peer volunteers to host their own “house party” online.
Then, they’ll invite supporters, friends, and families to attend and participate in some sort of online activity and solicit gifts from them.
BONUS – See this idea in action!
In the last year, the St. John Center for Homeless Men recently hosted their own virtual house party peer-to-peer event called Raisin’ the Rent. Some of their participants raised over $10,000 in their house party.
The St. John Center even added a competitive element— the party with the most guests and the party that raises the most money will win special recognition in St. John Center media throughout the year.
3. Movie nights
Host a virtual peer-to-peer fundraiser movie night!
First, have your peer-to-peer volunteers collect gifts from anyone they know that would want to attend a virtual movie night. Their friends and family will love supporting a loved one while also watching a fun movie in the comforts of their own home.
To give all donors an at-home virtual screening, consider livestreaming the video online. You can even sell concessions like popcorn and drinks for extra funds and have them delivered to homes before the movie starts.
4. Social fundraisers
Peer-to-peer fundraising will likely naturally take place on social media, but you can take it a step further by adding a fun, competitive element.
Ask your fundraisers to use their networks to try and raise as much as possible and then offer prizes for different categories. These categories can be:
- Most money raised
- Most shares on a post
- Most likes
- Most views on a video
Offer prizes to your winning volunteers or give them a shoutout on your nonprofit’s website or social media account.
5. DIY Fundraisers
Do-it-yourself (DIY) events involve your supporters “doing it themselves” and taking charge to raise money on behalf of a nonprofit. These are perfect for peer-to-peer supporters as they already have personalized fundraising pages and solicit gifts from their social circles.
In particular, DIY fundraisers are popular for those who want to celebrate something or garner support, but instead of the support directed at them, it’s for a cause they care deeply about. Here are some common DIY fundraising scenarios:
- Memorial campaigns
BONUS – See this idea in action!
CityTeam is an organization that encourages its supporters to create their own personal fundraising page to share. With just a couple of clicks, anyone can register their own fundraiser and raise money to help CityTeam with combating hunger and homelessness in their city
6. Memorial fundraisers
Bring your community of peer-to-peer volunteers together to pay tribute to loved ones with a memorial fundraiser.
This type of campaign allows supporters to honor a good cause and create something good out of loss. They can even personalize their page to highlight their specific connection to the cause.
To ensure that this stays virtual, consider having a dedicated web page or microsite to host all the information and even post additional stories about the memorialized subject.
7. Be a Hero campaign
Take your peer-to-peer fundraiser to the next level with a “Be a Hero” campaign.
This type of fundraiser invites your peer-to-peer volunteers to get more involved within the organization by also participating in other virtual engagements and tasks. This can include FaceTiming community members, hosting virtual concerts, or leading additional virtual classes/activities.
BONUS – See this idea in action!
The Miami Jewish Health organization has called upon its friends and supporters to be a part of their “BE A HERO” campaign. To be a HERO, you simply have to donate, share, or spread awareness in some way. Heroes are also encouraged to go a step further and volunteer for other programs and services the nonprofit offers.
8. Give-it-up fundraisers
This is a fun fundraising campaign that also encourages your supporters to give up a bad habit or see how long they can hold out on a certain task.
For instance, you can host a give-it-up challenge to give up sweets, social media, or another vice. Or, you can plan one where peer-to-peer participants agree not to shower until a fundraising goal is reached.
During this challenge, your peer-to-peer volunteers can encourage others to participate as well. Make sure that your volunteers share their progress on social media and use the appropriate hashtags or branding.
9. Giving days
Giving days are popular for peer-to-peer fundraising because it provides a set deadline and goal for the entire campaign. With this, your volunteers can drum up support and market proactively until the big day comes.
This way, your donors know exactly when the giving day is, what the fundraising goal is, and how they can support, all before the giving day actually comes around.
The most popular giving day is Giving Tuesday, the next Tuesday after Thanksgiving. However, you don’t have to limit your own giving day to this one event! Consider “National” days that relate to your mission, organization anniversaries, and other important dates that you might use.
BONUS – See this idea in action!
Nemours, a children’s health organization, has its own dedicated day of giving on April 26. Each year, they garner support and use peer-to-peer fundraising to raise money for the giving day. This year they even partnered with news stations to really get the word out about their mission.
10. Board fundraiser
Your board members may not be professional fundraisers, but they can still prove to be helpful during a peer-to-peer campaign. Recruit your own board members to fundraise on your organization’s behalf and provide them with their own donation page that they can share online.
And, it’s likely that your board members know others who are philanthropically inclined and might love to give to a meaningful cause. Remember, fundraising is not your board members’ main job, so you’ll need to give as much guidance as possible.
Consider creating a welcome quest using your peer-to-peer platform to introduce board members to the system and how they can use it.
11. Volunteer challenge
Instead of asking your peer-to-peer fundraisers to solicit money from their friends and families, you might consider having them participate in a fun volunteer challenge.
With this, your peer-to-peer participants compete to complete the most volunteer tasks. For an additional level of support, they can still collect gifts from loved ones.
While this will ultimately depend on your unique organization, some good virtual volunteer ideas include:
- Making fundraising phone calls
- Conducting online outreach on your behalf
- Sharing stories and testimonials online
- Promoting content on social media
- Crafting outreach emails and other messaging
12. Pledge drive
Instead of having your peer-to-peer participants ask for gifts, have them request pledges instead. This might be easier for your donors as well, as they don’t have to immediately give and can prepare the funds for the future date.
To ensure that the pledges actually come through, make sure that your peer-to-peer fundraisers follow up accordingly. Or, you might collect financial information beforehand and then charge it when the time comes. The beauty of this type of peer-to-peer fundraiser is that pledging a gift can all happen online!
13. Community classes
Online webinars and classes have skyrocketed in popularity in the past year. Not only are they simple to host with the right livestreaming or video conferencing software, almost anyone can lead them.
For instance, ask your peer-to-peer volunteers if they have any expertise that they’d like to share and teach through a community class. These don’t necessarily have to be related to your mission, as all types of learning experiences and topics can prove to be popular.
Have your participants set up their own event registration page and watch the signups roll in! Consider recording the content so that supporters can watch it again in the future.
Geocaching is a unique activity that encourages users to go searching within their local community for secret items with GPS coordinates hidden in them. Once they find the GPS coordinates, they then move on to the next item. Like a treasure hunt, if they find enough items they can even reach a grand prize.
Pivot this to a virtual peer-to-peer fundraiser by encouraging each participant to compete to find each item. Track completion times virtually by having players download the geocaching app. Whoever finds the most items at the end of that period wins!
Along with the geocache hunt, donors can give to the peer-to-peer participant that they want most to win.
15. Text fundraising campaigns
Encourage your peer-to-peer participants to go mobile with a text fundraising campaign. In particular, text fundraising is an extremely convenient and valuable way to collect gifts virtually as there is no face-to-face contact required.
Have your peer-to-peer fundraisers message their friends and families and direct them to a mobile-optimized giving page. This not only can inspire giving but it also provides a convenient way to do so all in one engagement. Reach donors on the go, whether they’re waiting in line, on the train, or even just at home!
Virtual Peer-to-Peer Ideas for the Active
5Ks, walkathons, and runathons are not your traditional virtual event, but with the right tools and planning, it can be hosted successfully.
First, have your peer-to-peer participants garner support and fundraise before they do the 5K. To host the 5k virtually, you have a couple of options.
- Create a dedicated time span of a couple of days where participants can complete the 5K on their own.
- Have each participant run the 5K on their own using their neighborhood as the track.
For each of these, you’ll need proof with some sort of distance tracking device. You should also encourage participants to post live updates on social media or on their peer-to-peer page to solicit even more gifts during the event itself.
17. Cycling event
Similar to the 5K, have your peer-to-peer volunteers fundraise on their own before the cycling event.
Then, participants will cycle for the predetermined distance, either within a certain date span or completed on their own time. Make sure that each participant has their own bike or take the steps to provide one by reaching out to local bike shops.
Don’t forget to track distance with a dedicated device or mobile app!
When done right, a golf tournament nonprofit event can attract a lot of enthusiastic peer-to-peer participants and raise a good deal of money.
To host this type of fundraiser virtually, you’ll have to get a little creative with the game format and venue. Here’s what a virtual golf tournament might look like:
- Determine a date range for the tournament so that peer-to-peer volunteers can golf independently during the timespan.
- Partner with a golf venue to rent out the specific courses needed during the time span.
- Peer-to-peer participants choose a specific time slot to go to the course.
- Golfers play according to the rules and submit a scorecard to the event.
- Virtually meet with participants at the end to tally up scores and announce a winner.
Who doesn’t like a fun bowling event? Gather your peer-to-peer fundraisers and have them participate individually or split into teams for a tournament.
Because it’ll be difficult to emulate an actual bowling experience virtually, we recommend using a virtual bowling simulator that is accessible on both desktop and mobile. Then, bowl for as long as you’d like and reward the winning individual or team with a fun prize!
What’s a great way to host a fun night while also raising some much-needed funds? A virtual game-a-thon!
Think of fun games you can play online, like online monopoly or chess. You might even consider co-op video games that can be played online with a community of other players.
Each peer-to-peer participant can raise funds from their friends and family before the big game day, as well as collect gifts during the event itself. They can even livestream the game to incentivize more gifts!
BONUS – See this idea in action!
Ronald McDonald House Charities hosted a virtual game-a-thon to appeal to both young people and the young at heart. Their event encouraged fundraising by having each gamer livestream their gameplay.
However, their virtual event didn’t solely focus on video games. Participants could choose to livestream playing any game they chose, like a Dungeons & Dragons gaming session!
21. Virtual dance party
Who doesn’t love a good dance party? Have each of your peer-to-peer participants pledge to dance for as long as possible in exchange for gifts from their supporters. Donors will love giving to support a loved one and incentivize them to continue dancing.
The dancer who lasts the longest can then get a fun prize! To ensure this stays virtual, you can have participants dance on livestream.
Serve-a-thons not only can gather lots of support, but it aims to tackle a much-needed community service project.
Recruit your peer-to-peer volunteers and have them focus on individual service actions, like delivering food to homeless shelters, doing a neighborhood cleanup, or writing letters to inmates. While this isn’t necessarily virtual, it can still be done without interacting with large groups of people!
23. Health challenge
Motivate your most active supporters with a health challenge!
Challenge peer-to-peer participants to walk 10,000 steps, do a strength test with a tire flip, or complete a multi-day fitness plan. And the best part is, they can complete this on their own in the comforts of their own homes.
To encourage additional support, your fundraisers should post any progress updates or pictures on their dedicated donation page.
BONUS – See this idea in action!
#ChangeTheNorm hosted a virtual 5K fundraiser that encouraged participants to complete 5km by March 1st. However, this doesn’t have to be running. Some people walked, some swam, while others “treadmilled” it.
And, because this simply had to be completed by a certain date, some got creative and did 1km a day for 5 days. Because this is virtual, a lot of flexibility can be applied!
Virtual Peer-to-Peer Ideas for the Competitive
24. Talent show
Recruit passionate peer-to-peer volunteers and have them showcase their talent with a virtual talent show!
First, your volunteers will promote the show in the weeks leading up to it, all while collecting gifts along the way. Donors will be sure to give knowing that it’s in support of their loved ones’ talents.
Then, have each of your participants send in a video of them showing off what they got. This can be a musical number, a choreographed dance, or a stand-up comedy bit. Then, compile all of these videos, organize them by type, and play them together to a live virtual audience.
BONUS – See this idea in action!
Junior Achievement and Accenture partnered together to host its first virtual Accenture’s Got Talent event. Then, they had donors “vote” for their favorite one by giving a small monetary donation.
This event was so successful that it reached 170% of its original fundraising goal!
Do any of your supporters have a sweet tooth?
Dessert bake-offs are pretty simple to host, but the format of it is entirely up to you. For instance, you might have your peer-to-peer participants all receive the same ingredients in the mail and have them come up with their very own dessert creation.
Or, you might allow each of them to make the best version of one delicious baked good, like the perfect chocolate chip cookies.
The thing with bake-offs is that it’s a little harder to pull off virtually, especially since there isn’t anyone to taste test the creations. You might consider giving a prize for something other than taste, like best looking or fastest made cake. And, make sure that participants document the baking process, whether it’s with a livestream or a series of photo updates!
26. Trivia night
Get those gears turning with a fun but competitive virtual trivia night.
Not only can your peer-to-peer fundraisers show off their knowledge, but it brings them together for a night of friendly competition.
You might design trivia questions related to your mission and divide your participants into teams. Not only will they enjoy competing against each other, but this competitive excitement can raise a good amount of funds!
BONUS – See this idea in action!
Junior Achievement of Chicago hosted a 2020 CIBC Bank Virtual trivia event. Taking place entirely online, each participating team joined a livestream and used Google Forms to submit trivia question answers accordingly.
With this format, Junior Achievement of Chicago’s virtual trivia night was able to go past their goal of $10,000 and provide an exciting night to supporters!
27. Rubber ducky race
A rubber ducky race is a fundraising event that empowers your nonprofit and community to come together by “adopting” rubber ducks and racing them in a waterway.
To pivot this to a peer-to-peer event, have each of your volunteers have one duck to start. Then, with every $100 (this amount can change) they raise, they’ll get one more rubber duck added to the race. This way, the peer-to-peer participant with the most funds raised, has the largest chance of winning the race!
While viewers and peer-to-peer fundraisers are at home, you’ll assign a specific nonprofit team member to collect these rubber ducks, ordain them with the necessary team names, and drop them into a waterway to see which one wins.
Livestream the rubber ducky race so that participants and donors can see who wins in real-time!
28. Remote control car/boat race
Remote controlled cars or boat races are popular fundraising events that many organizations have found success in hosting. With the right tools and planning, this too can be converted into a virtual format!
Have your peer-to-peer participants build a remote control car or boat. You might offer some assistance with general instructions or simple tools that they can use. Then, they need to film their device driving or sailing a predetermined distance.
Your organization will then collect each of these videos and compile them to create a “virtual race.” The team with the fastest device wins!
29. Murder mystery event
Gather your Sherlock-loving supporters with a fun murder mystery event!
Put your peer-to-peer participants into groups to solve a “mystery.” The best part is that this can be held entirely online! Your participants can join a group call and explore the story using videos, images, and audio. Be creative with the clues that you send them as they will be trying to create a narrative.
Either send all of this online content to the teams individually or post them on a dedicated website that hosts all of the information. The team that solves the mystery first can then win a fun prize!
30. Casino night
While this might not be kind to the wallet, at least your donors will be glad that they’re supporting a good cause.
Invite your peer-to-peer participants to a casino night fundraising event! Beforehand, they can collect gifts and funds that they’ll use at the event itself. To “cash in” more money during the event, they’ll need to incentivize more donations from their friends and families!
Virtual Peer-to-Peer Ideas for Families
31. Scavenger hunt
For all those treasure hunt lovers, scavenger hunts are some of the most exciting family-friendly fundraising events.
Have your peer-to-peer participants invite their own family and friends to work together as a team and complete a list of actions or items. To ensure that anyone can participate no matter where they are, think of common things that can be done in every community and neighborhood.
For instance, you might include these on your virtual scavenger hunt list:
- Today’s local newspaper
- A coffee shop
- A public park
- Squirrels or pigeons
- Dogs walking
Have the teams either collect or take photos of the items. The team that completes everything on the list first can win a fun prize!
You can go a step further and even use a customizable virtual scavenger hunt app. This way, the list and proof of all items are hosted in one convenient space. You can also easily check in and see which team is currently in the lead!
32. Field Day
Bring the whole family together with a virtual field day!
Have your peer-to-peer participants work together with their friends or families as a team. Then, they’ll compete against other teams during a virtual field day. Think of activities that can be done at home, like an egg spoon race or a saltine cracker eating contest.
You might even consider sending a package to your virtual teams with supplies like potato sacks for a potato sack race.
33. Costume contest
Costume contests are perfect for Halloween or any activity that involves kids. Your peer-to-peer participants can either create a costume for themselves or for someone in their family to model and show off.
Then, each participant will submit photos of their costume to your organization. For an easy voting experience, we recommend displaying each photo on a dedicated eCommerce page. Then, donors can browse through and “vote” for their favorite by giving a predetermined amount.
You already know that peer-to-peer fundraising can not only help you reach those necessary goals, but also aids in spreading the word of your mission.
If you do gain some new donors through your own virtual peer-to-peer event, remember to follow up and show ample donor appreciation. This way, you set these new relationships up on the right foot!
For more guidance on how to conduct a successful virtual peer-to-peer event, we recommend exploring the following resources:
- Peer-to-Peer Fundraising | The Ultimate Guide. Get back to basics and explore our dedicated guide to peer-to-peer fundraising. Learn about the common steps to launching this type of event and any current best practices.
- 10 Types of Fundraising Event Software for Virtual Events. What are the tools that every virtual fundraising leader needs? Read this list to learn about the 10 necessary types and then explore specific options in each one!
- Virtual Event Planner. Ready to start planning a virtual event now? Download our free virtual event planner to set your organization up for success!