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Peer-to-peer fundraising

Peer to peer fundraising is a strategy employed by nonprofit organizations, community outreach programs and campaigns to raise funds and increase their donor base. It leverages the existing supporters to reach out to others in their own network to donate or agree to donate. It is one of the fastest growing aspects of nonprofit software and strategy.

Peer to peer fundraising can be very effective in growing a donor database as you can easily reach more people than you could with a direct messaging campaign. If your organization has a list of supporters or members, say 1000, then those supporters will be connected to a multiple of that 1000 in their own friend groups, work connections and so on. These people would be impossible to target otherwise. By using the supporters themselves to do the asking you are gaining a huge benefit in the sense that the ‘ask’ is personal, tailored and comes with the social proof of someone who is trusted doing the asking. This makes the potential of that person being willing to donate or even agree to be contacted for a donation much, much higher. Ask yourself, would you be more likely to donate based on a recommendation from a friend, or from a random organization that asks you out of nowhere?

What is the difference between crowdfunding and peer to peer fundraising campaigns? Check out this video explain

P2P fundraising also allows you to access the huge reach of social media. Your average supporter probably has multiple social media accounts, each with their own reach, for example people have on average about 250 friends on FB. Your organization being showcased in a personal post on any channel is far more effective than fundraising posts from the organization’s own social media. Plus you have the supporter’s enthusiasm and local knowledge being used to drive the fundraising effort.

Why is p2p so valuable now?

So why is peer-to-peer fundraising so beneficial to nonprofits? With Covid disrupting so much of normal fundraising efforts it is good to remember these three things: Regular, Resources and Reach.

Fundraising campaigns, crowdfunding and direct marketing are all very time consuming for nonprofits and are not always very successful in hitting targets. They are often time-bound efforts taking place at certain times. P2P fundraising is far more cost effective in that it uses the energy of supporters and it is always-on, creating a steady stream of donations.

The resources available to a nonprofit staff in terms of digital tools, budgets and time are significant. Even though individual supporters may not have these resources they may not need them. Individual supporters access to potential donors come free with social media profiles and personal relationships. In this sense, peer-to-peer fundraising accesses huge resources from the supporter network and uses that to drive new donations.

The most effective marketing and fundraising technique is word of mouth, it is the holy grail of all marketing campaigns. Count up the reach of one individual supporter in their core network [family, friends, acquaintances] and their social network and it means that each supporter could grow your reach by up to 1000 people by the most effective method - word of mouth. Now that is an effective fundraising strategy.

Leveraging digital to run your peer to peer donor recruitment

Fundraising is changing and finding new supporters who are willing to donate is an always-on activity. Ecanvasser provides every one of your supporters the ability to capture new donors. Now they can do this in the community where they are already having conversations and bring new donors into your database for outreach efforts. Don’t be tied to online fundraising and yearly fundraising drives, make p2p fundraising a core activity for all of your supporters wherever they are.

Fundraising use case step by step

1. Import database of contacts [unactivated donors]

2. Map database to understand how to strategize outreach

3. Segment database and assign to local team members for fundraising outreach

4. Supporters outreach via phone, SMS, email or face-to-face with desired outcome toggling the contact to Donor

5. Fundraising manager filters CRM by Donor [Yes] and sets up a workflow for email or SMS to push the donation options to the contact.

6. Donation options might be third party Text-to-donate vendors eg Kindful, Classy, Qgiv….or it might be a web page with widget option to donate set sums, eg Anedot

Alternatively, instruct all supporters/team members to use Ecanvasser Go app to find new donors in their micro-community - Add new contact and toggle to Donor [Yes] - Filter CRM by Donor [Yes] and continue as above. Either way this more targeted direct outreach is far more effective rather than blasting people with donation emails.

Peer to peer fundraising

Virtual fundraising events

There are a few core ideas that drive fundraising. Thinking about these ideas helps when designing online fundraising efforts:

1. Your community and donors want to feel part of something, if you can make your mission theirs as well as yours, you will be on the right track.

2. Your supporters want to make a difference with their contributions of time or money. Make it clear how they will be making an impact with their contribution. Examples of impact will move them to action.

3. Supporters want to be recognized as such. If you can give supporters that recognition as part of the contribution process it will be a huge motivator for people.

Use these for virtual events and you will see as much impact as you would at an in-person event. Remember virtual fundraisers are an opportunity to get people to share their stories, recognize donors and then ask for support. Focus on great content and speakers in order to get people interested as you cannot wow them with great locations or perks at the moment. Make sure to share your organization story and how you have impacted your community, showcase the challenges and the efforts made. Here are a few tips for your online fundraisers:

Some tips for online fundraising and virtual events

1. Make your virtual event easy to donate from with relevant text-to-donate links and links to web donation pages.

2. Use your recent sponsors and donors to storytell why fundraising is effective and essential.

3. Focus your virtual event on powerful and relevant storytelling

4. Make your fundraising goal apparent to attendees to show your progress

5. Open fundraising channels before the event and leave them open after the event

Businesses and individuals in your community will be struggling at this time so be mindful of this when thinking about fundraising. That being said this is also a time of unprecedented social solidarity and might be a great time to get collaboration together to crowdsource ideas as well as funding. Use your virtual events to leverage support for your mission and your community, this may not always be a monetary contribution.

Peer to peer fundraising software


Ecanvasser is a community software application designed for nonprofits, associations and political organizations to manage their members and engage their communities. Local network mapping, membership management, and our mobile apps will allow you to engage the wider community and transform what you think is possible. Collect and understand data from your community to fundraise and bring momentum to your campaigns. Ecanvasser turns organizations into movements.


Kindful's fundraising and donor management software will help you understand your donors like never before. Kindful helps you build deeper relationships with your donors and keeps you from wasting time on administrative tasks. Kindful provides donor management, fundraising tools, donor communication, tracking & reporting, and more! You're changing the world, and you should be able to rely on partners who are not only experts in their field but who also care about your mission.


Qgiv exists to help nonprofit and faith-based organizations raise more with a comprehensive suite of fundraising tools featuring donation forms, event registration, peer-to-peer fundraising, text giving with outbound messaging, and app-based auctions. Unlimited users with unlimited access to tools and support, no long-term contracts, and integrations with leading CRM and email tools make it easy for nonprofits to experiment with new technology and grow their digital fundraising programs.


Classy is a social enterprise that creates world-class online fundraising tools for nonprofits, modernizing the giving experience to accelerate social impact around the world. Since 2011, more than 4,000 nonprofits have collectively raised over one billion dollars on the Classy platform. From crowdfunding to peer-to-peer fundraising, event registration & management, and one-time or recurring donations, nonprofits of all sizes trust Classy to manage all of their online fundraising under one roof.

Vendor outlines with thanks to Capterra

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