Abby Jarvis of Qgiv is back today to talk about events with a peer-to-peer fundraising component and how to get your supporters to fundraise for you. ~ Kristina
Guest Post by Abby Jarvis
When running an event, it’s so easy to focus on getting tons of registrants and to neglect everything else. It’s so satisfying to see registrations come pouring in! But registrations are only half of the equation when you’re running a peer-to-peer event. They’re super important, of course, but the key to success is to get people registered and then to get them involved in the fundraising process.
And that second part can be a real doozy.
It’s easy to wrap our minds around how to get people to sign up to participate in a walk or a run. Trying to think of ways to inspire them to raise money for you is much harder. Luckily, we’ve watched our clients try some pretty amazing tactics to boost participant fundraising in peer-to-peer events. Here are three big takeaways you can apply to your own event.
Here are three big takeaways you can apply to your own event.
Tell a Breathtaking Story
Sure, some people will sign up for your event because they’re passionate about your cause and want to raise money to make a difference in the world. But lots of people sign up for events because the event itself sounds fun. The run, the walk, the bike, the race – whatever it is, it sounds like something they want to do. So getting them to sign up is easy.
So how do you inspire those people to raise money?
The best thing you can do is to tell a breath-taking story that takes their enthusiasm for the event and turns it into enthusiasm for your cause.
Remember, telling this story needs to be inspirational enough that they’ll step outside their comfort zones and raise money for you. That means your story should be:
- Centered on real people
This isn’t the place to toot your organization’s proverbial horn. You’re awesome, but people want to raise money for other people, not for organizations.
- Specific, not nebulous
Pick one person, one storyline, one point. Trying to cover too much ground in your story will muddy the narrative and dilute the point you’re making.
There’s a time and place for facts and statistics, but your story should elicit an emotional response.
Your story doesn’t have to be complicated to be successful. One of our clients could sum up the narrative for their entire campaign in one sentence: “Our kids don’t have recess.” Their simple, powerful statement drove their whole campaign and helped them meet (and exceed!) their fundraising goal.
What’s your story? Tell it to your participants!
Give Them the Right Tools
You’re a professional fundraiser. You’re full of knowledge about best practices, successful strategies, bad habits, and other tidbits that are ingrained in your everyday life.
But remember this: while you’re a professional in this field, your fundraising participants are not.
They don’t have the tools and knowledge you do, and they need guidance if they’re going to be successful fundraisers.
Compiling some tips for new fundraisers goes a long way towards encouraging them to actively raise money for you. We’ve seen our clients put together fact sheets, checklists, infographics, and more that aim to give new participants a crash-course in effective fundraising. Some information you’ll want to consider giving your recruits include
- A quick rundown of tools they can access on your P2P fundraising platform
- Best practices for asking for support
- Sample emails and/or social posts
- Tips on when to post or email potential donors
- Resources they can use to bolster their appeals (like photos, stories, or quotes)
Of course, the tools you provide your fundraisers will depend largely on the type of fundraiser you’re running and what you want your participants to accomplish. But, whatever you choose to include, building a fundraising “toolbox” for your participants will go a long way towards helping them meet their fundraising goals.
Make Fundraising a Game
You know better than anyone that fundraising can be boring. Or intimidating. Or onerous. Or whatever other negative emotions it can bring up in someone who’s not familiar with the ins and outs of raising money for an amazing cause.
Your participants (probably) have zero fundraising experience, and they probably have lots of other important stuff going on in their lives. To really get people involved in raising money for you, you need to make it fun!
There are tons of ways to make fundraising like a game instead of like a chore or obligation. Try things like:
- Encouraging Friendly Competition
You have to be careful to keep the “friendly” part in this sentence relevant, but encouraging friendly competition is a great way to keep people involved. You can do this a number of different ways, whether it’s by using leaderboards, building badges, or using social posts.
- Incentivizing Fundraising
Any activity is more fun if there’s a reward (or the potential for a reward) at the end. The possibilities for incentivizing fundraising are endless – we’ve seen nonprofits offer anything from t-shirts to raffle tickets to gift certificates to their fundraisers.
- Recognizing Fundraisers’ Hard Work
Your fundraisers support you and raise money for you because they are passionate about your cause. But part of their motivation for supporting you is because doing good makes them feel good! You can encourage people to continue fundraising by making them feel good about the work they’re doing. Whether you’re thanking them in person, calling them, sending emails, or posting about their accomplishments online, recognizing the hard work they’re doing will make them feel good about themselves and encourage other fundraisers to follow in their footsteps.
Your own experiences as a fundraiser give you a unique insight into what will excite your participants and keep them involved in the fundraising process. Use your imagination – you’ll come up with something wonderful!
Peer-to-peer fundraising is a great way to raise money, build relationships with your supporters, and boost your nonprofit’s visibility in your community. The secret to a successful fundraiser is to have successful fundraisers – and we hope this article will help you do that.
If you want more ideas about how you can inspire and engage your peer-to-peer fundraisers, check out this sweet (pun totally intended) eBook Qgiv published. It’s called “How to Find & Engage Your P2Peeps” and yes, it IS illustrated with marshmallow Peeps.
Abby Jarvis is a blogger, marketer, and communications coordinator for Qgiv, an online fundraising service provider. When she’s not working at Qgiv, Abby can usually be found reading, finding cool hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Central Florida, or binge-watching sci-fi shows on Netflix.