Peer-to-Peer and Network Crowdfunding

Peer-to-peer and network fundraising occurs when donors, volunteers, and other individuals fundraise for your project or cause. It’s arguably the fastest growing aspect of crowdfunding and yet relies on techniques which are as old as the hills. Just think how many times you’ve contributed to a cause you don’t know much about simply because of a neighbor, family member, or friend who asked you to do so!
What has changed, of course, is the speed with which individuals can spread the word about causes they care about and the ease of donating to an online campaign via credit card. Digital communications and secure crowdfunding platforms make it infinitely easier for everyone to give, no matter where they are in the world. 
It’s not surprising that organizations have welcomed the interest of their supporters to do more and are actively enabling them to spread the word and rally more donations. In addition to increased revenue, benefits include:
  • Exposure to new audiences from a position of trust. (The inclusion of key thought leaders or influencers can increase visibility even more significantly)
  • Improved fundraising productivity and diversification
  • Current supporters grow in commitment and loyalty
If you’re curious as to why it’s so effective, we suggesting reading this introduction to social proof. If you’re already convinced, then here are a few techniques for introducing peer-to-peer giving into your next crowdfunding campaign. While HIPGive does not feature specific peer-to-peer giving pages (yet), it’s easy to build it in to strengthen and diversify your main crowdfunding campaign.
  • Identify potential fundraisers: think about who could—and would—fundraise on your behalf. Talk to board members, volunteers, committed donors, university students, and anyone else you think might be interested to gauge their support and understand their motivation.
  • Reinforce your campaign concept: for peer-to-peer to work, your fundraisers must be able to get excited about the project itself and the creative communications campaign you’ve built to promote it. A dry, unappealing project will lead to low engagement and disappointing results.
  • Ask carefully: as a fundraiser, you know how important the ask is and this is no exception. Offer a personal invitation, explain how their talents will be put to great use, and just how much of a difference their participation will make.   
  • Empower your team: make it easy and fun for your volunteer fundraisers and give them the tools they need. As well as having the crowdfunding project page, most organizations provide a campaign brief, a script or set of talking points, social media and email messages ready to be copy/pasted, and suggested giving amounts. The key to success, though, is giving each person free reign to work in a way that best suits their personality, skills, and contacts. 
  • Recognize fundraisers’ achievements. Peer-to-peer crowdfunders are volunteering their time, talent, and contacts for the greater good, so they deserve special thanks, no matter how large or small their overall contribution. Give them credit by including them on the HIPGive team members page, celebrate their successes and welcome new donors on social media, and don’t forget to organize a special “thank you” letter, card, or even special event after the campaign is over.  
You’ll be able to tally up results and revenue totals by asking each fundraiser to keep a tally of his/her donations and donor names, and this can be compared with the Funders’ list that you can download from your HIPGive dashboard at any time.  
If you don’t think you have the resources or capacity to run a full peer-to-peer program, then you can easily introduce some aspects without overextending yourself. Why not create a staff challenge asking them to reach out to friends and family? You can increase participating by offering a small prize for the colleague who generates the most donations.
Another great strategy is to convert your recent donors into ambassadors for the campaign: within a short period after a person donates to your campaign, thank them and then invite them to share the opportunity to donate within their own networks. Again, the guys at We Did It have nailed this: here’s a sample email from their Crush Your Crowdfunding guide which invites donors to become fundraisers. As always, they recommend making it as personalized as possible.  
I wanted to reach out to thank you for your donation to ___________.
As we enter the final ____ weeks of the fundraising campaign, I wanted to ensure that the campaign reaches as wide an audience as possible so that we can achieve our fundraising goal of $_______.
The $_____we’ve raised so far puts us at ___% of our goal. I would like to ask for your help. In an effort to both raise additional funds and introduce more people to the campaign, let’s share the campaign with five friends, family, or co-workers and ask that they donate $10.
The more people that this campaign reaches, the more our story will be told.
Once again, your donations are truly appreciated. Thank you so much for your ongoing support in this campaign. Below is an email template that you can send to people to spread the campaign.
Kindest regards,
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