10 Great Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Ideas

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Trying something new feels intimidating, but the potential of peer-to-peer fundraising to help you quickly reach your fundraising goals makes it worth considering. Peer-to-peer fundraising—individuals raising money for a cause with the help of their family and friends—is fun and easy, especially when you combine traditional peer-to-peer fundraising with other methods.

Finding new ideas can be challenging, so we have pulled together a few interesting methods to get you started.  Your idea has to be inspiring enough that it will get others excited to share with their family and friends. The results can be absolutely inspiring if you do it right!   It is amazing to experience the excitement and enthusiasm of your donors rallying behind your cause with just the right campaign.  People are much more likely to give if they know the person asking, and participants involved feel the cause is worth their time and effort. How do you find that combination of what really resonates with your donors to get them excited to raise money for your cause?

Check out Qgiv’s list of 10 fun peer-to-peer fundraising ideas to get you started:

1. Run. Walk. Swim

Athletic events are what most people think of when they start thinking about peer-to-peer fundraising. Runs are very popular events, and you can easily sell team T-shirts to raise extra fundraising dollars.  Include a “fun walk” to include families with children. Hold it annually and invite sponsors to have tents at the finish line with water/sports drinks and even craft beer for the finishers. If you want to read a fantastic story about how one nonprofit met (and exceeded!) their fundraising goal with a family-friendly walk, check out this article about The Education Cooperative’s “Walk & Roll” event.

How to Do It: After you’ve set up your event and arranged the details, invite your supporters to set up fundraising pages. They can share their page to friends and family, ask them to donate, or encourage them to register.

2. Bowl-a-Thon

This is a popular way to get teams together in friendly competition in a really fun and social environment. Get the competition going with suggesting the teams come up with team names and offer a prize for the most creative ones.  You can also include donated prizes for silly achievements like most “gutter balls” to take the pressure off your participants.

How to Do It: This is an awesome opportunity to encourage friendly competition between teams! Reach out to local businesses to see if they have groups of employees who would be interested in creating a team — it’s great for your nonprofit, is an opportunity for them to bond with each other, and could lead to relationships with businesses down the road.

3. Honor a special someone

Starting a peer-to-peer fundraiser in someone’s honor is a powerful way to focus your fundraising on sharing a very personal story that your organization supports.  Include the opportunity to win artwork made by a child that needs help for the most money raised in their honor or other incentives. These can be especially powerful if the honoree is personally invested in the same cause you’re supporting with your peer-to-peer fundraising.

How to Do It: Set up a peer-to-peer event that allows people to set up pages honoring their loved ones. Give them the tools to share their page, but let them take the lead on how they want to spread the word.

4. Pub crawls in your local community

Get locals together for a pub/coffee/dessert crawl around your town. Ask businesses ahead of time if they can offer any discounts for your event. Make it more fun for adding a theme and wearing costumes around a holiday like Halloween, Valentine’s Day, or the 4th of July!

How to Do It: This is an excellent incentive for peer-to-peer fundraisers. It’s also the perfect opportunity to recognize top fundraisers! Announce winners for each fundraising category at each new spot: think of categories like top team, top fundraiser, best fundraising page, etc.

5. Exchange charity donations for wedding gifts

Have wedding guests support important charities instead of buying the couple things they don’t need.  How cool is it to have puppies available for adoption instead of flowers for bridesmaids? Couples can also set up a fundraising page where people can go donate instead of buying something from a registry, and they can leave their well-wishes for the couple right on the fundraising page.

How to Do It: This setup can be similar to the fundraiser for a loved one. Set up a peer-to-peer event that allows individuals to create a page for a specific life event — in this case, a wedding! Give the happy couple the tools they need to explain why they’re supporting your organization on their special day.

6. Hold a bake sale

Bake sales never go out of style.  Who doesn’t love buying treats that benefit a worthy nonprofit organization? Expand your participation by offering more healthy gluten-free and low sugar alternative choices.  Exchange yummy treats for donations at schools and churches.

How to Do It: Ready for more friendly competition? Ask each fundraiser to bring in their favorite baked good for donors to sample. Donors then “vote” on who brought the best goodies by donating to their fundraising page. Each vote is $1 — and any remaining food can be sold to donors who couldn’t get enough.

7. Share love at your holiday party

Throw an annual holiday peer-to-peer event! Participants can set up their own pages to share with friends and family as the event approaches. Then, acknowledge outstanding participants and donors at your party! You can also include auctioned items and special “live” auction items at your party to make it more entertaining for your guests.

How to Do It: This can be approached a number of different ways. Run is as a traditional peer-to-peer event and hold the holiday party as the culmination of the fundraiser. Alternatively, you could encourage participants to get as many friends and family members as possible to “sell” admittance to the party in return for a donation. Get creative!

8. Game Night

Casino nights are popular events to raise money for your cause. Have them register for a donation fee and exchange with “funny” money and award prizes for those with the biggest wins of the night. Offer a way to donate money to your online peer-to-peer event, and consider incentivizing donors with chips or “funny money” after they give.

How to Do It: You can approach this the same way you promote a holiday party. If you use tools like text fundraising for your peer-to-peer event, participants can encourage their attending friends and family to donate and get more chips just by texting the participant’s unique keyword to your number.

9. Creative challenges

Grow beards, take a polar plunge, or race rubber duckies in a pond! Be really creative and fun with it and share, share and share on social media to get attention for your event. Coming up with a creative challenge can help you get more attention during your event – lots of people do fun runs or 5ks, so an unusual challenge will help you stand out!

Check out this creative take on peer-to-peer fundraising where participants raised money before plunging into an icy lake. They raised more than $121,000!

How to Do It: Let your imagination run wild! Spend a while brainstorming what unique events are uniquely suited to your nonprofit, your mission, your budget, and even your location. At Qgiv, we’ve seen all kinds of cool stuff: dragon races, paper airplane contests, fashion shows — you’re only limited by your imagination!

10.  Golf Outings

Annual golf outings are a great fundraising idea.  Teams are important here; they can work together to raise more money leading up to the tournament and recruit other people to participate.  Bring in sponsorships to host prizes or recognition for achievements like “closest to the hole” and “hole in ones” to add to the competition.   Be sure you recruit a lot of volunteers to offer additional raffle items during the event.

How to Do It: Is there anything more classic than a golf tournament fundraiser? This can work exactly like the tournaments that have been going on for decades. This time, have participants collect pledges and donations online instead of in person.

And there are new fundraising ideas that are taking off virally in social media at a more frequent pace than we have ever seen… considering the speed with which ideas are shared, you merely need to pay attention to what’s trending.  And a great place to start is with your donors!

Go to Your Donors for Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Ideas

Are you listening to what your donors are talking about, liking and sharing on social media?  This is an excellent place to start.  What about your community?

There are unique attributes to every community that are a perfect environment for your next fundraising idea. Are you near a walkable downtown, a painting or pottery studio, a nice restaurant, or even a bowling alley?  These places provide excellent venues to get people together to raise money for your organization. If your donors are already excited about something local, they’ll be more likely to get involved with a peer-to-peer fundraiser that incorporates it.

Take time to be creative with the idea you choose.  It’s easier to spread the word and get people excited about your cause with a memorable slogan and bright colorful image that is easily shared on social media if you’ve come up with a creative idea.  It should be catchy, easy to say, and have a direct link to the unique experience you are creating.

Idea: poll your existing donors, volunteers, and other event participants for ideas early, and make sure not to overlook the power of communicating a great fundraising idea in a creative way.

What to Do with Your Unique Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Idea

Now that you have an idea to run with, what do you do next?

It takes some thoughtful planning to make sure you have the right tools to attract team members and get them excited to participate in your event. Planning with a few key people, determining roles and responsibilities of who will do what at what time is invaluable to pulling off a successful event.

Engage in working sessions and have people bring their laptops and smart phones with them to execute on some of your needed activities right there on the spot.

And don’t forget to have fun!  Meet at a local restaurant or bar to encourage everyone to come to your meeting. Your fundraisers are busy people with other jobs and responsibilities so make sure your meetings are productive and on point.  Let them know ahead of time what you will be discussing and to have them come prepared. Be sure to communicate the needs of your plan and encourage open discussion to new ideas of how things can be done better.

When team leaders are given extra responsibility, make sure you make it easy for them to check in on progress and make it easy to ask for help if something unexpected gets in the way…encourage people to help others to reach their goal.

How to Share Your Peer-to-Peer Event

Broadcast your event to as many people as possible and make the details clear – make sure the why, how, what, and when are easy to find in all your communications.  This is sometimes overlooked!

People may see a great idea on a Facebook post, but it doesn’t always list all the important details that help them participate.  If you can’t include all the relevant details in a post, be sure to link to additional information (and your registration page!) on the event specifics and who to contact for more information.  People do want to get involved; don’t discourage their enthusiasm by making it hard for them to participate.

Once your event is set up and running, it’s time to turn your attention to keeping donors motivated for the duration of the peer-to-peer fundraising event.

Having colorful branded online fundraising pages with progress meters to show how teams are doing is important to keep motivation levels high.  Make sure your event page and individual participant pages are eye-catching and keep with the theme of your event.

Keeping in touch with team participants through email campaigns you can schedule, depending on how close to your goal, makes your life easier.  Communication is critical to keeping participants involved, but it takes a lot of effort. Schedule communications based on your participants’ progress and set them to send automatically. This helps you let them know how they are doing and helps them see how others are doing, which will drive friendly competition between groups. That can boost your fundraising exponentially!

How to Keep Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Participants Motivated

Make sure you don’t overlook the little things that keep teams motivated over the duration of your event!

Schedule participant check-ins at major milestones so participants can get together and share their successes and challenges. This will help teams improve their fundraising tactics.  It is important to share at critical moments to reiterate the common goal that you are reaching for, ensure that it is attainable, and offer needed encouragement and appreciation for all of their efforts, no matter how small. Every little bit counts when it comes to fundraising dollars.

People want to know they are making a difference by dedicating their time and effort to your cause.  Don’t overlook sharing your stories about how you have specifically helped and had an impact on changing one life.  The more personal the story, the more impact it will have.

Fundraising is closely tied to emotions of how people feel when experiencing and interacting with your organization.  Statistics are important to share, but have less meaning to driving team members to participate in your event than a tangible way they have the power to change lives.  Donors love to donate because of the direct impact they are having to make the world a better place. You are making this possible for them, in an easy and fun way through your event!  At any chance possible, incorporate tangible ways that fundraisers can physically have direct interaction with the very people they are raising money for.

A fantastic way to keep peer-to-peer fundraising participants motivated is to give them a fundraising toolkit — here are some awesome examples!

Tips for Sharing Your Peer-to-Peer Fundraiser on Social Media

Crowdfunding around a powerful fundraising idea is made easier today with social media.  The ability to visually tell your story and spread it to others takes less time than it has ever been before… but you’re competing with everyone else.

You don’t need a lot of experience to use social media effectively.  Enlist help from younger adults if needed to get started.  Once you start, you will be off and running…commenting, sharing and reposting away to assist your cause. Share your event, and make sure to show and tell your participants how easy it is to share your event.  The cascading effect can reach friends of friends, and that is the magic that is peer-to-peer fundraising. People donate to people they know and love already.  Familiarity to your cause increases with frequency of seeing it on friends’ Facebook timelines and Twitter feeds.

Get Local Businesses Involved in Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

It is nice when you can make your event very personal to your community, making it a unique event they couldn’t experience anywhere else.  Be sure to not be shy in asking local shops in participating.  They love opportunities to bring in more customers and participate in community-friendly activities.

Include opportunities where their logo can be prominently displayed online and in signage throughout your event. Invite them to milestone check-ins and the final event and personally thank them for their support of making your event possible.

Don’t stop at just one sponsor! Enlist as many as you can with the help of your organizers.  A little effort in the beginning reaching out and asking for help goes a long way in creating momentum for a successful event.

Build Peer-to-Peer Spirit by Selling Event Merchandise

Selling promotional items that are tied to your event can generate additional revenue to get you to your goals faster.  Wristbands, T-shirts, stickers, pins, and hats have the dual purpose of spreading the word of your event and giving participants have something to show for their time and contribution.  Consider asking friends who are designers or even local sponsors to contribute their artwork.

Another idea to try is to have the people (or animals) you are helping with your cause actually create the artwork for your T-shirt. It can have a unique and powerful effect in communication your mission. Using online stores as part of your fundraising event can take the pressure off the process and make this part easy.  If participants can easily see your branded items and purchase them online as part of the registration process, it makes the fundraising part easier.

The power of having participants wear your t-shirt on the day of the event enhances the community feeling and visibility of what you are trying to accomplish and should not be overlooked.  A team of people in brightly colored shirts with your organization’s logo helping the community is a great marketing opportunity to add to your newsletters and website to get others excited to join you in your cause.

Want to learn more about selling merchandise at a peer-to-peer fundraising event? We wrote you a guide!

Keep Participants Involved in Other Peer-to-Peer Fundraisers

Have your donors come back for more!  Once you have executed an amazing event, think immediately of how you can replicate your success next time.  Incorporate what worked, and, even more important, remove what didn’t work for your next event.

It is important to always have your pulse on how your donors are feeling as they are participating.  Collecting their feedback during and after the event will help you plan your next fundraiser even more effectively.

Do participants know how they are doing during the event? Do they feel they are contributing in a meaningful way? Are their time and effort being put to good use?  Ask them for their experiences and for insight into how you can make your next event even better.

Thanking donors after the event is sometimes overlooked by nonprofits. But it can be just what it takes to make sure they participate in your upcoming events!  It’s important to always be looking towards the future of what you are going to do next to excite your donors.

Retaining donors after you have worked hard on putting on your peer-to-peer event should be thought of as soon as you begin.  Reaching out to share a monthly newsletter, even when you are not hosting an event, keeps your organization top of mind.  Communicate appreciation and thanks to all of your supporters.  It’s amazing how the power of a personal thank-you note (including messaging about how they personally contributed to your organization!) can inspire a donor.

Want to learn more about peer-to-peer fundraising? Head over to this roundup of 8 fantastic peer-to-peer fundraising resources.

We hope these 10 peer-to-peer fundraising ideas inspired you!  With over 12 years of helping fundraisers raise more money for their nonprofits, Qgiv is ready to help you create the next awesome event at your organization.  Call us at 888.855.9595 or learn more about our peer-to-peer fundraising platform here.

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