Guest blog by Adam Weinger
Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns have become more than just an innovative approach to online fundraising: they’re now the standard.
If you’re not familiar with how peer-to-peer campaigns work, let’s back up to recap the basics:
Peer-to-peer campaigns turn donors into fundraisers by equipping them with personalized online fundraising pages that they can share via social media (and other channels).
Their friends and family donate directly to them, and the money they raise goes back to your nonprofit.
Usually, the campaign concludes with some kind of event (typically a race, bikeathon, or other active fundraiser).
As more and more nonprofits find ways to incorporate P2P into their fundraising strategies, it’s become a little tougher to stand out among the crowd — and more important to make your communications spot on, every time.
Here, we’ll go through 5 mistakes you might be making as you promote your campaign. But don’t worry! We’ll also make sure you know how to fix them.
Let’s take a look at the main points:
- You’re not mobile-ready.
- You’re relying on text to get your message across.
- You’re not providing next steps for your donors.
- You’re making it all about you.
- You think social media is the only way.
With that in mind, it’s time to get started!
Think back to the last time you checked your email, browsed Facebook, or did a quick Google search.
More than likely, you were using your phone.
Your donors are on their smartphones, too. In fact, 91% of Americans own a cell phone. And, in the last year alone, mobile giving donations have increased by 205%.
It’s safe to say the best time to make the move to a fully mobile-optimized communications strategy is right now.
If you’re doing most of your peer-to-peer communications on social media (like Facebook and Twitter), you’re probably safe, since those platforms have mobile apps that are designed for phones and tablets.
But, there are a lot of other types of mobile communications you should be using!
For example, have you texted your donors lately?
Whether you’re thanking a new donor or actually accepting donations, you can have a direct path to your supporters by crafting short, impactful text messages.
And while you don’t want texting to be your primary method of communication (stay online for that), choosing to send important or timely information over text is a great way to instantly reach your supporters.
Unlike emails, which can easily pile up and go overlooked, 99% of texts are opened and read within the first five minutes of being received.
When you do send an email, make sure it’s ready for the small screen too.
Optimize your email blasts and newsletters so that they’re perfectly readable on a phone or tablet.
Include bright donation buttons, quickly-scannable content, and only a few images (to prevent slow loading times).
Most importantly, make sure your online donation pages are mobile-ready so that your donors can take action right there, on their phones. And don’t forget to provide your text-to-give information!
In Short: If you can’t connect with your donors on mobile platforms, you might be missing out on seriously valuable opportunities. Consider making text and mobile-friendly emails a part of your peer-to-peer campaign.
If every social media message your campaign posts contains a large wall of text, heads up: something’s not right here.
Now more than ever, we live in a scanning society.
What that means is that your audience is less likely to read your post (or email or text) and more likely to skim it. They want an easy-to-digest, immediately enticing bite of information with every communication you send.
In order to accommodate — and stand out on their newsfeeds — you really need to grab their attention and get your point across fast.
The absolute best way to do just that is to make your posts as visual as possible. Videos, photos, and infographics are all awesome ways to catch the eye of your donors.
And, since your supporters will be promoting the campaign to their own networks to fundraise themselves, you’ll need to create super-shareable content that’s appealing to a wide audience.
Here are some specific ways to make your communications more accessible:
- Keep videos short. Preferably, any clips you post or send out in your newsletter should be under one minute long. That might seem short, but trust us: that’s plenty of time to get your point across. (Tip: if you need more time to really show your donors something, create a series of short videos that you release over the course of your campaign.)
- Show — don’t tell. Sure, you could write your supporters an essay on where their money is going. A more useful tactic? Let them really see what you’re doing by providing photo or video evidence. If that’s not an option, put together a colorful infographic that makes statistics and facts a bit more tangible (and interesting).
- Livestream your event. If you’re pairing your peer-to-peer campaign with an event, take it to the Internet! Thanks to online services like Facebook Live and Periscope, it’s easy to include at-home supporters in all the on-site fundraising activities. (Tip: this is another awesome time to advertise your text-to-give and online donation options!)
In Short: Visuals are the most engaging way to interact with supporters online. Make multimedia posts a regular part of your communications strategy throughout your peer-to-peer campaign in order to attract more supporters (and donations!).
Let’s say a potential donor has stumbled onto your nonprofit’s Facebook page after checking out a friend’s personal fundraising page for your campaign.
She’s read a few of your posts and is pretty interested in your cause, but after viewing some of your content and learning about your upcoming event, she just exits the page and moves on.
We don’t have to tell you why this is not an ideal scenario!
Yes, your communications should inform, entertain, and evoke an emotional connection, but most importantly, they should have one central goal: to capture donations!
So, what was the missing piece in our example scenario? Put simply, this example donor didn’t give because she wasn’t asked.
For this reason, most (if not all) of your communications across all platforms should include some kind of call to action.
These can include:
- Links to online donation forms
- Text-to-give instructions
- Links to register for an upcoming event
- Social sharing buttons
- Links to create a personal fundraising page
- Matching gift requests
- Community service opportunity sign-ups
As you’re deciding where to place these invitations, try to vary your approach. If you’re always punctuating your Tweets or texts with the same links, your donors will either run out of opportunities or get tired of being asked for the same thing.
Instead, have different calls to action that are relevant to the content itself.
For example, if you’re posting an Instagram photo that throws it back to last year’s successful auction, invite your followers to purchase tickets for this year’s or browse your current online auction items.
But don’t use that photo as a chance to link to an unrelated volunteer registration form. Your donors will be able to tell that it’s inorganic and forced, and they won’t be as responsive.
You want these to feel natural and intuitive so that your donors have a place to direct their excitement after reading your posts.
In Short: Remember to include next steps in your messages throughout your peer-to-peer campaign. No matter how great your campaign looks, it’s not successful if it’s not bringing in donations. And you won’t get donations unless you ask for them!
We understand that your charity is doing amazing things.
However, it’s important to remember that none of that would be possible without your donors. And it’s important for you to remind your donors of that too!
Especially during peer-to-peer campaigns, your donors are truly the backbone of your fundraising efforts. That’s why it’s so crucial for you to stay engaged with them throughout the campaign and make sure they know their hard work is appreciated.
Here are just a few ways you can ensure your fundraisers feel good:
- Interact with them online. Thanks to social media, you’ve never been closer to your supporters. If you see your donors sharing your posts or creating their own, don’t be afraid to comment or Tweet them back! Moreover, you should encourage interaction on their end by asking questions or starting a discussion.
- Highlight overachievers. While you should definitely interact with all your fundraisers, you should make a special effort to highlight those who’ve gone above and beyond. Thank them with personal shout-outs or feature a “Donor of the Week” who’s surpassed expectations. (Tip: you can ask your followers to comment or message you with their stories for a chance to be featured, too!)
- Say “thank you.” You’ll likely bring in a ton of new donors during your P2P campaign. Don’t forget to continue relationships with your new donors after the fundraiser ends. The simplest way to communicate that your organization values their contribution is by sending a simple, prompt thank-you note. (Tip: an automated response is great, but your donors will really be impressed by a more personal message.)
Your organization means a lot to your fundraising team, but it means just as much to your supporters. Give them a chance to share their stories and acknowledge them for doing so.
In Short: Your donors are the main feature of any peer-to-peer campaign, so don’t forget to shine a light on all their hard work. Luckily, the Internet has made it easy to communicate quickly, so take advantage of how close you are to your support network.
Social media is probably the biggest communications tool you have to get the word out about peer-to-peer campaigns. Facebook and Twitter might be your primary methods of connecting with donors, but they’re not the only way.
We’ve already talked about modernizing your email strategy through mobile optimization, but there are a lot of other ways to maximize email effectiveness.
Here are a few tactics to keep in mind:
- Keep it simple. Obviously, your emails and newsletters can contain a lot more than 140 characters (or a few lines on Facebook). Even so, you want to keep your content short, sweet, and to the point.
- Break it up. Make a large amount of text appear more readable by writing short paragraphs. Headings, bullet points, and short sections are your keys to success here!
- Start with your subject. The subject line might be the last thing you write when you’re drafting your message, but it’s the first thing your reader sees. Make it compelling and relevant!
Newsletters and other specific email blasts are an awesome way to appeal to those who might not spend much time on social media but still want paperless, easy-to-read content. Plus, since these users are already online, it’ll be easier to direct them to your peer-to-peer campaign.
Tip: provide your fundraisers with customizable email templates that they can quickly send to their networks to promote your campaign!
It might seem easy to ignore the remaining segment of your donors — i.e., those who don’t live on the Internet — but actually, old-school methods like local advertisements and direct mail can still be a part of your peer-to-peer strategy.
The best way to implement a traditional marketing component is to do your research first.
Direct mail (and similar techniques) are significantly more expensive than their online counterparts, so segment your donor list first to find out who is the best target for these tactics.
In Short: Email and other more traditional methods can still play a major part in peer-to-peer campaigns if your supporter network responds well to them. Perfectly tailor your newsletters and be thoughtful when sending direct mail.
Since peer-to-peer campaigns are still relatively new to the fundraising world, it can be tough to get your communications strategy right every time.
Hopefully, you’ll be able to recognize your organization’s mistakes and change your ways if needed. The perfect campaign — and a lot of donations! — are sure to be right around the corner.
If you want more how-to’s on constructing your best peer-to-peer campaign yet, check out Fundly’s ultimate guide to peer-to-peer fundraising!
About the author: Adam Weinger is the President of Double the Donation, the leading provider of employee matching gift tools and services to nonprofits. Have questions about matching gifts or Double the Donation’s service? You can connect with Adam on LinkedIn, Twitter, or via email.