Peer-to-Peer Fundraising | The Ultimate Guide [Updated]

Fundraising by Type

Share this article

Peer-to-peer fundraising is a strategy that empowers supporters with fundraising tools and personalized fundraising pages to raise money on your behalf. Through peer-to-peer fundraising, your organization is able to tap into a supporters’ existing social networks to increase community awareness of your cause and expand your donor base.

Let’s dive into peer-to-peer fundraising! We’ll cover a ton of information here, including: 

What is peer-to-peer fundraising?

Peer-to-peer fundraising provides your supporters with a way to raise money on your behalf. There are different styles, but peer-to-peer fundraising can support individual fundraising, team fundraising, or a mix of both. Your nonprofit can use peer-to-peer campaigns to encourage participation in an event, get supporters involved with your mission, and raise more money! 

What is the difference between peer-to-peer and crowdfunding? 

When people hear about peer-to-peer fundraising, there can be some confusion about how it is different from crowdfunding. While the two fundraising methods have similarities, they’re very different in nature.  

Crowdfunding is a fundraising method used to raise money for a project or nonprofit from many different donors. Often, the donation amounts are smaller, and the fundraising campaign counts on word of mouth and social sharing to reach a wide audience.  

While peer-to-peer fundraising also relies on donations from multiple donors, your organization will recruit previous donors and volunteers to reach out to their networks and raise money on your behalf. Donation amounts can vary, and pledges can also be accepted. Your participants will have individual fundraising pages they can collect donations on and work to actively fundraise for your organization—rather than just using casual, word-of-mouth fundraising methods to get the word out.  

Both of these methods are handy ways of raising money for your organization, but a peer-to-peer campaign can be more time consuming and require more effort to pull off. However, the payoff can be much larger than a simple crowdfunding campaign, making it a great option for organizations able to put in the time and effort to organize a peer-to-peer fundraiser. Take time to learn more about the differences between crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising and figure out which method is right for you!  

How does peer-to-peer fundraising work?

The process involves a few steps:

  1. First, you’ll set a fundraising goal and set up its main campaign page using a peer-to-peer fundraising platform. 
  2. Then, you’ll recruit volunteer fundraisers to set up their own individual fundraising pages. 
  3. Next, you’ll provide your participants with resources to use while promoting their pages. 
  4. During the fundraising stage, fundraisers will share their individual campaign pages on a variety of channels. 
  5. Throughout the fundraiser, you’ll track the campaign’s progress and offer continued support to the volunteer fundraisers. 
  6. Lastly, you’ll thank your supporters immediately following your event to show your appreciation for their help.  
Flowchart: Peer-to-peer fundraising involves determining a goal, recruiting volunteers, providing resources, sharing campaign pages, and tracking progress.

Who can use peer-to-peer fundraising?

Everyone can use peer-to-peer fundraising! You’ve probably already seen or experienced it. When individuals raise money for medical expenses or adoption fees on platforms like GoFundMe, it’s generally called crowdfunding. But crowdfunding relies on the same principle as peer-to-peer fundraising! 

Crowdfunding involves funding a project or campaign by collecting smaller donations from multiple donors. Peer-to-peer fundraising is a more in-depth version of crowdfunding, but some elements stay the same, such as participants asking their friends and family to make donations and having their own crowdfunding-style page. 

Why does peer-to-peer fundraising work?

Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns engage your donors by involving them in the fundraising process, which also means it can be very cost effective. Furthermore, it’s easy to combine this fundraising style with other campaigns run on online fundraising platforms, which means there’s tons of room to experiment and grow. 

You can use this fundraising method to raise money, of course—but it’s also a valuable way to engage your most loyal supporters! It works because: 

  • Your supporters can customize their donation pages to reflect their own relationship with your mission, which is a fantastic way to get your supporters thinking about why they value their relationship with you! 
  • Your staff and supporters work closely together, which is a great way to build stronger relationships with your most engaged fans. 
  • Donors feel more connected to your nonprofit after personally raising money for it! 

Donors love participating in these fundraisers because it gives them a way to support their favorite organizations. It also gives them a way to show their friends and family what your mission means to them personally. 

While there are many benefits of peer-to-peer fundraising, one of the most noteworthy is how effective this method is for finding new donors. According to data pulled from Qgiv’s platform, organizations recruit 300 new donors on average using peer-to-peer campaigns. And even if not everyone in your participants’ networks donate, you’re still raising more awareness for your cause and mission. Plus, it offers volunteer opportunities to keep previous donors engaged with your organization.  

Types of peer-to-peer campaigns  

With the many ways to host a peer-to-peer fundraiser, it’s important to remember your campaign doesn’t have to be an event. Different peer-to-peer fundraisers include:  

New call-to-action

Steps to getting your peer-to-peer campaign started 

By now, you’re probably asking yourself, “How do I start?” Well, we’ve broken all the key parts of the planning and execution into seven simple steps! 

Step 1: Define your campaign 

Once you’ve decided to run a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, ask yourself: 

  • How much do we want to raise? 
  • Which kind of campaign is this—rolling or time-based? 
  • What’s the central theme? 

Setting your goals is a great way to keep everyone on the same page and ensure that you’re on the right track throughout your fundraiser. 

Screenshot of a Big Brothers Big Sisters peer-to-peer campaign page: The first step of peer-to-peer fundraising is to define your campaign. -  BBBS of Greater Cleveland's Bocce for Kids' Sake raised 112% of their goal

Step 2: Recruit your fundraisers 

Once you’ve figured out your goals, it’s time to reach out to your donors and volunteers to recruit participants for your peer-to-peer fundraiser. Here are some ways to start recruiting: 

  • Send out emails and post about your campaign on your social media accounts to grab people’s attention and get them excited to fundraise. 
  • If you’ve hosted peer-to-peer campaigns in the past, extend a special invitation to past participants to see if they’re willing to fundraise again.  
  • Offer incentives for people to become fundraisers, including free t-shirts and other prizes as well.  

The sooner you start reaching out and spreading the word, the more participants you’ll be able to recruit! 

Step 3: Set up your campaign website 

The bulk of your peer-to-peer campaign revolves around the campaign page you create. This will be the template from which your participants will create their individual fundraising pages. Your campaign website will be the go-to resource for all of your participants, donors, volunteers, and anyone else involved in your fundraiser. Here are a few tips and tricks to create an eye-catching, informative, and helpful page for your next peer-to-peer campaign: 

  • Create an FAQ page. If you can anticipate common questions your fundraisers will have about peer-to-peer fundraising, the specifics of your campaign, or anything else, creating an FAQ page can give your participants, donors, and volunteers a place to get answers. 
  • Use cohesive branding. Display your logo prominently on your website and stick to a nice color scheme that reflects your organization’s branding or specifically created for your campaign. 
  • Include a fundraising thermometer. Displaying your fundraising progress on your website helps people visualize how well your campaign is going. It also helps your donors feel proud about their contribution to your fundraiser’s success. 

Step 4: Facilitate donation pages 

Before your campaign starts, educate your fundraisers on how the campaign works, what your goals are, and how to use the fundraising software. To get them started on the right track, here are a few ways to help each participant design and personalize their own donation page: 

  • Give your participants writing prompts, talking points, graphics, and anything else they might need to create an engaging and effective fundraising page. 
  • Then, after they’ve built their pages, ensure your fundraisers have everything that they need to share their donation pages.  
  • Provide them with access to social sharing buttons, post templates, and ways to sign up to be a volunteer or purchase merchandise. 
the fourth step is facilitating donation pages.  -screenshot of JA of Arizona's Virtual Scavenger Hunt event page to register for their P2P campaign with all the event details

Step 5: Support your supporters 

Chances are your peer-to-peer participants don’t have much experience with fundraising and asking for donations themselves. While they may have experience with being on the receiving end of a donation appeal, they probably don’t have any experience making that kind of request. Before you send your participants off to ask for donations, fully equip them to start fundraising: 

  • Provide your fundraisers with email and social media templates, scripts, graphics, and storytelling tips and tricks so they can put their best foot forward when making a donation ask!  
  • With these kinds of resources, all your participants need to do is fill in the blanks and send their well-crafted message off to their family and friends.  
  • And as a well-seasoned fundraiser yourself, guide them along the way with advice and tools you may use when fundraising! 

Step 6: Build relationships with your donors 

As donations come in, you’ll need to keep track of your fundraisers’ efforts and collect new donor data by: 

  • Syncing new donor information to your CRM 
  • Updating your existing donor database records 
  • Linking donation and interaction history with your supporter profiles 

Afterward, use that information to update your donors and participants about your progress. Running a peer-to-peer campaign will help you form deeper relationships with your donors and fundraisers, but you need to stay engaged with your supporters throughout the process! 

Screenshot of A of Arizona's leadership board - Building relationships with your donors is a key step to running your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.

Step 7: Recognize your peer-to-peer fundraisers 

Once your campaign is over, you should recognize your participants for their work. Here are a few ways to show your appreciation: 

  • Thank each and every one of your peer-to-peer fundraisers with a personal note, social post, email, or phone call.  
  • Use your end-of-campaign event to celebrate and recognize them, too!  
  • Let them know how much you appreciate their help and tell them what their fundraising has achieved.  
  • Then, follow up with your donors and fundraisers alike to share how you used the money they raised. 

Peer-to-peer fundraising best practices

Wondering how you can step up your peer-to-peer game? Here are a few best practices all seasoned fundraisers keep in mind when running a peer-to-peer campaign. 

1. Use multi-channel marketing 

Once you’ve recruited your team of fundraisers and prepared them to raise money, how can you help them spread the message about your campaign? 

Multi-channel marketing can help you and your peer-to-peer participants reach more of your donors and even expand your reach beyond your usual network! Some effective ways to use multi-channel marketing to spread the word about your peer-to-peer campaign and solicit donations include: 

  • Email: Email is one of the most effective methods of asking for donations during this kind of fundraising campaign. Try providing your fundraisers with a few templates they can fill out and use to email friends and family about your campaign and their fundraising efforts.  
  • Social media: Facebook, X, Instagram, TikTok, and LinkedIn are all popular platforms your supporters are probably already using! By providing ready-made templates for different platforms, you make it easier for donors to maximize your posts. Sharing personal fundraising pages on social media brings them to the attention of your fundraisers’ friends and family. Encourage your participants to post updates that share why they’re participating and ask people to give. Once they’ve started posting, interact with their posts by liking or commenting to drive engagement and make your participants feel heard.  
  • Traditional marketing: Ask for donations yourself, too! Direct mail, print advertisements, and face-to-face solicitations are great ways to engage donors who aren’t online or prefer more personal interactions. Your participants can also solicit donations in person when they get together with their family and friends or by hanging up flyers in their communities. Provide your participants with scripts they can use to ask for donations when they’re fundraising face-to-face with others. 
  • Text marketing: Reach your supporters no matter where they are using text marketing. Send out campaign notifications and updates straight to their phones, along with a link to your donation form. Provide a keyword for supporters to text to donate to your fundraiser.  
  • Blog: Maximize traffic to your campaign website by writing blog posts about your peer-to-peer campaign. Show examples of people you’ve been able to help using money raised from previous fundraisers. 
  • Local media: Reach out to local media outlets, such as news channels and radio stations, about sponsoring your peer-to-peer campaign. In exchange for them advertising your campaign, you can promote them on your fundraising page or event. 

2. Integrate with matching gifts platforms 

Encourage your supporters to participate in their employers’ matching gift programs! Every donation made by an eligible donor can be matched at a 1:1, 2:1, or even 3:1 ratio. This means a single donation can have double the impact! 

But how do you make it happen? Just provide your donors with access to a matching gift database like Double the Donation! Matching gifts databases give donors a way to see if their gift is eligible for a match within your donation form. They can also review their employer’s matching gift requirements! 

Add a matching gifts widget to your donation form so your donors don’t even have to leave the page to check if their employer has a matching gift program. Adding this widget also makes the matching gift process easier for their employers. Once your donor completes their gift, their donation information is automatically sent to their employer for processing.   

Many companies have a minimum amount they will match. If your supporters know this, they may be inclined to make a bigger donation! Imagine a donor was going to donate $15. Then, during the donation process, they learn their employer only matches gifts of $25 or higher. That donor will likely donate $25 so their gift can be matched, meaning you can receive $50! 

3. Stay engaged with your fundraisers 

Once your fundraising campaign is in full swing, stay in contact with your fundraisers by: 

  • Sharing frequent campaign updates 
  • Acknowledging and celebrating the most successful fundraisers 
  • Encouraging hesitant participants 
  • Engaging with your fundraisers’ posts 

Motivate your fundraisers and play to their strengths! Strengths may include a strong, engaged social media following or a close connection with locals in your community. Help them use those assets to raise money! 

4. Use cohesive storytelling tactics 

As you send your participants off into the world to fundraise for your organization, keep everyone on the same page about the messaging of your campaign. Ensure that all facts and figures you’ve shared with your participants are accurate and that the tone of your campaign is cohesive. 

While it’s okay to tailor messages specifically to your audience and for your participants to do the same for their audiences, it’s important that the main points of your campaign are the same across every email and social media post you or your participants create and share. This avoids confusion and instills confidence in your donors that they’re donating to the right cause. 

5. Make it easy for your participants to share 

Your participants will frequently share their personal fundraising pages and information about your peer-to-peer campaign with their audience once the fundraising gets started. To avoid forcing your participants to copy and paste the same information and links over and over again, add social sharing buttons everywhere you can.  

With a single click, your participants can share their personal fundraising pages, your campaign website, and any other important pages with their networks via email or social media. And with templates and scripts, crafting the perfect post shouldn’t take more than a couple minutes. Use any tools you can think of to make sharing about your campaign easier for your participants. The more they’re able to share your campaign, the wider within their networks you’ll reach. And with that wider reach comes more potential supporters for your cause. 

6. Encourage friendly competition 

Motivating your participants is easy when you introduce a little friendly competition into your campaign! Offer prizes to the people who raise the most money by the end of your fundraiser or reward them with badges every time they hit a fundraising milestone. 

You can also allow participants to team up with their friends, family, or coworkers by creating fundraising teams. Fundraising with friends is always more fun, and setting out to conquer other teams as fundraising champions is an extra-engaging element you can add to your peer-to-peer fundraiser. Just make sure to add a team leaderboard to your campaign website so everyone can see where they stand and how much money they need to raise to reach the top spot! 

7. Inspire your participants 

Do your fundraisers need an extra push or motivation to keep fundraising? Prizes are a great way to incentivize your participants, but there are plenty of other ways to keep them engaged and inspired. 

Use your organization’s social media platforms to give them a little morale boost. Have any of your fundraisers shared a particularly moving reason for why they support your organization? Has anyone gotten creative with their fundraising efforts? Share about your participants and how they’re fundraising on your social media accounts. 

You can also hold an awards show at the end of your campaign to publicly recognize your outstanding peer-to-peer fundraisers. Come up with creative awards and find ways to make all your participants feel proud of and appreciated for the work they put into fundraising.

8. Brand your pages  

Branding is how your supporters recognize your organization. Your donors know and trust your nonprofit with the money they give, so you want to make it as clear as possible who they’re donating to. Branding also keeps your fundraising pages cohesive for a more professional look. 

9. Track your campaign  

Your fundraising software provides you with different metrics to track your campaign’s progress. By tracking your progress, you can determine how successful your different peer-to-peer strategies have been. Create custom reports to segment your peer-to-peer donors so you can tailor your future donation appeals. 

10. Thank volunteers and supporters  

Thank both your participants and donors for all the help they’ve provided to your organization. Your volunteers are more likely to participate in future campaigns if they feel properly appreciated. Automate acknowledgments to any donors immediately following their gift, and schedule thank-you messages to your participants to go out within 48 hours of the end of your campaign. 

11. Provide retention opportunities   

When updating your supporters, provide other chances for them to connect with your organization. Offer volunteer opportunities and other events for people to attend. Or ask if they want to sign up for your newsletter! Another great option is providing a survey to your participants so they can leave feedback or suggestions on what can be improved. 

New call-to-action

Peer-to-peer campaigns we love

Check out a few of these successful peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns! First, let’s look at Junior Achievement of Arizona’s 2021 Virtual Scavenger Hunt.

Screenshot of Junior Achievement of Arizona's Virtual Scavenger Hunt peer to peer event page.

What makes this campaign successful: 

  • Impactful header image 
  • Recent activity 
  • Embedded video 

Next, Big Brothers Big Sisters chapters host successful peer-to-peer fundraisers across the United States. While many chapters choose bowling, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cleveland hosted Bocce for Kids’ Sake to raise money for their mission. 

screenshot of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cleaveland's Bocce for Kids' Sake P2P event page

What makes this campaign successful: 

  • Unique and fun activity 
  • Fundraising impact statements 
  • Leadership board 
  • Event information in header 

Lastly, the Pikes Peak Humane Society fundraising campaign is part of their annual Pawtoberfest event, which they have continued to hold over the years. 

Screenshot of Pikes Peak Humane Society's Pawtoberfest P2P event page

What makes this campaign work: 

Using peer-to-peer fundraising software

What is peer-to-peer fundraising software?

The concept of peer-to-peer fundraising is relatively straightforward. But how can you stay on top of things when your nonprofit has dozens, or even hundreds, of participants? 

Comprehensive peer-to-peer fundraising software enables you to: 

  • Track your campaign’s progress 
  • Collect donor data 
  • Sell merchandise 
  • Customize event registration 
  • Support both individual and team fundraising 
  • And more! 
Using peer-to-peer fundraising software is key to running a successful campaign. - screenshot of JA of Arizona's P2P event page

Features to look for

Using a peer-to-peer fundraising platform to support your campaign can streamline your process by providing features such as: 

  • Customizable individual participant and team pages
  • Marketing tools like social sharing buttons and email tools
  • Online merchandise storefront
  • Fundraising badges, thermometers, and fundraising leaderboards
  • Custom data reporting
  • Flexible tools for all fundraiser types

When you’re shopping around for peer-to-peer software, make sure to look for a software solution that is flexible and will grow with your organization’s needs and creativity. You should also find a platform that offers plenty of support and training options for your organization’s staff and leadership. Not all peer-to-peer software solutions are made the same. Some have a learning curve, so having the proper support is essential for your organization’s fundraising success.   

By including all of these features in one package, peer-to-peer fundraising software makes it easy for your nonprofit to run the most efficient and effective campaign possible. 

Benefits of using peer-to-peer fundraising platforms

There are many benefits to using this kind of software. Here are the top three: 

  1. Donors always get a receipt and a thank-you note after completing a streamlined donation process. 
  2. Branding your donation page to your organization instills trust that the revenue is going to your nonprofit. 
  3. Fundraisers can easily share their posts and drive traffic to mobile-optimized pages. Mobile-responsive donation pages yield 34% more donations.  

Peer-to-peer fundraising software can ensure that your team and your fundraisers have all the tools they need to run a successful campaign.

How Qgiv can help your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign

When you partner with Qgiv for a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, you’re not just getting our software! We’ll also: 

  • Train your team to use the software. 
  • Scale our software to your organization’s growing needs and adapt as you change. 
  • Give you ongoing support throughout your campaign for troubleshooting, questions, and more. 

And don’t forget to take advantage of all the other features that our fundraising platform offers! 

  • Text fundraising: Pairing your peer-to-peer campaign with text fundraising helps your organization reach your participants on the devices they always have with them—their phones. With keywords and automated donation completion reminders, it’s easy for your donors to give on their phones no matter where they are in the world.  
  • Recurring donations: Allow your peer-to-peer donors to make their donation recurring to encourage a long-term relationship with your organization. Automating recurring donations makes giving to your organization as easy as possible for your donors.  
  • Gift matching: Provide gift matching opportunities to your donors by allowing them to search for their employer on a gift matching database embedded directly onto your donation form.  
  • GiftAssist: Give your donors the option to offset processing costs for their gift by adding a small amount to their donation with GiftAssist. Your donors can add the additional amount right from your donation form as they’re completing their transaction.  
  • Customer experience: Fundraising isn’t easy, but you never have to do it alone! Wondering if you’re using our products to their maximum potential? Want to learn how to up your fundraising game? Our customer experience team is always ready to help you get the most from Qgiv.  

Remember the highly successful examples that we showed you earlier? They were powered by Qgiv! Thousands of nonprofits have trusted Qgiv to support their peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns. You can read some of their testimonials here

Good peer-to-peer fundraising software makes it easy to build a great event page, launch your campaign, and support your participants as they raise money for your cause. With our suite of comprehensive fundraising tools and features, we’ll support you the whole way, from the planning period to the final thank you emails. 

Final thoughts

Peer-to-peer fundraising is a great way to spread awareness for your mission and further increase your fundraising efforts. Reach new audiences through your current donors and volunteers. Use fundraising software to make your peer-to-peer campaign easier for both your team and your supporters. 

You’ll like these extra resources! 

Now that you’re an expert on running peer-to-peer fundraising, check out some of these awesome resources to take your campaigns to the next level. 

New call-to-action

Share this

You might enjoy