Peer-to-Peer Fundraising: A Comprehensive Guide

It’s not often in life we can say with absolute certainty that something is 100% right for you. No matter who you are or what you believe in, THIS is right for you and your org. Enter Peer-to-Peer Fundraising. It’s right for all nonprofits and fundraisers!

So what is it exactly, and how can you reap the benefits? Here are some of the most popular ways to execute peer-to-peer (P2P) campaigns. 

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Overview

Chances are, you’ve already been involved in a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. You just didn’t call it that. Walk-a-thons, Girl Scout cookie sales, fun runs, rides for a cause, etc., are all forms of P2P fundraising. The difference is, you’re taking this fundraiser online and harnessing the awesome power of social media to get the word out and get folks to participate and donate. 

Will your P2P campaign involve one of the aforementioned activities? Or will you use P2P to kick off or amplify a larger campaign? Once you’ve made that decision, you’re ready to dive in!

Crowdfunding with Multiple Pages

Begin by starting your own campaign. While this may sound daunting, it really is MUCH simpler than it might seem. After all, you’re not building an entire website here; it’s more of a microsite or a landing page. And if you enlist the help of existing software programs, it only takes a few clicks to get yourself and your org up and running. With software, you can opt to pay a fee for a more comprehensive campaign, or you can go bare bones with a free program. Check out One Cause, Classy and Give Lively for some of our faves. They’ll help you focus less on setup and more on storytelling – which is, of course, the beating heart of your P2P campaign!


No doubt you’ve heard it before but it bears repeating. Storytelling is the heart and soul of your work as a fundraiser. Tell your org’s stories in new ways that evoke emotion while remaining simple enough to understand and remember. Make people cry, laugh or best of all – both. Reaching and connecting with potential donors through their emotions is the best and most effective way to get them to open their wallets. If you can tie an activity to your org’s mission – and most can, in some form – it’s a fantastic way to tell touching stories.

Activities: More than Fun Runs

No doubt you’re already familiar with these, especially if you’re a parent. And there’s a reason they’re so ubiquitous. They are not only community-building, they are LUCRATIVE! Add a P2P element to your next Fun Run, Art Walk or Jog-A-Thon. Post it to social media, with frequent updates, and encourage your friends and family members to check out your progress. Make it super easy for them to fire off a quick donation to your cause, or – ideally – encourage them to start their own landing pages. Show them how easy it is. Remember, the majority of today’s donors are more tech savvy than ever.

Fitness Challenge

Are there any yogis or trained spin instructors in your corner? Perhaps they’d be willing to donate a class, either in-person or virtually. Tell your supporters about it via social media and encourage them to do the same. Ask for pledges or charge a small participation fee. Or both! And make sure you and your fellow P2P campaigners are celebrating those pledges as they come in. Remember, giving begets giving!

Workout Challenge

You probably know some personal trainers, even if you don’t employ one yourself. Ask if they’d be willing to provide a one-time, in-kind donation to support your cause. If they are, they’ll be extra-motivated to get the word out. After all, not only does it benefit your great cause, it provides them positive business recognition. Mutually beneficial arrangement – win win! Just decide what activity you want to build your P2P campaign around. Maybe it’s a simple stretch class. If your trainer has a martial arts background, ask them to conduct a one-time introduction to kempo or kickboxing. There are nearly infinite possibilities for activities, once you’ve secured a personal trainer to help you with your P2P campaign.

Tributes + Special Occasions

You’ve probably seen folks donate their birthdays or solicit donations for causes on social media. You’ve likely also seen fundraisers dedicated to awareness months – April for Autism Awareness, May is National Foster Care Month, June is Pride Month. Is there a month dedicated to the cause that’s near and dear to your heart? Make it extra special by launching a P2P campaign. Timing is everything, right? Once you start looking at the world through this lens, you’ll find ENDLESS fundraising opportunities. Fundraise because it’s cold and rainy. Fundraise because it’s Tuesday. Now you’re thinking about Giving Tuesday, aren’t you? Hats off to the 92nd Street Y in New York City for creating Giving Tuesday a decade ago. In doing so, the nonprofit created hundreds of thousands of brand new donors, and continues to every year. With a well-run P2P fundraising campaign, YOU can snag some brand new donors for your org.   

A social media takeover is a peer-to-peer dream! How it works: Find a local business willing to hand over the reins of their social media channels to you or a member of your team. This can be a day-long thing, with a post every hour or so. Or it can be longer – a week or more. Craft posts ahead of time, showcasing the great work you and your org are doing and all of the folks who are benefitting from it. This is a sure-fire way to find and grab brand-new donors and supporters.

Reach New Donors

A link and a click is all it takes to turn donors into fundraisers! Fundraisers have always been and will always be our heroes. In the world of P2P fundraising, they become the heroes of your campaign. If you can turn them into Campaign Champions, more power to you – AND them!

Campaign Champions

So what’s a campaign champion? Pretty self-explanatory, right? They are official patrons of your cause. Their role is to not only raise money, but to encourage their communities to do so, as well. Think about it: Are you more likely to donate to a cause when A. Someone you know asks you to, or B. When a stranger asks you to? The answer of course is A! Successful P2P fundraising campaigns rely on this concept. Not  only harnessing group energy, but harnessing group energy with an element of familiarity.

Who might make a good Campaign Champion for you? You probably don’t want to ask existing board members, who are already heavily involved in your cause and are (hopefully!) already fundraising for you. Former board members can be good choices. Or folks you’re hoping to recruit. It’s so special when fundraisers become family affairs. Great for your bottom line, too!  

According to Causevox, fundraising campaigns with a peer-to-peer element raise TWICE as much money as campaigns that don’t. They also expand your reach and expose you to brand-new donors. Don’t miss out! There’s a peer-to-peer campaign that’s perfect for you. 

Embrace some certainty in an uncertain world. Reach out for a free consultation and let’s find out which peer-to-peer fundraising approach will work best for you and your org!