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ASU Lodestar Center Blog

How Can Nonprofits Successfully Adapt to Changes in Peer-to-Peer Fundraising?

Peer-to-peer fundraising events started nearly 50 years ago with events such as the March of Dimes’ fundraiser that has come to be known as March for Babies. Over time, the field of peer-to-peer fundraising events grew and developed.

A wave of walk events was followed by 5Ks, cycling events and many other types of events to raise funds from a network of peers.

But are these events’ best days behind them? The Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Thirty shares that the top 30 events across the nation have been on an overall steady decline, though not all events in the top 30 have seen a decline.

This idea of decline can make it seem as though peer-to-peer fundraising is no longer effective, though this type of fundraising continues to bring benefit to nonprofits. 

Peer-to-peer fundraising represents an important way to grow awareness, constituent base and to raise funds for a nonprofit. Though events can be a costly way of fundraising, they continue to raise valuable awareness and bring new people to the organization, which can be difficult to measure with a dollar value. In order to get the benefit out of peer-to-peer fundraising that still exists, nonprofits must stay up to date with the times and on top of the trends. This means putting detailed plans into place on how to manage the campaign and make the most of it. 

Nonprofits must first consider that the traditional walk is no longer the way to go for a peer-to-peer fundraising event. They should listen to their constituent base and hear what they would like but also consider new and unique events that are not so overused. The technology used is also crucial in making sure that fundraisers have the easiest time and can use the tools that are already available to them. This includes taking advantage of new features such as Facebook fundraising and making them work to the benefit of the fundraiser and the nonprofit. 

The use of peer networks is beneficial to raising funds for nonprofits, but only when the right tools are provided to fundraisers so that they know how to ask for donations. As a part of a peer-to-peer fundraising event, nonprofits need to ensure that they are educating registered participants of their role and how to succeed. Provide registrants with templates and materials for email, social media and so on so that they have options and everything is available on demand for when they are ready. 

With the changing times have also come changing channels of communications with event participants. In a date where inboxes can be overloaded with information and asks from other charities, a nonprofit needs to focus on a way to stand out. This can include sending text messages instead of emails and using new social media advertising mediums to reach those who count.  

The same old peer-to-peer fundraising model no longer works the same way in this day in age. People want to participate in a unique event with a nonprofit that stays in tune with technology so they can use what they are most comfortable with. By successfully adapting to the changes that have been taking place in peer-to-peer fundraising, nonprofits can continue to use this model successfully to raise both funds and a larger constituent base to advance their mission. 

Chelsea Poch is a graduate of the Master of Nonprofit Leadership and Management program at Arizona State University. Poch completed her undergraduate degree in business at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs and immediately began to work in the nonprofit industry. She is passionate about work being done in the areas of healthcare and education


ASU Lodestar Center Blog