Did you know peer-to-peer crowdfunding campaigns raised $17 billion dollars in 2016, according to crowdsourcing.org?

In addition, the Chronicle of Philanthropy states 18% of all digital donations now come from peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns.

Crowdfunding used to be a novel way for entrepreneurs to substantiate and raise capital for their business concepts and for artists to fund their creative passions. Today, nonprofits are embracing crowdfunding campaigns, in particular peer-to-peer crowdfunding, to build awareness, raise funds, and expand donor networks in order to fulfill their missions.

So, how do you create and build momentum for a successful peer-to-peer crowdfunding campaign that engages and transforms your supporters into effective online fundraising champions? Let’s start with the basics.

Peer-to-Peer Crowdfunding

There are two types of crowdfunding models that nonprofits use to raise funds from the public. Traditional crowdfunding typically involves a nonprofit-led fundraising campaign with a single call-to-action, donation page and goal that the organization promotes via direct mail, television, radio, PR and live events.

Peer-to-peer crowdfunding is donor-led and offers an easy way for donors to give directly to your cause and empower your most passionate supporters to sign up to become volunteer fundraisers on your organization’s behalf.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Your organization invites dedicated supporters to sign up to become volunteer fundraisers using an embedded form on your website or via text message keyword.
  1. Your newly recruited crowd funder easily creates and customizes a fundraising page with their own photo, compelling messaging and fundraising goal, and if your fundraising platform provides it, their own personal text to give keyword.
  1. Now, they can promote their personalized fundraising pages and keyword to their network of family, friends and colleagues via social media, email and text.
  1. With each donation, your fundraisers can share in the excitement of reaching not just their personal goals, but getting you closer to yours. Every contribution is reflected on both the fundraiser’s dedicated donation page as well as your organization’s main crowdfunding page, highlighting the collective impact of fundraisers’ individual efforts as they help you reach your fundraising target.

To leverage peer-to-peer crowdfunding effectively, you’ll need to make it easy for your supporters to participate while creating and building the momentum that will keep donations rolling in.

Grow and scale your nonprofit organization with these five simple steps for creating a peer-to-peer crowdfunding movement:

Step 1: Educate Your Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Force

Not everyone knows the best ways to ask for donations, even from friends and family. Provide your volunteer fundraisers with resources to teach them how to eff­ectively ask for donations from their personal networks on behalf of your nonprofit organization.

For example, teach them how to use psychological motivators that inspire people to make donations:

  • Empathy can be generated by using compelling videos, images or stories that create an emotional response to another person’s feelings and experiences.
  • Storytelling can engage the donor through powerful narratives and testimonials that connect them to the stories being told.
  • Impact statements, metrics, and images help people to clearly see (and feel) their contributions making a difference to your cause.
  • Social pressure motivates people to support their friends when others are doing it too – no one wants to feel left out of a good thing.
  • Scarcity creates a sense of urgency that compels people to participate, like a deadline, whether it’s to volunteer, donate or become a fundraiser.
  • Small first step means removing the barrier to entry and making it easy to get involved—this could be as simple as texting a keyword to receive a link to one of your pages, or asking for a donation of just $1. Think of it as a small initial commitment that is likely to lead to a bigger commitment later on.

The average volunteer fundraiser raises $612 from 8 donors, 5 of which are new to your nonprofit.

Step 2: Lead Them to Fundraising Success

Identify a fundraising leader from your organization who can lead ongoing in-person and recorded digital training sessions for volunteer fundraisers to create a sense of fundraising confidence and community.

You can also encourage your fundraisers to set up crowdfunding teams to create a friendly competition with everyone working together to out-fundraise their competitors and meet their team’s individual goal. When people work together toward a common goal, the results can be AMAZING!

Teams raise 3-4 times more donations than individuals.

Step 3: Arm Them with the Right Tools

Put together a peer-to-peer crowdfunding success toolkit using engaging content and templates that will make it easy for volunteers to ask for donations. Your toolkit can include:

  • Short videos
  • Photos
  • Testimonials
  • Social posts and a campaign hashtag
  • Letters and sample scripts
  • Emails
  • Text messages
  • Impact metrics, provide information on what a $25 donation will achieve, $100, $1000 and more.

Campaigns that reach 30% of their crowdfunding goal within the first week are substantially more likely to reach 100% of their goal by the end.

Step 4: Inspire Them to Achieve Greatness

Use personal videos, photos, and messages from your program recipients and leadership team to send frequent updates and encouragements that will inspire your volunteer fundraisers to keep going regardless of how much they have raised on your behalf. These periodic inspirations will energize your crowd funders throughout the campaign and reinforce the importance of reaching your goals.

The best campaigns have a specific dollar amount goal and a duration of 2-3 weeks.

Step 5: Show Them They Can Make a Difference

Make it possible for your volunteer fundraisers to feel a sense of accomplishment, belonging, and influence by showing them the impact of every dollar donated. Videos, which can be shared via email, text and social media, are a great way to capture and demonstrate the positive and tangible results of their fundraising efforts. Oh, and don’t forget to thank them for their support. Remember that donors who feel appreciated are more likely to give again!

28% of crowdfunding donors give again to the organizations they support.

MobileCause helps charitable and nonprofit organizations reach their goals with a full suite of customizable, mobile-friendly solutions including online forms, fundraising events, crowdfunding, campaign promotion, data management, and credit card processing with zero transaction fees. MobileCause is trusted by thousands of nonprofit organizations including United Way, Salvation Army, American Heart Association, University of Southern California, Habitat for Humanity and many more.

Download our crowdfunding infographic as a quick reference guide to growing and scaling your mission with peer-to-peer crowdfunding or check out our on-demand MobileCause webinar, Create a Crowdfunding Movement That Inspires Donors to Do More Than Just Give.

About the Author

Christy Noel is the Vice President of Digital Marketing Services at MobileCause where she’s responsible for creating, driving, and delivering programs to help MobileCause customers and partners advance their marketing and fundraising objectives.