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Peer-to-peer Fundraising

How to host a successful peer-to-peer campaign.

November 8, 2023

Get your supporters involved in fundraising for your mission and increase your nonprofit’s budget by hosting a peer-to-peer campaign.

Peer-to-peer fundraising allows individuals to raise money for a cause they love by participating individually or as a group. Peer-to-peer campaigns allow your donors, volunteers, participants to become champions of your cause and fundraisers for your organization!

So, why are peer-to-peer campaigns so successful? Well, when every participant reaches out to their social network for support they’re increasing your nonprofit’s visibility. And, the fact that people are four times more likely to donate if they have been encouraged by someone they know, sure helps.1

There are 5 main steps to creating a successful peer-peer campaign.

1. Set your nonprofit’s goals for your next peer-to-peer campaign.

2. Choose an activity that fits your cause and that your donors will be interested in.

3. Identify your target audience (potential participants).

4. Use a simple fundraising campaign model.

5. Make sure your participants have all the tools they need to successfully fundraise.

1. Set your nonprofit’s goals for your next peer-to-peer campaign.

Before setting up your campaign, it helps to clearly define what you are trying to achieve.

Whether it is to fund a specific project, to fund the regular activity of your organization, or to encourage more new donors to sign up—setting a specific amount that you need to raise will help guide every other decision you make.

Once you’ve landed on a number, verify that it’s realistic. You can do this by estimating:

  1. The number of potential donors you can get to participate.
  2. How many people they can reach in their networks.
  3. How much you think each participant will raise.

The amount you share should be equal to or slightly above your real goal, so that your team believes they can actually attain it. This will help your volunteers and participants stay motivated—you want every team to reach their goal and then some!

For example, if you have 100 super involved people in your nonprofit’s network, it’s probably realistic to attract at least 50 participants for your peer-to-peer campaign. Then, you can safely predict that each participant will bring in 25 donations each and, by looking at the average amount of past donations, you now the average donation will likely be: $100.

This means an average of $2,500 will probably be raised by each participant/group and a total of $125,000 during your peer-to-peer campaign.

With this number in mind, be conservative and share a goal of $100,000 for the total campaign and $2,000 for each individual/group campaign.

Once you’ve landed on your numbers, you’ll need to create your campaign page. With Zeffy, you can easily set up a peer-to-peer campaign, customize the goal, the donation options, and the description of your campaign. Your participants will be able to create teams in minutes, invite their friends and family to donate, track their progress, and you won’t be charged anything as Zeffy’s online fundraising platform is 100% free.

2. Choose an activity that fits your cause and that your donors will be interested in.

Choose an activity that will get your donors excited to join and participate. The possibilities are endless:

If you’re not sure what your donors would like to particpate in, ask them! Send out a survey with different activity options and leave a space for suggestions. Your future participants will feel like they are part of the process and the activity will be personalized to your community’s interests.

Once you have the information you need, you can go with the most popular option. If you consider original suggestions, keep in mind that you want to make the event as accessible as possible.

It helps to choose an activity that is closely tied to your cause. This will make people more inclined to participate and donate. For example, an organization supporting cancer research may have a campaign to raise money by cutting hair and creating wigs for patients. The close connection between the activity and the cause will touch supporters and motivate fundraisers and donors.

3. Identify your target audience (potential participants).

Next, you will need to identify who will be participating in your peer-to-peer campaign and promoting your cause. You are not just trying to get donors, each person fundraising for your mission will raise hundreds or even thousands of dollars for your nonprofit.

So, you want your most enthusiastic supporters to join the fundraising campaign and get excited about it. You can attract fundraisers by:

It’s important to actually ask **your supporters to register for the activity and fundraise, rather than simply mentioning the campaign. You need to be direct and to the point—call-to-actions that are clear are way more effective.

You are asking your supporters who have probably already donated, to do even more.

Use can use messaging like:

“Our mission would not be possible without you. And now you can help us do even more!”

“We have a new campaign that can increase your impact.”

“A new way to support our cause!”

”Help us encourage others to give.”

Convincing your supporters will take more than just an email. (We know, we wish it was that easy.) But, you may also need to call them and let them know how valuable they are to your nonprofit. Let them know they are an important part of the campaign by asking them for their input and creating a sense of collaboration. This will improve your campaign results and deepen your relationship with your community.

A few other tools you can use to spread the word are:

4. Use a simple fundraising campaign model.

Once people have registered to participate, be sure to follow-up with information on how they can register and set up their own mini-campaign within your peer-to-peer campaign.

Send them a short and clear explanation with step-by-step instructions on how they can create their mini-campaign.

With Zeffy’s peer-to-peer solution, participants can easily register for events, create a group, and set up their fundraising page directly through the main page of your peer-to-peer campaign. Their fundraising page can be set up as an individual or team in less than 2 minutes and create their personalized mini campaign.

Make sure to provide your participants with some key messages and copy describing your peer-to-peer campaign and your cause so participants can use it on their own page. (You should encourage them to personalize it, but giving guidance on points they should include will help make better and more consistent campaigns.)

5. Make sure your participants have all the tools they need to successfully fundraise.

Your supporters will be super enthusiastic about fundraising for your cause, but that doesn’t mean that they will know how to do it.

They will need to put effort into their mini campaigns and, for some, that might mean going outside of their comfort zone by asking their social network to give. Sharing your expertise in fundraising will help them make their campaigns successful. So, prepare a send out a fundraising toolkit to help guide them through the process.

A few points to include:

This infographic provides great summary of the tips they need to make the most impact with their campaign.

Download our guide to give to your participants during your next peer-to-peer campaign.

Once you set these steps into motion, you will be on your way to having a successful peer-to-peer campaign, and your cause will reach even more people!

A few more articles on hosting a peer-to-peer campaign:

Download: "A guide for peer-to-peer fundraisers."

Preparing for your next peer-to-peer fundraising campaign.

Webinar - Hosting a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign on Zeffy.

ChatGPT can help plan your next fundraising event.

How do I set up a peer to peer campaign?

How do I set up a registration process for my peer to peer campaign?

How to host a successful peer-to-peer campaign.

How to Fundraise for a Peer-to-peer Campaign in 6 Steps.

Keep learning (our sources):

1. The Centre for Market and Public Organisation: The determinants of charitable bequests. June 2014. Michael Sanders and Sarah Smith.