Why Peer to Peer Fundraising Is Awesome

One of the most common questions nonprofits ask is how to get more people to support their cause, what motivates them to get involved with fundraising and giving financially to organizations.

Nonprofits are increasingly seeking to attract a younger audience as the older segment of supporters are shrinking with potential serious implications for the sustainability or these organisations. To this end I was curious to read the 2013 Millennial Impact Report inside which I discovered some interesting facts about how the next generation are connecting with nonprofit organizations and what motivates them to support these causes.

There were of course some conclusions that were unsurprising, the primary motivation for millenials to support a charity is passion for the cause, but there was one little piece of information that I was intrigued by. It seems that 56% of respondents were prompted to support a charity because they got to meet new people who care about the same cause or issue. Millennials view volunteer opportunities as a way to socially connect with like-minded peers.

This seems to me a rather fascinating piece of information. Why was I so intrigued by this piece of information? Well, firstly it suggests that this emerging generation want to have a incredible level of engagement with non-profits. It is not enough simply to make a donation, they want to be involved with the cause, they want relationships, they want to share their experiences and their passion for causes with others. Secondly, peer to peer fundraising is highly attractive to this generation. According to the 2013 Millennial Impact Report, nearly 70% of millennials are willing to raise money on behalf of a nonprofit they care about.

This provides a range of opportunities for non-profits to build local fundraising groups, that allow this generation to connect with other people their age who care about the same causes, and at the same time enable nonprofits to fund-raise at scale.

The fact is that people are more likely to donate to people they know who support a cause rather than donating directly to the charity. They are motivated to support their friends and family, the people they have a connection with, rather than a brand. As such, fundraising networks can be an extremely effective way to generate income.

The concept behind fundraising networks is simple. Nonprofits can raise more when they have a group of committed supporters fundraising on their behalf. Instead of asking just one person for just one donation, by building a fundraising network you can ask one person to fundraise on your behalf, thus turning one ask into several, or even into hundreds.

The members of your fundraising networks can raise money, hold events, sell tickets to your organization’s large events, find new members for your network, generate publicity and buzz, and lots more.

What makes this idea particularly powerful is that this generation are socially connected. A report by Just Giving shows that social sharing brings in more donors and sharers. According to their research one in five donation shares results in another donation and one in ten shares results in another share. So each sharer brings more donations and more people. Given that each Facebook user has an average of 130 friends, this could amount to substantial increases in fundraising income.

Of course, in order for this strategy to work, your non-profit will need to take the time to cultivate the network, support it, develop leaders within each group, and provide it with the materials and motivation it needs to grow and thrive.
It is essential to create volunteer programs that facilitate networking, but this too can be an opportunity for charities to allow them to share skills. 43% of respondents wanted to broaden their skill set for future professional use, so it is important to provide opportunities for them to grow and learn new skills, participate in training together and share fundraising expertise in a way that is mutually beneficial.

Every non-profit, no matter how large or small, should be establishing and supporting a fundraising network that is out making connections and raising money on their behalf.

Do you have any tips about building fundraising networks? Please share your thoughts and any useful links you have

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