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Unlocking Growth for Organizations and Idealists Like You

The Peer Networks Behind the Ice Bucket Challenge

Unless you’ve been living under an igloo, you know that the Ice Bucket Challenge has become not only the social media phenomenon of the summer but the new benchmark for how peer-to-peer fundraising can create massive impact. The Ice Bucket Challenge has been the perfect blend of accessible, fun activity; understandable, compelling cause; and networked social proof. In other words, it’s something easy that people want to do, for people they want to help, in a way that allows them to show and enlist their friends and family.

The Challenge continues to grow and we imagine it will have a tail well into the fall. At the same time, momentum is slowing significantly as the peer-to-peer networks that the Challenge has been tapping into become saturated. The graphic below shows the huge growth we’ve all been watching. But it shows something else, too — as the Challenge taps into new audiences, the average daily donation has decreased markedly.

Harnessing Data In Peer-to-Peer: Success Factor #6

Over the last month, we have examined the first five of our Seven Success Factors, the evaluation framework we use to help our clients optimize their peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns. These essential pieces of a peer-to-peer fundraising program include strategy, audience, ask, experience and service. The first five have long been integral components of peer-to-peer fundraising development.

However our next success factor is somewhat new to the industry. When harnessed properly, it has the greatest potential of the seven to exponentially grow a program. You may have already guessed what it is: the sixth success factor is data.

Topics: Funding Strategy

Service In Peer-to-Peer Fundraising: Success Factor #5

Over the last month we have been elaborating on our Seven Success Factors framework, a methodology we use to analyze and improve peer-to-peer fundraising programs. In the first four installments, we have looked at the critical roles that focused strategy, targeted audience, compelling asks, and immersive experience play in peer-to-peer success.

Topics: Funding

What To Do With An Unexpected Windfall

It seems like a good time to give some unsolicited advice about what to do if a fundraising program unexpectedly takes off and your organization finds itself with a spare hundred thousand bucks, or heck, tens of millions of dollars.

The pressure from receiving that kind of windfall will be enormous. I know — I sit on a board of an organization that several years ago doubled its size in a few weeks’ time through a campaign that was enormously more successfully than planned. The pressure comes from the public, who want to know how their donations will be used; from watchdog groups, who are waiting to rate your every move; from the press, who are ready to pounce when you make a mistake; and from families of impacted constituents, who want the best for their loved ones.

Topics: Leadership Strategy

Experience & The Only Thing That’s Uniquely Yours: Success Factor #4

The viral phenomenon of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has reminded us that your peer-to-peer supporters are having all sorts of experiences with your brand. In some cases those experiences come in the form of a large group of people, gathered in the same location, wearing the same color t-shirts, waving the same color flags, doing the same activity. In these cases, you have a high degree of control and can leverage the experience to impact what your supporters feel, think and do. In other cases, the experience is grown at the grassroots level, with very little input from you. The experience can be anything from a cheering station and support tent along the marathon course, to a bake sale, to a soccer tournament, to dousing yourself with a bucket of ice water and passing on the challenge.

Topics: Funding Inspiration

It’s Not About The Ice Bucket: Understanding The Latest Peer-to-Peer Success Story

By now you have most likely seen your Facebook feed taken over by the latest peer-to-peer fundraising phenomenon known as the Ice Bucket Challenge. It was started by Pete Frates, 29, of Massachusetts, who has lived with ALS since 2012. Pete has been working with his local chapter of the ALS Association to spread awareness of Lou Gehrig’s Disease. The dynamics of the challenge are simple: You challenge three of your friends to record themselves pouring a bucket of ice water over their heads. If your friends do not accept the challenge within 24 hours, their penalty is to make a donation of $100 to the ALS Association. Ideally, your friends record themselves and make a donation – and then challenge their friends to do the same.

Topics: Funding Leadership Strategy

Creating A Compelling Ask: Success Factor #3

A few weeks ago we unveiled the Seven Success Factor framework and dove deeper into the seven pillars critical to the success of a peer-to-peer fundraising program. We most recently discussed audience and how crucial it is to first understand who is most important to our program. Once we have a strong, data-driven, and validated idea of who our audience is, it is important that we cultivate messaging that is tailored to their needs and expectations in a compelling and effective manner. This important piece of the framework, and third Success Factor, is known as the ask.

Topics: Funding Strategy