Fact: It’s hard to get started.
If you're a follower of Plenty you already know that you should have a peer-to-peer fundraising program. The question is, where to start?
We work with many organizations that want to understand where to begin, what the next step should be, and what a wider portfolio will look like. We like to think of our work, which answers these questions, as a peer-to-peer roadmap.
I’m a traditional guy; I approach this type of work by starting with what has worked in the past. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for change, creativity, novelty, being the first etc., but peer-to-peer fundraising is comprised of many different components, and if you’re solely focused on the novelty of an event you will overlook the other critical factors that impact its success.
For instance, hot air balloon racing may be the latest trend in fundraising events but that doesn’t mean your organization’s top priority should then become securing everything needed to operate this type of event. You’ve heard us preach this concept before – it’s not just about the activity – there are other drivers of success. Drivers, which are often forgotten about when organizations have tunnel vision on doing “the next big thing.”
Avoid this trap and start with the basics of peer-to-peer fundraising. For me this means pointing organization’s to the tried-and-true walk. If you’re like most of the organization’s we work with, you’re probably groaning at the thought of producing another walk. Many people in the industry can’t bear the idea of another 5K and find the event concept old and boring. But guess what, when you say “Show your support and register for our 5K”, everyone gets it. When you say come and do a hot air balloon race, it takes a lot of time just to explain what the event is. Is it safe? What do I get to do in the hot air balloon? How long will we be in the air? The list of barriers you have to cross just to communicate what your new event actually is goes on and on.
Simply put, it takes a lot of time to get people to understand what you’re doing, which is something most organizations don’t have much of. And remember, this is only the first step. Once you get them onboard with the event you still have to convince them to fundraise, and encourage others to do the same.
So if you want to get into the peer-to-peer fundraising space and you don’t know where to begin, consider starting with a walk. A walk will allow you to focus on more than just the event concept, helping you develop a core set of peer-to-peer fundraising skills that can be applied to more novel ideas down the road.
Start by focusing on articulating your cause and impact in a compelling way. Refine your participation and fundraising asks until they are crisp and effective. Get comfortable with asking everyone who registers for your event to be a fundraiser. Allow yourself time to learn what staffing and technology infrastructure is needed to be successful.
Once your event has been established, you will find that your new peer-to-peer skills are transferable to other event concepts like cycling, golf, endurance sports, DIY fundraising, and even hot air balloon racing.
The goal here is to focus on what really matters – mission, impact, and relationships – because in the end, the novelty of your event won’t mean a lick if you don’t have the basics of peer-to-peer covered.
Learn more about the basics of peer-to-peer in our free e-book "The Expansive Impact of Peer-to-Peer Fundraising. Download your copy today!