How to Create a Peer-to-Peer Campaign That Encourages Buy-In

Today's article topic is on peer-to-peer (P2P) campaign strategies. It's such an important topic for nonprofits because engagement is paramount to a successful P2P campaign, but it can be challenging because P2P campaigns rely so heavily on participants recruiting a wide audience. Thankfully there are experts like Andrew Berry, Head of Marketing and Customer Success at Donately who's been working with nonprofits to grow their digital impact.

Your nonprofit has decided to launch a P2P campaign to empower individual fundraisers to solicit gifts on behalf of your mission. As a staff member, you want to avoid the nightmare scenario of spending time and energy creating a campaign, just to watch it fall short of its goal due to poor engagement. 

Therefore, you need to adjust your strategy to ensure you’ve gathered a motivated group of volunteer fundraisers. To help you create a P2P campaign that encourages participant buy-in, we’ll go over the following tips: 

  • Reach out to the right people.
  • Get creative with your theme.
  • Offer specialized guidance for first-time fundraisers. 

Here at Donately, nonprofit professionals at all types of organizations use our virtual fundraising platform to create stylish, streamlined P2P campaign pages that engage supporters and inspire donations. But we know that their campaigns can’t succeed without a strong foundation and deliberate strategies that increase participation. We’ve seen the strategies that we’ll cover successfully carry organizations across the fundraising finish line. Let’s get started!

Reach out to the right people.

Encouraging buy-in starts with identifying the right audience members to reach out to who are most likely to become successful P2P fundraisers.

Likely candidates to reach out to include loyal supporters who have a history of helping your nonprofit. As this guide to peer-to-peer fundraising states, these candidates are typically some of your greatest advocates or social media promoters. Top supporters to reach out to also include:

  • Volunteers
  • Donors
  • Current social media followers

Create segmented communication groups to personally invite participants to join the campaign. For instance, by creating a group for past volunteers, you can use appeals such as “Since you have a history of supporting our mission in a hands-on capacity, we wanted to personally invite you to deepen your involvement and become a P2P fundraiser.” 

Further, Re:Charity’s nonprofit fundraising strategy guide states that this is an effective opportunity for supporters to bolster your mission without having to spend any of their own money. Be sure to express to supporters how much their participation means for your organization with statistics and figures on what you’ll be able to accomplish post-fundraiser. For example, if your organization is an animal rescue, let supporters know how many more animals you’ll be able to shelter with the support of P2P funds.

By getting in touch with those who have a documented history of support and a proven affinity for your cause, you can start creating a campaign that increases participation from the get-go. 

Get creative with your theme. 

People will have a stronger motivation to get involved if your P2P campaign has an engaging theme or is based around a unique challenge or event. Entice greater peer-to-peer fundraising campaign participation by making your campaign a fun opportunity that people are excited to get involved in. 

Consider these creative P2P events and themes: 

  • Viral video challenge: Everyone’s familiar with viral video challenges such as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Kickstart a viral challenge of your own to take advantage of the virtual realm and stay up to date with key fundraising trends
  • Dance-a-thon: A-thon style events are popular P2P fundraisers since they bring together a group of people to work together toward a common goal. A dance-a-thon puts a spin on the typical event by allowing participants to have a ton of fun while they raise money for your cause. 
  • Unique racing events: Plenty of organizations host P2P fundraising 5K or fun run events, but you can put a twist on the typical racing event by adding a unique element to the competition. One example of this is the Krispy Kreme Challenge, where participants run a 2.5-mile course, eat a dozen donuts, and then run another 2.5 miles to the finish line. 

Even if you’re hosting a virtual event, you can still get creative with your theme by creating a fun video challenge or inspiring remote participants to get involved in a unique virtual racing event. 

BONUS TIP: Don’t be afraid to incorporate gamification into your P2P event! Track fundraising progress with a fundraising thermometer and maintain a leaderboard for top participants. At the end of your campaign, you can even distribute prizes to top fundraisers to thank them for their hard work. Adding some friendly competition to your campaign helps generate more buy-in because people are inspired to frequently promote their pages to gather more donations and win a prize. 

Offer specialized guidance for first-time fundraisers. 

People who have never participated in a P2P event might be interested in helping out, but feel unsure of how to get started. Be sure to share the guidelines and resources any first-time fundraisers need to be successful. 

For example, you should create a P2P fundraising guide with tips and advice. Even experienced participants need a refresher on general tips as well as your organization’s specific requirements. 

Donately’s virtual fundraising page states that you should include these components in your how-to guide:

  • The goals and potential impact of your fundraising campaign, so participants can communicate your needs accurately to prospective donors.
  • Frequently asked questions, such as technology troubleshooting or questions about how the fundraising process works. 
  • Templates for creating their fundraising pages and tips for incorporating their personal connections to your cause to motivate more donors to give.
  • Any images or logos you’d like your P2P fundraisers to include within their fundraising pages so each page has a professional, uniform look. 

Be sure to send this guide out within your email newsletters, social media pages, and website to ensure it reaches all prospective participants. Also, provide participants with the contact information of the team or individual at your nonprofit who’s responsible for answering ongoing campaign questions.

You should also use your social media pages, in particular, to provide ongoing support and motivation for all fundraisers to help push them to reach their individual goals. 


By striking the right balance between finding motivated participants, equipping them with the resources needed to reach their goals, and making your campaign itself more interesting and fun, you can create an effective P2P campaign that increases buy-in from supporters. Happy fundraising!