July 8, 2014
The peer-to-peer approach to fundraising is changing the way many nonprofits are structuring their overall outreach strategies. This relatively new interaction method has developed along with social media and the rise of crowdfunding, with charitable groups applying this approach to their causes. By encouraging contributors who are already involved with a nonprofit's mission to reach out to their friends and family, these organizations can grow their base for potential donations and raise awareness with less effort than is required for many traditional approaches. Although the concept of peer-to-peer fundraising brings up some unique concerns, it also offers access to hard-to-reach groups and can lead to a significant increase in donations.
Peer-to-peer fundraisers take a similar approach to crowdfunding sites such as GoFundMe and Kickstarter, where individuals and companies gather necessary finances by tying into social media and sharing the activity of contributors. By accessing the potential value of their Facebook friends, Twitter followers and other social media connections, these stakeholders do far more than just donate themselves: they increase awareness of a nonprofit's cause and encourage contributions from their friends and family. This approach is especially effective because, as fundraising technology site FirstGiving pointed out, it avoids the first major potential pitfall in fundraising: the credibility gap.
The most personalized approach possible
The people interacting with a peer-to-peer fundraiser working on behalf of an organization will already trust the campaigner. Instead of a nonprofit having to do the work of differentiating itself from other causes an individual may contribute to, the fundraiser will do so itself. NPEngage suggested tying the development of these useful contributors to events. Not only does this approach allow staff members to interact with fundraisers in person, it also allows them to invite friends and family to an event. Whether these invitees turn into one-time donors or continuing contributors, they can provide many benefits to charitable groups.
FirstGiving frames another major advantage of the peer-to-peer approach thusly: the access to your network's own network. If each fundraiser can convince just a few of their friends or family members of the worthiness of a nonprofit's cause, then the organization will have access to those networks as well. The value of this ever-growing web is high, so nonprofits should begin to develop and cultivate their current peer-to-peer advocates and fundraisers.
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