How to Retain Donors After Your Peer-to-Peer Fundraiser

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Congratulations! You hosted a successful peer-to-peer fundraising campaign! You raised more than your goal, and your existing supporters had a great time raising money on your organization’s behalf.

So what now? 

Many organizations would go about their merry way, satisfied with the outcome.

But your nonprofit isn’t like most nonprofits, is it?

If you want to retain donors from your peer-to-peer campaign, you’re going to have to put in a little extra work.

We’re here to help you figure out how to retain donors and successfully transition them into recurring givers.

In this article, we provide answers to the following questions:

Let’s get started.

Why is it difficult to retain donors after a peer-to-peer campaign?

Why is it Difficult to Retain Donors After a Peer-to-Peer Campaign?

To answer this question, we turn to fundraising expert, Harvey McKinnon.

In a recent GuideStar interview, Harvey stated that,

Social media can also work reasonably well with peer-to-peer fundraising. The problem here, though, is that people aren’t giving to the cause, which they frequently don’t care about, they’re giving to their friend. And they’re difficult to convert to long-term donors. If you think the attrition rate for direct mail is bad, take a close look at donors who come in through social media. It’s appalling.

He’s not wrong! Donors who are persuaded to give to your nonprofit during a peer-to-peer campaign typically only donate because someone they know and trust (i.e., a family member or friend) has convinced them to.

Similarly, if donors are persuaded to give just because a friend or family member asked them to, it means that these new donors won’t know much about your organization. Often potential donors research organizations before making a gift to fully understand a nonprofit’s mission and how their money will be used. But with peer-to-peer fundraising, donors aren’t making that step to learn more about your mission.

If donors don’t have an initial connection to your cause, they’re less likely to seek out more information unless you make that connection first.

It’s also likely that your organization used techniques like gamification to motivate your fundraisers during the peer-to-peer campaign. While these strategies can be effective and useful in fundraising, they don’t help with donor retention.  Supporters often focus more on helping their friend or family member rather than understanding the cause they’re supporting.

Maybe that person would’ve found your organization, perused your website, and made a donation eventually, but the fact of the matter is that they likely gave because of their friend or family member, not because of your nonprofit.

 

What can you do to retain donors after a peer-to-peer campaign

What Can You Do to Retain Donors After Your Peer-to-Peer Campaign?

After a peer-to-peer campaign, you can have anywhere from dozens to thousands of new donors sitting in your database, and very few of them might have an actual connection to your organization. This situation puts your nonprofit in an interesting position.

Instead of letting these people wander into the woods of donor abandonment, implement a strategic stewardship plan.

Here are the steps you need to take (don’t worry; we’ll go into each one in more detail!).

  1. Thank donors immediately.
  2. Invite supporters to your peer-to-peer event.
  3. Acknowledge contributions again.
  4. Offer other engagement opportunities.

There are no shortcuts here. The stewardship plan for peer-to-peer donors should be deliberate and meaningful if you truly want to retain these individuals longterm.

1. Thank donors immediately.

If you wait too long to thank your peer-to-peer donors, they’re not going to have any interest in your nonprofit.

Instead, thank donors immediately after they make a contribution. 

This acknowledgement should be personal and genuine and should either be an email or letter.

Using cookie-cutter thank yous will show that your organization isn’t interested in your individual supporters; donors might think that all you care about is their money.

If a donor makes a particularly large donation, a leader or board member at your organization should call them to personally thank them for their contribution.

2. Invite supporters to your peer-to-peer event.

After an individual has made a donation and you’ve acknowledged that contribution, make sure they know that they’re invited to attend your peer-to-peer event.

This invitation can be included within your acknowledgement, but it should be a prominently featured message.

You should emphasize the fact that their friend/family member will be participating in the event and that they can help support them from the sidelines.

3. Acknowledge contributions again.

Once the peer-to-peer event has ended, you need to go back and acknowledge your donors’ gifts again.

By this time, anywhere from a few days to a few months will have passed since your first acknowledgement.

Now is the perfect time to remind donors of their contributions’ impact and how they can continue to support your mission.

This acknowledgement should be a bit more comprehensive than the first one. It can include:

  • Information about your nonprofit and your mission.
  • Facts about the problem you’re trying to solve and your solutions for that problem.
  • Details of how donors can get more involved (more on this in the next section!).
  • A genuine thank you for the donor’s involvement in your peer-to-peer campaign.
  • Details about what their donation went toward.

This acknowledgment can double as a welcome packet and should be sent via direct mail. You can even include small gifts such as bumper stickers, keychains, or pins.

To execute this acknowledgement, comprehensive peer-to-peer fundraising software can be a huge help. Peer-to-peer fundraising software worth buying should integrate into your CRM to create a seamless flow of data. That way, you can acknowledge your peer-to-peer donors based upon their existing relationship to your nonprofit. For example, newer donors can be informed more thoroughly about your mission, while long-time supporters can receive exclusive updates regarding the results of the peer-to-peer campaign.

4. Offer other engagement opportunities.

Within your second acknowledgement (or in a separate email or letter afterwards), offer your peer-to-peer donors other ways to interact with your organization.

These engagement opportunities might include:

  • Volunteer events.
  • Signing a petition.
  • Taking a tour of your nonprofit’s facilities.
  • Becoming a peer-to-peer fundraiser for your next campaign.
  • Working during a phonathon.
  • Attending an event.

You should also consider providing your peer-to-peer fundraisers with other engagement opportunities. Since they were eager to participate in your peer-to-peer fundraiser, they’ll be more receptive to supporting your nonprofit in other ways.

You should recommend that your fundraisers join your membership program, not only will it give them plenty of chances to get more involved, but they will also receive other perks. If you don’t already have one, membership programs can be effective tools in retaining your donors.

It’s important to remember that you should not ask these supporters for another contribution. The point of offering other engagement opportunities is for your peer-to-peer contributors and fundraiser to gain a deeper insight into your organization and the work you do.

Check out more tips and 40+ different templates for donor letters here.


Retaining donors after a peer-to-peer campaign is difficult, but it isn’t impossible. We’ll leave you with some more sage advice from Harvey McKinnon:

You have to try to convert these individuals [peer-to-peer donors] using a combination of channels, including the mail and telephone.

Go out there and start retaining your peer-to-peer campaign supporters!

And for more information about the steps from donor acquisition to donor retention, check out this article!

Check out our essential tips and tricks to finding software that fits your organization.

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