5 Tips for “Right-Sizing” Your P2P Event

This post is the first in a 3 part series for small to medium-sized charities launching their first peer-to-peer fundraising event.

iStock_000063619123_Fullby Shannon Craig, CanadaHelps

A peer-to-peer (P2P) social fundraising event has the potential to positively benefit your non-profit, deepening your relationship with your current supporters, raising awareness of the work you do, and attracting new donors to dramatically grow your fundraising program. However, as a small to medium-size non-profit, it’s critical that you “right-size” your event.  In others words, you should strive to match the type/scale of event you choose to your available resources.

Here are 5 important tips to “right-size” your P2P event:

Set a Realistic Fundraising Goal
A great rule of thumb for setting a realistic fundraising goal is to secure 30% of your total goal within the first 48 hours of your campaign. In other words, estimate how much you can likely acquire in the first two days and multiple it by about three and a half. You’ll be thankful you did later when you see how ecstatic your supporters are when they’ve reached it.

Keep it Manageable
Keep your event manageable and think outside of the box. Some events such as runs require a lot of planning, logistics and working with third parties (municipal governments, lawyers, etc.) to make them successful. Where you may need waivers and permits for a run or ride, far less planning is required for an event like a write-a-thon where your supporters write letters of support for a given cause. The key is to choose an event type that can be managed with the resources you have. If weather is a risk and you don’t have a budget for tents, simply look indoors. Consider a stationary event over a run or walk to avoid the complexities of coordinating traffic management, the need for more signage, volunteers, etc. From cook-a-thons to read-a-thons, there are many types of P2P events that can be kept manageable while providing a great experience for your participants and even the broader community.

Think About Your Supporters
Great events don’t have to be huge! Just three canoes and nine paddling fundraisers may be enough to meet your camp’s fundraising goal to build that new craft cabin. Spend time figuring out who your core supporters are that you can count on. Then, choose an event type that they’ll embrace (it may turn out your core supporters are not in for a physical challenge).  If you’re appointing your supporters as team captains, estimate how many people they will be able to recruit as their fundraising team members. Then, you’ll have a better idea of who will be involved so you can choose the proper location. If space is an issue, opt for an event where participants can be spread out at different locations, or participate at different times.

Minimize Costs
When you think of P2P fundraising, you will often think of t-shirts, free hats, free food, sponsor giveaways and prizes. These costs can quickly add up, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are many creative ways to do more with less. Look for sponsors and partners to donate or lend you their support. This can be in the form of sound equipment, tables, etc. Do a bring-your-own-lunch at the end of the event. Rather than t-shirts, ask everyone to dress in your colours.

Make it Memorable
One of your primary goals when creating a P2P fundraising event should be to create a memorable experience for your supporters – after all, you want them to join again next year!  The trick is to make them feel connected to your cause and the people involved. Think about how you can deepen the passion they feel for your cause and foster relationships — the people they meet, experiences they share, and the difference they feel like they’re making as part of a team. Fun is another way to drive engagement. Did they enjoy participating? Are they talking about the event with their friends and sharing photos on Facebook?  Also, little touches matter – small mementos that keep your cause top of mind months later, like photos of your work with messaging that makes it clear your impact without them would be impossible.

Read the next post in this series “Building Awareness for Your First P2P Event

About the Author:

Shannon Craig is the Chief Marketing & Product Officer at CanadaHelps. CanadaHelps.org allows donors to safely donate and fundraise online for any registered Canadian charity and also provides charities the secure online fundraising platform and education resources they need to succeed. As a registered charity itself, CanadaHelps has facilitated over $500 million in donations to Canadian charities online since launching in 2000. Over 15,000 Canadian charities fundraise online using the CanadaHelps platform. Stay connected with CanadaHelps on Twitter @CanadaHelps.


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