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Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Made Easy
In recent months, we've seen Internet powerhouses begin to tweak and introduce new advertising tactics as an attempt to reach target customer groups more effectively. These changes come from a simple idea that marketers have always instinctually understood: the strength behind a personal reference. Online marketing is transforming from business -> consumer to consumer -> consumer. Our clients are now becoming our promoters. Powerful stuff!
Facebook is certainly the trend setter in peer marketing. You've probably noticed that the ads you see to the right of your page are for companies, brands, or services that one or more of your Facebook friends have already given their "thumbs up". This is called “Sponsored Stories”. These stories give an impression that the advertisements are simply suggestions from people you are connected to rather than a company pushing their brand. Another example is Google's recently launched 'Social Search'. Rankings from your search query now are higher relative to your social network's activity. If a contact from your Gmail has recommended a website, a Facebook friend posted a link on his profile, or a Twitter follower mentioned the brand or site, that particular site will be listed towards the top of your search with a note informing you of the recommendation.
This trend is very fitting for nonprofits, particularly because this is how not for profit organizations have been receiving financial support long before the Internet age. Your believers and supporters have an emense amount of passion for your mission. They without a doubt have like-minded friends in their personal network who also have similar interests. You will reach new fundraising benchmarks by enabling those supporters to create their own financial goals and connect with their personal network. The very people who are most passionate about your cause have become the marketers for your organization. So how do you get started?
First, choose the software. The ideal product should integrate seamlessly with your donor management software, but you also want your peer-to-peer fundraising software to be loaded with very user-friendly tools for your supporters. Tools that will enable your advocates to easily communicate with their network – like send emails, post on Facebook and Twitter, describe their personal story, easily send 'thank you' emails, and promote their individual fundraising goals – are essential to your success. Below I've highlighted a few tips for developing a success peer-to-peer fundraising campaign:
- Encourage your supporters to share their story on why they feel so passionate for your cause. Chances are their stories will come across as more compelling than even your best marketing pieces.
- Be completely transparent of each dollar's purpose. Personal donation funds are in tight competition these days and your potential donors will feel at ease knowing how useful their donation will be.
- Provide your peer-to-peer fundraisers with structured content for donation requests, goal reminders and 'thank yous' notes. They will thank you for lifting a weight off of their shoulders.
- Leverage your supporters' social and professional circles by providing tools for them to promote their fundraising goals to their network. Easy linking tools to email, direct mail, Facebook, and Twitter will be the backbone to a successful peer-to-peer fundraiser.
So my big question is - what your best practices for a peer-to-peer marketing campaign and what kind of events do you sponsor to reach those fundraising goals?