Virtual Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Posted on July 1, 2020 by Wendy Levine in Fundraising and Grants.

Traditional Peer-to-Peer (P2P) events involve in-person activities, such as walk-a-thons or 5k races.  Supporters sign-up their friends, co-workers, and family members to pledge money for every mile they run or every hour they dance.  It’s a great (and fun) way to raise money!  

Nonprofit organizations have also been running virtual Peer-to-Peer events for years.  Sometimes referred to as Do-it-Yourself (DIY) or Evergreen P2P – these events do not have an in-person component, yet can be just as effective in raising funds for your organization.  As organizations continue to cancel in-person fundraising events, virtual P2P events can often fill that gap.

Let’s take a look at different types of virtual P2P events, along with some tips for making them successful!

Types of Peer-to-Peer Campaigns

  1. Personal Challenges
    Personal Challenge P2P campaigns can involve anything from beard-growing competitions to fitness-focused challenges.  Your fundraisers can solicit support for their virtual marathon or something more akin to the ice-bucket challenge.  These types of P2P campaigns can go viral – so get creative!
  1. Special event fundraisers
    Our clients often have supporters who ask for donations to the organization in lieu of birthday gifts.  By setting up an “evergreen” virtual peer-to-peer campaign that is always available for your supporters to use – you will be giving them a way to maximize gifts around birthdays, weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, and more!  
  1. In-person event replacements
    Consider replacing a canceled in-person event with a virtual peer-to-peer event.  While there are lots of activities that can replace an in-person event – there are times it makes sense to duplicate some or all of the original event virtually.  For example, your supporters can walk or run a 5k on their own – using a fitness app or online site to track their progress.  

Components of a successful virtual Peer-to-Peer Campaign

  1. Marketing & Outreach
    As is the case with any fundraising event – you need to get the word out as early and as often as possible.  You know what works with your supporters, but if you are holding a virtual event for the first time consider expanding your messaging so that everyone knows exactly what has changed and what hasn’t changed.  A few specific tips:
    Create an event hashtag and use it!
  • Make sure event information is prominent and easy to find on your organization’s website.
  • Post daily campaign updates and shout-outs to new fundraisers and supporters
  • Invite your supporters, board members, and community personalities to share your posts and supply you with quotes, photos, and videos to use.
  • Invite key supporters or others to “take over” your Twitter or Facebook accounts for a day!
  1. Fundraiser Coaching
    We have found that the organizations with the most successful P2P campaigns provide significant coaching and support for their fundraisers:
  • As soon as a new supporter signs up to be a fundraiser on the campaign, send them a welcome email with easy-to-follow instructions for setting up a great fundraising page.  Be sure to include information on how they can get help if they run into trouble or have questions.
  • Send your fundraisers weekly or monthly emails (depending on the pace of the campaign) with ideas, encouragement, and campaign updates.  Keep them engaged!
  • Use “gamification” to keep your fundraisers engaged by posting leader-boards and recognizing milestones.  Send organization t-shirts or donated gift cards to fundraisers when they get their first donation, the most donations for the week, etc.
  • Provide fundraisers with email examples and sample social posts that they can use to communicate with their network of potential donors. 
  1. A Well-Crafted Campaign/Event Site
    A compelling event site – whether that be one landing page on your website or more – makes a big difference in how many visitors fill out your sign-up form!  Some suggestions:
  • Include a short video from a member of your leadership team or board.  Keep it to less than 2 or 3 minutes and focus on what your goals are for the event and what it will mean to your mission.  The video doesn’t need to look professionally-produced, but take care to capture good audio and include a transcript for closed-captioning.
  • Get creative and pick a theme.  Use the same colors throughout your campaign pages and communications. 
  • Make sure to prominently display event hashtags and other social media information.
  • Use a mascot!  (definitely, not a requirement – but an office pet works really well)

Whatever type of peer-to-peer campaign you decide on – be creative, get the word out, and have fun!


Wendy Levine is the Marketing Director at Salsa Labs, a leading provider of Smart Engagement Technology for nonprofit organizations.  Salsa’s unified platform is used by thousands of nonprofits to manage fundraising efforts, advocacy campaigns, peer-to-peer events, and digital marketing.   Wendy is passionate about communicating the best ideas to the right audience and loves working for an organization that helps nonprofits who change the world every day.


© 2012 - 2020 Harbor Compliance. All rights reserved. Harbor Compliance does not provide tax, financial, or legal advice. Use of our services does not create an attorney-client relationship. Harbor Compliance is not acting as your attorney and does not review information you provide to us for legal accuracy or sufficiency. Access to our website is subject to our Terms of Use and Service Agreement.