This week, the CrowdRise team is in New Orleans to mostly check out the parades at Mardi Gras, but also stop by one of the biggest fundraising conferences of the year: The 2019 Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum Conference. Couldn’t make it to the Big Easy? We’re live-sharing our favorite tips and takeaways from the conference. Enjoy...
Do you have a problem encouraging your supporters to register or start fundraising for your event? What about keeping your fundraisers engaged and retained year after year? Chances are, if you work for a nonprofit that hosts a peer-to-peer fundraising event, you said yes to one of the questions above.
In fact, most nonprofits that host peer-to-peer events cite registration, activation, optimization, or retention as one of their biggest fundraising problems. So, what diagnostics work to solve these peer-to-peer problems? Jillian, CEO and Consultant at Peerworks Consulting, offered a few in her session, P2P Diagnostics That Work, at P2P Forum ‘19.
“A problem adequately stated is a problem well on it’s way to being solved.” - Buckminster Fuller
“Before you begin thinking about a cure, you need to outline the real problem,” Jillian said. So, take a step back and look closer at the fundraising event that you are looking to grow — from your registration and fundraising activation, to the optimization and retention of your supporters.
When it comes to executing a successful peer-to-peer fundraising event, you need to have a combination of the right strategy, a solid concept, and a clear execution plan. “A bad concept that is executed perfectly will still produce a bad result,” Jillian said.
Evaluating your concept
First and foremost, it’s important to take a step back and ask yourself whether or not the concept of your event is posing too many barriers for your target audience. Or to put it simply, how much of the audience that you are marketing your event to actually has the ability or interest to do what you are asking of them?Here are the types of barriers that you should be considering:
- Of the people who have the interest and ability to participate in your event, how many people live in proximity to your event or could get there easily?
- From there, how many people are available on the day or weekend that you are asking them to participate?
- Next, does that segment of people actually have the willingness to do the fundraising? And if not, do they have the financial willingness to pay the amount that your event requires to participate?
- If your event has teams, how influential are these people to engage an audience that also meets all of the requirements above?
“All of these barriers need to be thought about,” Jillian said. “And if your barriers are way too high, you need to think about expanding your marketing budget so that you can hit a large enough audience that produces critical mass.”
Offering a solid value exchange
Looking at all of the barriers above, you can see just how much you are asking your participants to sacrifice — money, time, and effort. “You’re also asking them to stick their necks out for your program and invite their friends in,” Jillian added.
Therefore, you need to make sure that the marketing promise that you are giving them in return is a rich experience that is intensely emotional, and surprises and delights them. “Good is not good enough. You need to be great if you want high retention,” Jillian said.When planning your marketing promise for you event, make sure that you are hitting the following marks:
- You’re offering a unique and surprising experience that over delivers
- Your event is memorable, shareable, and offers plenty of social media opportunities
- Your supporters are leaving the event feeling like they have made valuable connections, or like they have a community of like-minded, passionate supporter
“When you fulfill that promise, and people are ecstatic about your program, you can begin to ask them to sacrifice more in the future — a higher fundraising goal, more time invested, etc.,” Jillian advised.
Speaking to your audience where they’re at
For most peer-to-peer fundraising events, you will see four types of people attending your program:
- Activity-focused: Someone who simply wants to participate in the activity (participating in a marathon, competing in a race, etc.)
- Peer-focused: Someone who signs up to participate in your event because they know someone else who is doing it
- Cause-focused: Someone who signs up to participate because they care about your cause
- Organization-focused: Someone who signs up to participate because they believe in your organization (these are your die-hard supporters)
Your marketing efforts (from initial ask to post-event thank you) should be speaking to each of these audiences differently. “How are you tailoring your marketing message to people who just want to do the activity vs. people who believe in your organization and are going to push the message out to their friends?” Jillian asked.
The further you go down this list, starting with activity-focused and ending with organization-focused, the more likely the person is to fundraise for your cause. So, you want to keep that in mind with your marketing efforts, and start testing different amounts of investment into each of these areas.
Be strategic with your timing
Last, but not least, it’s important be strategic with your timing of marketing and communications surrounding your events. Think about how many weeks out you should be launching your campaign. (Not your website for the campaign, but the actual launch of your major marketing push for the event.)
“You need to think about the time that is needed to recruit your critical mass of participants,” Jillian said. “If you have a small marketing budget, you’re going to require more time.”
To start, think about what you can do to incentivise supporters to register early, leaving them the most possible time to fundraise. “Some of our organizations will increase registration costs or impose a ‘late registration penalty’ for those who register within a week of the event — because they’re unlikely to fundraise much during that time,” Jillian shared. If that feels like too much, you could only guarantee a free t-shirt or water bottle to those who register at least a week out from the event. There are many ways to incentivize early registration.
But also, don't forget to leave time for your team to promote these early registration incentives that you are offering.
A big thanks to Jillian at Peerworks Consulting for offering the tips above for increased peer-to-peer fundraising event engagement. Click here to learn more about Peerworks Consulting. Also, if you want more great content from this year’s Peer to Peer Professional Forum Conference, be sure to check out our live coverage on Instagram and Twitter.