The impossibility of holding mass participation events this spring has P2P program leaders scrambling to create alternatives to “real world” events in a manner that will actually raise funds.
In fact, a number of leading programs have taken swift steps to create virtual fundraising campaigns:
- In early March, the March of Dimes went from expecting to hold 257 Spring walks to announcing that they were virtualizing the entire program. Then followed an intense period in which a multifaceted team and consultants collaborated to determine what that meant.
- The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network has canceled all of its March through May PurpleStrides programs and is directing supporters to channel their fundraising into the group’s Virtual Strider program.
- With a history linked back to head shaving events held on St. Patrick’s Day, the St. Baldrick’s Foundation has a strong skew toward Spring events to fight pediatric cancer. When it became clear that these volunteer-organized events could not go on as planned, the group decided to leverage an existing DIY platform as the basis for encouraging supporters to “go virtual.”
Unfortunately, “virtualizing” a program is not as simple as “if you build it, they will come.” Participants, donors and organizers have grown accustomed to linking a physical activity to asking for donations.
Going virtual requires development teams to create elements that will engage all of these stakeholder groups.
Advice for P2P Fundraisers
The Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum recently played host to a special webinar designed to help peer-to-peer fundraising professionals navigate this important transition.
Charity Dynamics’ Sue Dalos offered a checklist of strategies and tactics for alternative peer-to-peer fundraising channels to have the best chance of succeeding.
Dalos was joined by an expert panel of peer-to-peer professionals who are building programs on the fly. They include March of Dimes COO Alan Brogdon, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network CDO Lori Stevens and St. Baldrick’s Foundation Chief External Relations Officer Anja Kloch.