We recently asked peer-to-peer fundraising experts what they are encouraging their fellow fundraisers to do more of in 2015. Here are some of their suggestions:
Look to organic events for inspiration
The most noteworthy peer-to-peer fundraising effort in 2014 — the Ice Bucket Challenge — wasn’t conceived of in a nonprofit fundraising office. It started with a volunteer fundraiser. Jeff Shuck, chief executive officer at Plenty, says peer-to-peer fundraisers should learn from that lesson in 2015 and begin listening more to their supporters. “If your organization is searching for new ideas on experience, acquisition, or retention, you’ll likely find inspiration at the local level,” he says. “Leverage – and recognize – all of the resources your constituents have to offer. Your constituents bring more than money to the table.” Shuck says listening to and acting on your volunteers’ ideas will do much more than raise money for your organization. It will also help build trust.
Embrace your complainers
Few of us enjoy hearing complaints from our participants, volunteers, or committee members. But Shana Masterson, a senior consultant for Blackbaud, says we shouldn’t look at complainers as nuisances. Instead, we should view their complaints as an opportunity to build stronger relationships. “By putting in the time with your squeakiest wheels, proactively seeking their input, and being their partner, you will see stronger fundraising results and higher retention,” Masterson says. “Don’t resent your complainers – embrace them!”
Give better tools to your supporters
For many organizations, the challenge isn’t finding people who are willing to participate in an event. The challenge is getting them to raise money. Ed Lord, vice president of strategic services at DonorDrive, says peer-to-peer professionals can bridge this disconnect by helping them be better communicators and fundraisers. “We all know that most participants are not born fundraisers, so why aren’t we doing more to help them achieve success?” he asks. “When someone signs up for your event online, they should receive tips on fundraising and get encouragement to raise money.”
Get out of the office
Social media and online fundraising platforms have made it easy to hide behind our desks. But as important as these digital tools are in building relationships, they are not a replacement for real-life interactions. While all of our experts suggest that peer-to-peer fundraisers need to continue to be more strategic in how they use digital tools, they also say that we need to also make sure they’re getting real-life face time with their supporters. “While ‘machine-to-machine’ communication is becoming increasingly important to get right, ‘face-to-face’ communication is the biggest must have of 2015,” Masterson says.
What is your peer-to-peer fundraising resolution for 2015? We’d love to hear your ideas. Post a comment below to share your thoughts.