Nonprofit Technology
Fundraising Software

The Complete Guide to Using Peer-To-Peer Fundraising for Your Nonprofit

Published by in Fundraising Software

Crowdfunding has taken off as a dominant and popular method of fundraising, however sometimes traditional crowdfunding isn’t the right solution for your nonprofit organization.


Peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising is a fantastic crowdfunding alternative to raise money for your organization while building a larger network to pull from.

But what is P2P fundraising?

This guide will teach you the what, the why, the when, and the how to make P2P fundraising work for your nonprofit.

How is P2P different from traditional crowdfunding?

P2P fundraising, like traditional online crowdfunding, uses an online peer-to-peer platform to collect donated funds, but where the money comes from is a completely different process.


Rather than depend on complete strangers to donate to your organization for a specific product, service, or initiative, P2P fundraising relies on your existing network of members and supporters to do most of the heavy lifting for you.

Why and when should you use peer-to-peer?

By using the networks of your supporters (their families, friends, and colleagues) you can organically reach new monetary resources and build new relationships with possible donors. Tapping these resources also requires no advertising, which is a huge relief on your budget. The only downside is the time you need to take to teach your network to fundraise on your behalf.

But when should you use P2P fundraising?

When raising funds for specific products, services, and initiatives, a traditional crowdfunding campaign may be what you are looking for. On the other hand, when you are looking for general funds that aren’t earmarked for a specific purpose, peer-to-peer fundraising is a much better option to choose.
Traditional crowdfunding requires advertising campaigns and tangible services/initiatives that show a specific amount of funding to complete. According to, campaigns with tangible initiatives and monetary thresholds tend to create trust and  have a positive effect on donations. This isn’t true of P2P fundraising where the relationship between donors and the fundraiser allows for general fundraising and longer stretched campaigns.

So if you need money for normal operations, consider P2P fundraising .

Building a peer-to-peer campaign

P2P campaigns are a great way to bring your network together for exciting events or other initiatives that invest a participant in the fundraising experience.

5k runs, bike-a-thons, beard growing, etc. All of these activities are interactive and allow participants to participate even while donating.

Never built a P2P campaign? Well, luckily it isn’t terribly difficult and can be plenty of fun in the process.
First off, you should try to be creative about choosing which kind of activity and incentive you want to provide your network to bring in new blood to your organization.


Themed events surrounding the nature or location of the fundraiser are always solid options. The Polar Bear Plunge, for example, has always had a powerfully-themed campaign that depends on masochistic supporters to pledge $75 and freeze themselves in the Atlantic Ocean in support of those with intellectual disabilities.

After you choose your campaign and theme, your next responsibility is bringing your network up to speed on how to fundraise, typically in a face-to-face fashion. You want your foot soldiers to be fully prepared so they can interest their networks in supporting their (and ultimately your) cause. You should select leaders for teams as well as provide incentives for those teams to bring as many participants as possible. These incentives could be something as simple as gift cards, or as elaborate as a dinner thrown for the winning team.

Consistent reminders of the reward(s) for their hard work of recruiting in new participants goes a long way in reaching your fundraising goals.

If all goes according to plan, your and your network’s efforts will result in exponential outreach to new potential supporters and donors. Be sure to reward your fundraising teams for their efforts as well as capitalize on the new members’ donations and information.

Congratulations, you have successfully completed your first P2P fundraising initiative!


Do you have any experience with P2P fundraising? Did you find it more or less successful than standard online crowdfunding? Let us know in the comments below!

Looking for Fundraising software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Fundraising software solutions.

About the Author

Nick Morpus

Nick Morpus

Nick Morpus is a former Capterra analyst.



Comment by Lisa Bennett on

Thanks for sharing this information, Nick. If your readers are looking for free resources to get started with peer-to-peer fundraising, we have a timeline, budget, white paper and more at We have geared these resources towards walk-a-thons, as they continue to be the most popular peer-to-peer fundraisers, but as you pointed out, P2P & these resources can be used for all types of fundraising campaigns. DoJiggy also offers affordable peer-to-peer fundraising software: Thanks!

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