I remember being a young fundraiser– fresh out of college and ready to make the world a better place. I also remember getting hit with hurdles left and right because I was gung-ho about starting an online fundraising effort, but our organization wasn’t quite ready to make the leap.
We may alienate our current donors!
Who will run the technology?
We’re overwhelmed enough! We can’t do anything else at this time.
At the time, these hard “no’s” were discouraging. But looking back, their concerns were valid.
Let’s face it: Change is scary. The status quo is comfortable. And negative consequences are hard to overcome when every day, every hour, and every dollar matters.
So, what’s a nonprofit professional with ideas about starting a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign to do when it comes to resistance?
Amigo, it’s time to build your case!
In this post, I’ve outlined four common objections (you’ve probably already heard), and some arguments to help you make a case for peer-to-peer at your nonprofit that your board and boss can’t refuse.
Objection #1: We don’t need peer-to-peer, we’re doing fine with what we have.
Convince Them: Here’s why we should!
Having worked at a nonprofit that used highly traditional fundraising practices, it made sense for our leadership and board to be wary of new methods. We brought in enough money through direct mail, in-person meetings, and events to sustain our programming, and we were even able to add a few more initiatives to the mix over the years.
But was our retention rate ideal? Nope. Were we making giving easy? Not for everyone. Were we taxing staff with sometimes unnecessary travel? Absolutely. And these were just a few of the ways we were strangling ourselves with complacency. Sound familiar?
So why should you expand on your current fundraising efforts with peer-to-peer?
Giving donors options helps, it doesn’t hinder. Just as you know you should ask Ms. Smith for her gift during a phone conversation near year-end, and you can anticipate that Mr. Roberts will mail in his gift when his tax return comes in, you’ll find that online peer-to-peer appeals to a donor population you’ve yet to tap. It doesn’t take away from what you’re already doing.
You’re building a broader base. Major donors are often older donors, and you’re likely doing everything in your power to appeal to them. Great! But it’s the relationships you build right now with your mid-age and Millennial donors that will shape your future major donor situation. By connecting with your online, tech-savvy population now (which includes donors of all ages), you’re building a foundation for the future.
It’s just one piece of the puzzle. You don’t have to get rid of your tried-and-true methods completely, but adding another element does help you evaluate what is and isn’t working, and gives you room to readjust your methods if needed.
Objection #2: Peer-to-peer won’t work for our donor base.
Convince Them: You’re already using the same principles in your other efforts.
You’ve heard it before: older donor’s don’t trust online giving, young donors are flighty, our donors are used to giving this particular way.
Assumptions and generalizations aside, your board and boss should realize that there are definite ways peer-to-peer won’t just appeal, but excite your donor base.
Peer-to-peer appeals to lots of people. Contrary to what you may have heard, supporters of every age group show a willingness to fundraise for a nonprofit. Studies show that 90 % of Millennials and Gen Xers and 80% of Baby Boomers would consider participating in peer-to-peer. So toss those preconceived notions aside!
Word-of-mouth is the best way to spread your message. Word-of-mouth marketing is the original Yelp review, and when it comes from someone you know, it means that much more. Recommendations from friends and family carry more weight than if they come straight from the businesses or nonprofit, which means your fundraising campaign can draw more attention when it’s shared by those closest to your cause.
It makes the cause personal. Impact stories are great for tugging at heartstrings and connecting your work with your fundraising, but when the story is personal and told by a personal fundraiser, it packs an even bigger punch.
Donors are surprisingly adaptable, particularly if you already have them hooked. While it’d be hard to bring all your fundraising to a single website if your donors are used to giving by phone, direct mail, or even email, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Donors understand that change happens, and you’re not liable to ruffle too many feathers if you go about it with purpose.
Objection #3: It’s just not in the budget
Convince Them: It’s worth it, and it won’t break the bank!
Fundraising costs don’t start and stop at staffing expenses. Direct mail requires paper, printing, and postage. You need to invest in entertainment, food, and decorations for special events. Even email fundraisers require basic (yet sometimes pricey) technology like CRM systems, email marketing tools, and a grammar checker.
Every fundraising activity has a cost. And chances are, your nonprofit leaders are trying to limit these costs, not expand on them.
You can’t deny that adding peer-to-peer will result in added costs upfront. However, there’s a potential for:
- Increased buy-in from current supporters, especially those who feel more connected to your work after advocating for as a personal fundraiser.
- New donors resulting from the power of word-of-mouth fundraising.
- A decreased need for other fundraising expenses such as postage, as many transactions will now happen online.
The cost of adding additional employees is something many nonprofits worry about when starting new fundraising activities. But for most nonprofits, online fundraising doesn’t require another employee, because there’s ample backend support from the online fundraising platform (more on this below).
If you’re still worried about cost, look for fundraising software that offers low-cost options for nonprofits new to fundraising. For example, CauseVox has a Basic plan geared for small and medium-sized nonprofits that requires no monthly maintenance payment and a flat 5% platform fee.
Objection #4: What about the free online fundraising options out there?
Convince Them: Features matter if you want your campaign to have longevity.
There are free online fundraising options out there, but their capabilities are too limited for most nonprofits. Free options can impede your fundraising because they:
- Aren’t always customizable to your brand
- Limit your storytelling capacity
- Make it difficult to track and follow up with your donors
- Create a lot of noise in an already busy environment
When you pay to use online fundraising software, you’re not just paying for the technology. You’re also receiving invaluable support and necessary features that promote retention and community-building.
Built-in features such as donor/data tracking, customizable fields, consistent branding, team/group options, other software integrations, and an easy-to-use interface make it easy for nonprofits, personal fundraisers, and donors to manage and promote campaigns.
Advanced storytelling functions, such as the ability to add unlimited pictures and video, blog updates, and impact metrics offer nonprofits and fundraisers options to reach their audience best.
Platforms also provide customer support, the backend technology upkeep, and resources to ensure a seamless fundraising experience.
Without the ability to share your nonprofit story effectively, reach a broad range of prospective donors, and track data from those donors (so you can reach back out again after the campaign is over), the relationship with your newly acquired donors ends the minute it begins.
If you’re ready to build your case for peer-to-peer, do this now:
- Analyze your donor base, and compare data such as age to giving method, and percentage of major donations compared to the total budget. Are you missing out on major donor groups? Where are you excelling?
- Make a list of all your fundraising activities over the year. Determine which ones bring in the most money, and which ones garner the most attention.
- Create a plan outlining the details for your peer-to-peer campaign, and how it will fit into the bigger picture. Who will you target? When? What is a reasonable goal? Will you reach a new donor population?
- Understand the cost of the plan, and factor that into your fundraising budget.
- Determine which functions are essential. Do you need a full fundraising platform plus CRM, or are you looking to just dabble in a campaign to get your feet wet?
You can use CauseVox to run peer to peer fundraising with clutter-free admin control, time-saving fundraising automation, and real-time reporting without the extra effort. Learn more about peer-to-peer fundraising with CauseVox.