Guide to Planning Virtual Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Events

Peer-to-peer fundraising has been a staple in the nonprofit sector in recent years, and for good reason! A well-designed peer-to-peer fundraiser can help your organization expand its network, bring increased awareness to your mission, and make significant headway toward meeting and exceeding your fundraising goals. 


However, did you know that you can couple your peer-to-peer campaigns with online events to spark even more engagement? 


Virtual events bring your peer-to-peer fundraising participants together, no matter where they are in the world, to engage with your cause and feel truly connected to your nonprofit’s community. To help your nonprofit host the perfect virtual peer-to-peer fundraising event, we’ll go over these top strategies:


  • Set defined goals
  • Invest in the right technology
  • Market your event


Event planning involves plenty of moving parts, but with a set plan and timeline, you’ll have no problem putting together a winning virtual event. 

Set defined goals for your peer-to-peer fundraiser

Before you can jump into planning your peer-to-peer fundraising event, you need to set clear goals for your team. Goal-setting will help your organization create a clear roadmap to reaching your objectives and foster accountability across your team. 

Rather than setting broad goals that leave your team wondering how to turn ideas into action, it’s important to make your goal-setting process as detailed as possible by following the SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) model. 


Let’s take a look at what a SMART goal might look like in action for a nonprofit pairing a virtual walkathon with their peer-to-peer campaign: 


  • Specific: Our goal is to acquire new donors through our peer-to-peer walkathon by leveraging the networks of existing supporters. 
  • Measurable: We’ll set out to acquire 250 new donors and enlist at least 15% of our current supporters to create their own fundraising pages. 
  • Achievable: This goal is achievable because when we last hosted a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign without an accompanying event, we were able to acquire 150 new donors and enlisted 10% of our current supporters to participate. By adding an event, we’ll be able to spark more engagement and see our goals through. 
  • Relevant: Increasing donor acquisition will help our organization grow, and with the right donor stewardship strategies, we can then inspire giving on a recurring basis. 
  • Time-bound: We will launch our peer-to-peer campaign in two months, giving our team plenty of time to plan our event. Then, we’ll run our campaign for three weeks, giving supporters this period of time to hit their fundraising goals and lead walks in their local parks or around their neighborhoods. We’ll plan to check in on our fundraising progress twice a week to make sure we’re hitting our benchmarks and re-strategize as needed. 


Make sure to outline the specific tasks you’ll execute to reach your goals and the point people assigned to each project. This specificity will help to keep your team on track to pass the fundraising finish line. 

Invest in the right virtual event technology 

An online peer-to-peer event requires having the right technology in place so anyone from anywhere in the world can engage with your organization in real time. The OneCause guide to fundraising platforms recommends investing in a solution with the following features: 


  • Livestreaming: If you’re pairing your peer-to-peer campaign with an event like an online gala or auction, you need a way to effectively connect with your supporters. The right software will help you create a hassle-free livestream where your audience can tune in, engage with other supporters through live chat, and act on donation appeals as part of the livestreaming experience. Plus, your nonprofit should be able to play embedded content or videos during breaks in your programming to keep supporters tapped in. 

  • Event management: Managing the ins and outs of your event can quickly get complicated. Make sure to work with a fundraising platform that has built-in event management solutions such as the ability to create custom peer-to-peer microsites, manage online ticket sales and RSVPs for your virtual event, and send segmented email and text communications to keep your supporters in the loop. 

  • Personalized fundraising pages: A key piece of your peer-to-peer fundraising event is empowering supporters to develop their own campaign pages. They should be able to set and display a unique fundraising goal, share their story of why they’re supporting your nonprofit’s mission, and add photos and videos for an extra personal touch. Plus, these fundraising pages should come with built-in sharing buttons so supporters can easily share them with their personal networks online. 


  • Gamification: One of the most challenging parts of hosting any virtual event is sustaining your supporters’ attention. By incorporating gamification, you can keep energy levels and motivation high, leading to enhanced participation and donations. With the help of the right software, you can add fundraising thermometers to your peer-to-peer microsite and feature leadership scoreboards to encourage supporters to raise as much as possible. 


Your fundraising tool should also provide data reports so you can track your fundraiser’s progress and make adjustments as needed to optimize your chances of success. 

Market your virtual peer-to-peer event

To get as many supporters to participate in your event as possible, you need a strong marketing strategy. NXUnite by Nexus Marketing’s guide to digital marketing recommends taking a multichannel approach so you can encourage multiple audiences to get involved and keep your event top of mind. 


Consider sharing content related to your peer-to-peer event on the following channels: 

Social media

Consider your audience’s demographics, and decide where your audience spends most of their time, whether that’s on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, or another popular channel. Then, invite well-connected supporters to serve as ambassadors and share photos and videos about your event on their channels. 


Segment your contact list based on factors like demographics, interests, and involvement, and send personalized emails that are likely to catch your audience’s eye and prompt them to take action. 


Direct mail

Some of your supporters may be more old-school and prefer to hear from your organization in the mail. Include instructions on how to create a peer-to-peer fundraising page, and consider adding a QR code, allowing audiences to easily navigate to your fundraising microsite.


Create a compelling microsite with the help of your fundraising software. Your microsite should have the following key elements:


Suggested alt text: A chart showing the essential elements of a fundraising campaign microsite, described in the bulleted list below. 


  • Your campaign’s purpose and fundraising goal
  • Ways to get involved
  • Impactful visuals
  • Embedded donation and registration pages
  • Responsive web design


Once your microsite is set up, make sure to include a link to it in all of your communications to attract more traffic and encourage engagement. 


Wrapping Up

Peer-to-peer fundraising is a popular nonprofit, charity, and school fundraising campaign because it drives tangible results and inspires plenty of supporter engagement. By pairing it with a compelling virtual event, you’ll be sure to expand your reach, maximize giving, and form strong relationships with your donor base. After your event wraps up, ask your audience for feedback so you can make your next virtual peer-to-peer event an even greater success!