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Peer-to-Peer Asking: It’s Not About Dollars, It’s About Change

We’ve been training some amazing boards to go out and ask for large campaign gifts. And we always make the point that a peer-to-peer ask is best.

The peer-to-peer ask is one of the bedrocks of best fundraising practice. An ask is more effective if it comes from someone who already supports the organization as a volunteer.

It’s often thought of as a strategy that only some organizations can implement, however. There’s definitely a perception that peer-to-peer fundraising only happens between wealthy people. And that if your organization doesn’t have the support of the top-notch philanthropists to ask other top philanthropists in town, you’re out of luck.

But, if that’s your view, I challenge you to think differently. Peer-to-peer fundraising can work for any organization, at any level. Being a peer in social change means that people share the same sense of commitment, not the same bank balance.

Being a peer isn’t about being the same age, looking the same, or having the same social profile. Being a peer is about shared passion.

You, no doubt, have stellar peer-to-peer fundraisers among your donors that you could activate right now in your community.

Promising peer-to-peer fundraisers only need to have three characteristics:

  1. They made a gift of significance. This doesn’t necessarily mean a gift with lots of zeroes. This means a gift that took a leap of faith for the individual personally.
  2. They have passion for the organization and a desire to spread it. Your best peer askers will want to share the joy they get from being part of your organization.
  3. They are willing to talk about the significance of their own support in their lives with others.

The appeal is simple, and it isn’t about money. “I care about this cause deeply and I’ve made a gift that is a real stretch for me. I give not only my dollars, but my volunteer time as well. Will you join me?”

How can you connect your most devoted donors across the giving spectrum to foster an exchange of ideas and generate resources? How can you re-organize your thinking to harness those with the most passion to make your case in the community?

Is your old-school conception of peer-to-peer fundraising getting in the way?


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