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Insights from the 2024 Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum

The team at Pledge It was excited to attend the country’s largest gathering of peer-to-peer nonprofit professionals last week in Philadelphia - the 2024 Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum Conference!

This conference is an annual highlight for our team – it’s a chance to connect in-person with our nonprofit partners, to attend presentations and workshops on the latest trends and best practices of peer-to-peer fundraising, and for our staff to learn alongside each other.

We enjoyed leaving the confines of Zoom for the opportunity to have in-depth conversations about the peer-to-peer fundraising landscape as we move into 2024.

While there was much to be gleaned from this year’s conference, here are some key takeaways that we’d like to bring to our partners – and some questions to ask yourself as you evaluate your own peer-to-peer campaigns!

Take a fresh look at your participant data

Don’t be afraid to diversify what key performance indicators you’re looking at, or to evaluate participant performance across multiple intersections. At the Walk Summit, the team from the Crohn’s and Colitis Gutsy Walk reminded us that a participant who raises $2,000 in their first year is very different from a participant who raises $2,000 after 5 years. A basic comparison of dollars raised might put them into the same category of fundraiser, so consider how you might benefit from segmenting your analysis across different categories to learn more about the performance of your new vs. returning fundraisers – and how you communicate with them!

And while there’s always value in understanding the broad strokes of average gift size, average raised per fundraiser, and overall recruitment numbers, the team from NAMI Walks reminded us that success looks different to every campaign. What are the key performance indicators that correlate to success in your campaign?

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What happens when you overlay your communication timeline on your event data - are you seeing results when you should or are your communications missing the mark?
  • What’s happening with your $0 fundraisers? Even if they aren’t fundraising (yet), something has tied them to your mission - how can you discover what it is to leverage future engagement? View them as an opportunity rather than a pitfall.

Don’t be afraid to deconstruct and rebuild

If you’ve been doing the same thing year after year (because that’s just how it’s always been!), it may be time for a fresh slate. That doesn’t mean throwing everything out the window, but it does mean revisiting the participant experience for your event with a critical eye. The folks from Cure SMA reminded us that your mission and your audience evolve and your event shouldn’t be afraid to recalibrate and evolve too. It may just open the door to more engagement from new, fresh audiences.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Are your participants motivated by the same things as they were in the past?
  • What does your registration experience need? Are participants getting overwhelmed from the start, when they should be feeling eager and inspired to jump in?
  • Is there an opportunity to engage a new generation of fundraisers that you may have been missing?

“More” isn’t always better

More community, yes. More funds raised, absolutely. More moments that matter, 100%! But “more” shouldn’t include more complexity. We heard from multiple organizations about how they are challenging whether the additional cost and complexity in their event creates a more impactful experience for participants. Complex incentive structures, multiple routes and registration options along with catering to individual requests of long-time participants can overwhelm p2p event organizers.

One group shared they eliminated t-shirts this year and opted instead to offer personalized, one-size-fits-all sunglasses for everyone. The organization saved a significant amount of money, simplified check-in because there were no t-shirt hassles and their participants loved the new SWAG!

Another group eliminated nearly all of their incentive levels and instead, announced a well-timed sponsor match that drove 2x more fundraising compared to the incentives!

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Do my registration options create a more meaningful experience?
  • What is the goal of each facet of my incentive plan? Have I talked with participants about whether the incentives matter?

Your peer-to-peer campaign is a gateway

The participants and donors you engage in your P2P campaigns have genuine potential to become your organization's largest donors – if you foster that connection! Event stewardship doesn’t begin and end with your campaign’s dates, so consider evaluating how you communicate with participants and donors about your overall mission and lean into how your peer-to-peer campaigns can be an important entryway into your organization. The Crohns and Colitis Foundation reported that nearly half of their P2P participants get involved in other aspects of their organization, increasing their lifetime value.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you finding ways to build community through your communications?
  • Are you meeting your participants where they’re at with information, guidance, and motivation that speaks to their reality?
  • Are you creating space for continued engagement in your organization’s mission, beyond the confines of the event?

Scenes from the 2024 P2P Forum Scenes from the 2024 P2P Professional Forum Conference, "The Art of P2P"

Our team is excited to take the lessons from the “Top 30” organizations honored this year and adapt them to share with our customers. We were also excited to see that many of the trends this year – around the value of data and benchmarks, community building, and stewardship – align with our team’s priorities.

Our goal is to make it easier than ever for campaign managers to compare progress with the previous year’s campaign, craft targeted communications to previous participants and track retention, and create space for an engaged community.

Chat with us

Are you eager to learn more about some small but impactful changes you could make to your peer-to-peer fundraising plans? Our Customer Success team is always happy to discuss strategy with you and would love to schedule time to connect. If you haven’t gotten started with Pledge It yet but would like to learn more about our latest features, reach out to our team for a demo today.

More about the P2P Forum

Pledge It is a proud sponsor of the 2024 Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum. We’d love to see more of our nonprofit partners at this conference in the future! Consider becoming a P2P Forum member or following the P2P Forum on LinkedIn for the latest trends in peer-to-peer fundraising and news about the 2025 conference to be held next February.

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Published on March 4, 2024

by Caitlyn Schuchhardt

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