This is part 7 of the Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Guide, based on an excerpt from the Complete guide to building a DIY fundraising program, and is reposted (with minor edits) with Donor Drive‘s permission.

It is surprising, but one of the most common reasons that DIY fundraising doesn’t succeed within a nonprofit is that others in the organization didn’t buy in. Even if you don’t seem to be facing resistance, it’s a good exercise to alleviate any underlying concerns about starting a peer-to-peer program. Our friends at DonorDrive assembled a list of the most common questions and give honest answers based on the experiences of their clients:

Will a DIY Program generate income?

Yes. The average DIY campaigner generates seven times more than an event participant does in DonorDrive. Nonprofits are finding it a great way to keep lapsed event participants involved with the organization.

Will it cannibalize our existing events?

Absolutely not. This has been the most common boardroom excuse for not doing DIY.
We dug into the DonorDrive data and examined event participants who then did a DIY campaign. 46% of these supporters came back to participate in the event again. With event retention rates at about 20% nationally, it seems DIY campaigners are actually more likely to come back. But this is an additional revenue stream and not one that will hurt the success of their event.

Will it require extra staff?

Not necessarily, but the success of DIY depends on what resources you’re willing to put into it. Just by setting up DIY and promoting it well, your supporters will start using it. But organizations that have raised over a million dollars annually through DIY in DonorDrive usually have dedicated staff for their program.

Is the DIY phenomenon really growing?

Very much so. Your supporters live in a world where they have so many choices. They expect that same freedom in their fundraising. Given the opportunity to set up a wedding campaign and take donations for your organization in lieu of gifts, a supporter can generate substantial revenue and feel they’ve personally had a big impact on the cause.

Can’t we just use a crowdfunding to do the same thing?

While the concepts of DIY and crowdfunding are similar, your nonprofit has no control over campaigns through crowdfunding. If you steer your supporters to a crowdfunding site, they may find a more-appealing cause to support there. Scam campaigns abound on some of these sites and many sites take stiff fees before passing any money on to your nonprofit. With your own DIY program, you’ll maintain your brand’s good name, all the dollars, all the data, and all the donors.

Are there better peer-to-peer options than DIY right now?

Most major nonprofits have a DIY program or are in the process of creating one. There’s an understanding that DIY is now a necessary offering in every fundraising portfolio. Perhaps more important to remember: not embracing DIY will certainly result in dollars lost, especially as every supporter grows to expect it as an option you’ll offer.

What if it fails?

As a rule, a well-planned, well-run DIY program has the potential to become a successful new revenue stream for your organization. Making a strong effort to let your supporters know they can create their own DIY campaign is often all you need to do to get them up, running and a resounding success.

If there are concerns, make sure you’ve completely satisfied them before proceeding.

How to get buy-in

We’ve noticed that resistance to DIY seems more likely within large organizations. When organizations are big enough that there is individual ownership of different types of fundraising, DIY can be seen as a threat. One trend we’ve seen across organizations that have successful DIY and third-party programs is that someone in senior leadership was willing to commit and act as a mentor to the program. When someone from above buys in, makes a real resource commitment and is willing to stand by your plan, success is pretty much guaranteed.

When you apply this level of planning, your DIY program is more likely to take off smoothly.

About DonorDrive

DonorDrive Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Software helps nonprofits raise more money. With DonorDrive, organizations like MADD, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, JDRF, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and NDSS Buddy Walks have raised more than $1 Billion.

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