This is part 3 of the Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Guide, created with the help of the Peer-to-Peer Fundraising experts at DonorDrive.

What you are building for your participants is an experience, and in turn, they are helping you raise money. One of the most powerful tools for designing an experience is what is referred to as customer journey mapping. At its highest level for nonprofits, it charts the supporters path through different phases. That said, you should consider using it when designing and evaluating the smaller steps in a particular experience such as signup or event day (e.g., arrival instructions, parking, signage, check-in, swag pickup, music, restrooms, trash, etc.). For a survey template that uses emoticons to capture people’s experience at each step, click here.

For now, we’ll focus on the engagement path for P2P participants. If you think of a person’s involvement with your P2P fundraising event on a spectrum, on the far left, you would have a perspective fundraiser who isn’t yet aware of this program, and on the far right, you have a seasoned organization ambassador. So what are the steps in between and where/why might someone fail to progress?

Prospective Participant

The first thing a potential participant needs is to be made aware of the organization, its work, and P2P fundraising opportunity (not necessarily in that order). How will you identify prospective fundraisers and get the word out to them?

Communication Tips

  • Keep messaging clear, concise, consistent, and focused on a clear call to action
  • Include an introduction to the cause and the work you are doing
  • Use testimonials, overall stats, imagery, and video from prior years to serve as social proof
  • Tailor the message length, style, and imagery to the channel and don’t paste the same text across channels
  • Tastefully pair supporting a good cause with a good time
  • Emphasize how you will make it easy for them

Recruitment Tips

  • If you’re not already doing so, leverage the power of teams to help you recruit
  • Encourage people to invite others to participate, not just to donate
  • Consider advertising partners and paid advertising: Create a sponsor tier for media entities where their contribution is gift-in-kind promotion instead of money
  • Also consider things like Google Ad Grants, Facebook retargeting, and other forms of advertising

Read More: Attracting First-Time Participants

Procrastinator/Potential Conflict

This individual is interested in helping out but is hesitant/unable to commit. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t responsible, it just means that they haven’t yet pulled the trigger for some reason. It could be they have a personal conflict, or they are recovering from an injury, or perhaps they just want to leave their options open in case something else more appealing pops up. Regardless, your goal will be to look for ways to identify these individuals and to tastefully follow up with them.


  • Consider using Facebook to retarget visitors to particular pages
  • Give people an option to sign up for reminders and updates without fully registering
  • Don’t be afraid to circle back a few times, but choose inspiration over guilt
  • Let people opt out of communication for this event, while leaving the door open for future events

First-Time Participants

When someone signs up as a first-time participant, their experience should be as smooth as possible. Their success depends on a combination of upfront effort and follow up on your end, and follow through on theirs.


  • Make signup super easy and optimize for mobile so they can sign up right away
  • Don’t overwhelm them all at once. Make it clear what steps they should focus on first
  • Keeping tabs on how they are progressing, and provide relevant nudges, templates, and examples that help them quickly build and keep momentum
  • Encourage them to opt into motivational texts
  • Give them multiple paths to reach out for help and questions
  • As the event approaches make sure they know what to expect
  • Focus on making every step of the big day (starting with parking instructions) as easy and enjoyable as possible.
  • Try to anticipate and care for problems before they crop up by mapping out and walking through different scenarios as if you were people of different backgrounds, ages, heights, and physical abilities.

Read More: Attracting First Time Participants
How to Address $0 Participants – online or downloadable pdf

Returning Participants

Participants from prior years are going to have a better feel for things and require less hand-holding. They also bring in an average of 2.5x* more funds than a brand new participant. There are a lot of reasons why someone might not return. Some are in your control (bad experiences), some you might be able to address (the friend that got them involved moved), and some are just part of life (moved away, unavoidable scheduling conflict, injury). The key is remembering that your retention strategy doesn’t start with the next year’s campaign kickoff. It should start with investing in a great experience from the very start and keeping that up throughout and in-between.


  • Truly prioritize participants & their needs/experience
  • Thanks should be a constant conversation
  • Consider warming people by looking for ways to show appreciation and bring value to prior participants before sending your ask.
  • Send targeted campaigns based on their history cause relation status (if known).
  • You should also personally check in on people who appear to have lapsed to learn what is going on and invite them to return the following year if they can’t participate this year.

Read More: X Strategies for Peer-To-Peer Fundraiser Retention

Team leaders and the Super Ambassadors

10% of fundraisers will typically bring in over 50% of the funds**. Identifying these individuals early and putting your full support behind them (without getting in their way) will lead to some of the biggest return on investment. Most of these individuals will be motivated self-starters, but through teams and/or recruitment awards you can use their energy to fuel others as well.

  • Invest heavily in promoting and supporting teams
  • Package best practices from these individuals/teams into tips other can implement
  • Look for creative ways to recognize and reward top performers

Read More: Team Fundraising – Why P2P Fundraising is Better as a Team Sport


*DonorDrive clients 2017
**DonorDrive’s five-year statistics for orgs who raise over $1M online annually


Team Fundraising – Why P2P Fundraising is Better as a Team Sport

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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