Fundraising through your networks is a great way to engage on a personal level with a charity in need and you might be surprised at the impact you can make. If you have found yourself with some more time on your hands, creating an online fundraiser is a great way to keep busy and make a difference at the same time. We have compiled some key tips and tricks for setting up your own fundraiser plus a list of charities’ most urgent needs, so you don’t even need to have a cause already in mind!

Peer-to-peer fundraising is any fundraising effort that relies on peers reaching out to each other on behalf of a cause. It is often used by non-for profits because it allows them to tap in to the networks of their existing donors. It is essentially a form of crowd-funding and allows non-for-profits to create a web of supporters, including people that they would never normally be able to reach through a single campaign. Peer-to-peer fundraising builds upon existing support and trust, so non-for-profits don’t have to “cold call” for donations. Traditionally a charitable organisation sets up a centralised campaign and then fundraisers’ efforts go towards that campaign. But it can work in reverse too. Rather than waiting for your favourite charity to initiate a campaign and becoming a “personal fundraiser”, you can set up your own DIY fundraiser as an individual or part of a team.

There are several things you need to establish when you begin thinking about setting up a fundraiser:

Firstly, what is your end goal? Do you have an idea of how much you want to raise or the impact you would like to make? For example, maybe you know that your chosen charity needs £1000 to finish repairing their roof, or that £300 could help feed 5 families for a week. Having an overarching goal will help incentivise your networks to give. If you don’t know what might benefit your chosen cause, get in touch with them to find out!

Next, you must establish how you are going to raise funds, will you set up a website page or ask people to donate to a pre-existing fundraising site? Take a look at this handy comparison guide to see which platform might be best for you. 

Then consider if you are going to raise funds individually or in a team. Sometimes rallying around a cause as a collective means that reaching out to people for donations doesn’t seem like such a daunting task. Your combined web of connections is bigger too, often making for greater impact. This will of course affect the structure of your fundraiser: you need to decide what your campaign will look like. Is it going to be time sensitive or occasion based? Time limited fundraisers run for a period of time, e.g. 3 weeks, these kinds of fundraisers have a sense of urgency to them and are a nice way to build up to an end goal. Occasion based fundraisers can really incentivise donations; if it’s your birthday or you have a wedding coming up, why not ask for donations to your fundraiser rather than gifts.

Once you have answered some of these questions, you can get sharing. Reach out to your networks: friends, family, work. Remember, you are vouching for your cause, so make sure you represent them as best you can. Most charities will be more than happy to share resources for you to distribute as part of your campaign so get in touch. 

Fundraising for a cause in this way allows you to attach a personalised narrative, an individual story as to why a particular cause matters to you. This kind of peer-to-peer, DIY and network fundraising is effective because most people donate to a cause they already know about, or a cause presented to them by people they know. According to a survey carried out by CAF, 75% of people give to a cause they are passionate about, with peer-to-peer and network orientated giving, you can help spread awareness and garner commitment to causes that may not otherwise be discovered.

If you are interested in fundraising but are not sure where to start in terms of charities, why not take a look at our dashboard. Initially set up as a COVID-19 response initiative, our dashboard lists charities’ most urgent needs, so you can easily connect with a charity for straightforward, impactful engagement. If your organisation would like to be matched with a charity, please get in touch at shona@whatcharity.com with the subject heading “bespoke matchmaking”.

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