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Starting a DIY Fundraising Program

Event-based peer-to-peer fundraising (P2P) is a strong and important tactic for nonprofits. Walks, runs, tournaments, and other events build community and inspire people to raise money for organizations close to their hearts. Once your organization has the event process down pat, it may be time to consider a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) P2P program.

The Basics

DIY fundraising allows individuals to set up personal fundraising pages in honor or in memory of someone special, to commemorate a milestone event, or celebrate a specific holiday or time of year. Just like event-based peer-to-peer, these constituents use personal fundraising pages to tap into their friends, family, and community for financial support. DIY can also come in the form of events, where people set up smaller get-togethers or activities on their own schedules.

For your nonprofit, the benefits of a DIY program are significant. You raise money and reach new donors without worrying about event logistics. Plus, traditional events are limited to people who are available at a specific time, or who are interested and able to participate in a specific way. The DIY option gives complete flexibility in terms of timing and concept. A DIY program is also great for people who may not have the means to give a large donation on their own but could contribute significantly by reaching out to their friends and family to ask for support.

Doing It Your Way

One thing we always tell our clients when they are establishing a DIY program is to think about their mission and their supporter demographics to decide what type of DIY fundraising they want to suggest. For example, an environmental organization might suggest that their DIYers set up river clean-up or trail maintenance events. A health organization might encourage people to create fundraising pages related to a specific disease, or in honor of someone close to them who has been affected by it. An organization with a variety of programs could consider a version of DIY where people set up birthday pages and ask that their friends and family refrain from giving them physical gifts and instead donate on their behalf to a program they are specifically passionate about.

Nonprofits can also think about their geographical reach. If your organization is location- or region-specific, you may want to explore what popular and large-scale events are already taking place, like a marathon or bike ride. Instead of planning the event on your own, you can provide the opportunity for your supporters to dedicate their run or ride to your organization.

Making Connections

Providing fundraising support and encouragement is an important part of a strong DIY program. Some organizations choose to send a small welcome package to anyone who signs up, as a thank you for launching their page or personal event. One example of this that we really like comes from a nonprofit focused on ending hunger that has their DIY fundraisers set up bake sales. In this instance the nonprofit provides downloadable table signs and posters that people can print for their events. No matter what type of DIY program you are running, a solid communication plan that includes things like automated coaching emails and online fundraising toolkits will provide consistent support to your fundraisers as they work to support your organization.

Many organizations run their P2P events in the spring and summer and use the rest of the year to evaluate and plan for next year. As you look back on your previous events and start thinking about next year, it may be time to consider adding a DIY program. You can use these tips to get started, and then reach out to our team of digital marketing experts for advice, guidance, and support.

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