3 steps to take your peer-to-peer fundraising events to zen​

Grab some coffee and sit with me for a few minutes and think about how your year and your projects are going. Are you adhering to the goals you had set for the year? Or, do you feel as though things are going off the rails a bit?

It’s December, so I figure it’s a good time for personal resolutions but also a good time for your organization to do the same.

Are you ready?


Take a vow to evaluate these three things in your peer-to-peer program this year. If you have time to make changes before Spring events launch, do it!

1. Event Sign Up Form.

Are you asking too many questions? Are you asking the right questions? Who has time for twenty questions, anyways? There are definitely questions you need to ask during registration. But, sometimes I think we want to collect certain data points just for the sake of having more data. I mean, it feels good to have more data, doesn’t it? It feels powerful sitting on top of a mountain of data, right? True….sometimes. It can also be overwhelming.

Take a step back. Focus. Look at the data you are collecting and ask yourself this question: Am I doing anything with this data?

Focus in on the data you’re using. Is it useful? Or, is it time to re-evaluate the data you’r collecting during your registration process? A clunky registration process– one due to too many unnecessary questions — can be the stopping point for people. If it’s too difficult or asks just a hair too much personal information (information which seems unnecessary), people can and WILL walk away. I know. I’ve done it.

Remember, it’s easier to walk away at the beginning of a relationship.

Don’t let that be a choice. Ask what you need to ask—questions relevant to why someone would be signing up for your event—and don’t ask much else. Well, at least not in the beginning. There are always ways and touch points in which to gather additional data later. Profiling campaigns, surveys within your online participant fundraising center, and personal touch points like phone calls are great opportunities to tap into the more personal information you need to help build the individual relationships with participants.

2. Event Program (and distances).

With your event, are you trying to be all things to all people? Or are you sticking to your guns and keeping with the original spirit and format of your event, and your mission? Over the years, I’ve had some interesting conversations on this particular topic with a variety of organizations evaluating a variety of events.

Questions like this come up:

  • Should we add more distances?
  • Should we change the fundraising minimums?
  • What always seems to come to the surface is that when you try to be too many events in one, or cater to too many people, you can dilute the mission of the event.

You can dilute the original target market for your event. Those who signed up for your event because it was focused—very specific either around the event itself or the mission—eventually become confused or bored.

Don’t lose those participants. Don’t let them find a new challenge. Keep them coming back to your event by sticking to your guns about what your event is and what your event isn’t. Keep them excited about recruiting new participants.

Focus. Look at your event: Are you trying to be too many events in one?

3. Coaching In Segments.

In the same manner that segmenting your online fundraising campaigns is vital to keeping your reader’s interest and building upon your relationship with them, peer-to-peer coaching communications require the same level of thought.

It’s pretty simple, really. If I’m a team captain, I want news and information pertinent to team captains. If I’m an event volunteer, I want to know what volunteers need to know. If I’m an individual participant, I want to know how I can make a difference on my own, and perhaps I want to know how I can get tapped into the event network or meet a team to join. Event segmentation doesn’t even have to be that complicated.

One of the simplest distinctions to make is this: Did the participant sign up as an individual, member of a team, team captain or volunteer?  

From there, you can look at things like event participation type, fundraising goals and milestones as they are achieved to get even more targeted.

When you have an hour to block off, grab a coffee, take a walk, sit down in a comfy chair and meditate a little on these three things. Think about what is going well and what is not going well and determine how you can adjust your focus and fine-tune.

You can achieve peer-to-peer fundraising zen. This is your year.