How to Hold Onto Your Star Fundraisers


This blog post is Part 3 in a series of 3 posts designed to follow the three core components of peer-to-peer event fundraising: Acquisition, Activation, and Retention.

A great fundraising strategy focuses on engaging supporters through events, and encompasses three main phases:

  1. Acquisition
  2. Activation
  3. Retention

Today, we are going to focus on Part 3 – Retention. Once you have activated your supporters and motivated them throughout the campaign, what do you do when your peer-to-peer event draws near? What happens at the end of your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign?

These are good questions, and ones that your nonprofit will need to explore!

Once you have recruited a participant and motivated them from start to finish, you want them to fundraise for your nonprofit again the next year!

According to Blackbaud’s 2013 Peer-to-Peer Benchmark Report, returning participants’ fundraising can be double to triple the amount of a first year participant.

Retaining a participant has extremely high value for your nonprofit. Returning fundraisers know the ropes, and they have experience and knowledge about peer-to-peer fundraising.

Returning fundraisers can be so valuable both in boosting the funds raised and also in terms of boosting the confidence of the group. If you have fundraisers who can impart knowledge and wisdom to your other fundraisers, that is a valuable asset!

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So what do retention efforts involve? The cycle of retention involves thanking your donors, and thanking your fundraisers as well. Showing appreciation to both these groups is key. Your goal is to retain current fundraisers, and to transform donors into fundraisers.


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The chart above details how this process works for fundraiser retention, as well as donor retention. Right now we’ll focus on fundraiser retention, but donor retention is important to remember as well.

When a donation is made, ideally the fundraiser will thank the donor, then you, as the nonprofit, will thank the fundraiser. By thanking and appreciating your fundraiser, you will have a higher chance of retaining that fundraiser.

Fundraiser Retention – How to keep your fundraisers coming back for more


What are the exact steps for showing your appreciation and thanks, and what kind of plan should you develop?

The key is to treat your fundraisers like a major donor, and steward them in similar ways. Spend time cultivating them just like you would with someone who has donated $1,000 themselves. The only difference is that your peer-to-peer donors have gathered this large donation from many sources, and in turn have acquired possible other major donors for your organization.

Your first step to do as the event day approaches is to organize a pre-race pasta dinner or other pre-race event, like a picnic at a park or a gathering at your organization’s space. Give your fundraisers the time to meet you, feel the energy of the other fundraisers/ runners, and feel connected to the cause.

Organize an event in a convenient location for your fundraisers, and ask sponsors to donate food. Create a welcoming space for your fundraisers where they can meet other runners, share the experience of training and fundraising, and bring along a friend or a family member to support them as well.

On race day, if your charity will be on site, provide water or other snacks for your runners, and encourage them to spend some time visiting your tent or table on their big day.

Snap photos to social media and encourage your fundraisers to use any associated event hashtags, as well as to tag your nonprofit’s Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

In addition, encourage your runners to share their accomplishment on social media and link to their fundraising page. Our research has shown that there is a historic 10% uptick in donations raised right after an event, because fundraisers are posting evidence of their great accomplishments. Donors who have been meaning to donate finally have another chance, and are further motivated by seeing the final result of training.

Planning for Next Year


You may be asking – how can I improve my organization’s peer-to-peer fundraising strategy for next year?

Ask questions

Survey your staff and fundraisers and ask the following questions:

-What worked?

-What did not work?

-What could have been better about each part of your campaign? Be specific with this one. Ask specifically if they liked the campaign kick-off event, the pre-race pasta dinner, coaching emails throughout the season, etc.

Make It Better

After gathering this information, evaluate and think of improvements for the next year. Ask what more you can accomplish the next year. The most important thing to remember is to bring your enthusiasm and think positively about what your organization can improve upon and achieve each year.

Concluding our Core Basics Series


There is a great deal to learn about peer-to-peer fundraising, and we have only touched on the basics. We will be launching a new 6-part blog post series that dives deeper into topics such as social media for peer-to-peer fundraising, turning your millennial supporters into peer-to-peer supporters, showcasing impact by highlighting data in a meaningful way, and more. You can sign up for the corresponding everydayhero webinar series if you are interested as well.

For now, remember the fundamentals of peer-to-peer fundraising as you go forward in your event season.

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Your leadership is at the heart of your peer-to-peer strategy, and formulating an effective strategy, making a strong ask, and knowing your audience are all key pieces of the puzzle.

Good luck and we can’t wait to see all the amazing things you accomplish!

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