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  • Writer's pictureDrew Schneider

Peer to Peer Forum 2024: The Top 5 Highlights From The Chariot Team

Chariot’s team attended their first Peer to Peer Forum this year and walked away with tremendous insights that every Chariot customer can implement to improve peer-to-peer fundraising



The P2P Professional Forum Conference has been the leading annual nonprofit gathering for peer-to-peer fundraisers since 2007. The 2024 conference brought together 645 nonprofit leaders from across the US and Canada in Philadelphia for 35 eye-opening sessions.


Aaron Kahane, Chariot’s Co-Founder & COO, and Elon Packin, Chariot’s Head of Partnerships, had the chance to attend for the first time this year and came away with a host of new strategies and insights for successful peer-to-peer fundraising to share with Chariot’s nonprofit customers. 




There was over $1.1 billion raised by the top 30 P2P fundraising events in 2023, a 3.2% increase vs. 2022. In an environment with low-single-digit growth, P2P organizations of every size are focused on how to sustainably increase fundraising. Here’s what is working best:


 

1. Participant-to-Participant connection is the real unlock of P2P  

True community in P2P events come from and between participants. So often organizations emphasize the connection between participants and the organization in their strategy and communications, but overlook the importance of centering everything on what drives connection among and between participants. Not only does it drive accountability and healthy competitive fundraising pressure, but it also creates personal connections that keep participants coming back and overall participation growing year after year. 


 

2. DAFs present a rare “new” growth channel for P2P


Donor Advised Funds are not only the fastest growing vehicle in philanthropy, Chariot’s DAFpay™️ technology now enables DAF giving directly in P2P campaigns for the first time ever. DAF donors regularly give with their credit card instead of their DAF for one-off donations - like when friends or family are fundraising for a P2P campaign - because it’s always been so much easier than going through the hassle of submitting a grant request on their DAF portal. Even when DAF gifts are submitted for P2P campaigns, they arrive weeks later, and are typically difficult to sort out who they are from and which participant they are meant to support. 


Enabling DAFpay™️ in a P2P campaign lets nonprofits:


The best part is that DAFpay™️ is already natively integrated with several leading P2P providers like DonorDrive, running a pilot with Classy, and can be easily integrated with Blackbaud products. Elon shared:


“It was clear from many conversations with leading fundraisers that bringing this high potential pool of donors more easily into the conversation during Peer to Peer events would be a big unlock for organizations.”   

 

3. Lean into what makes your brand truly unique

In the struggle to sustain and grow P2P events, it’s critical for organizations to lean into what makes their brand unique instead of shying away from it. Organizers should spend less time concerned with what might dissuade some participants and instead focus on unique things that will draw in your most ideal participants. There are now so many P2P events around the country, the best way to authentically stand out and draw in the right participants and supporters is to clearly establish your brand and reinforce it with your actions.



Brittany Veneris from Movemeber gave an incredible presentation on how their organization embraces some of the less mainstream elements of men’s health to develop a thriving digital community. They continue to embrace some of the “awkwardness” that can come with discussions about prostate or testicular cancer, which achieves several important things:


  • It reinforces their brand of boldly raising subjects that don’t get enough attention 

  • It achieves their mission of spreading awareness with engaging, viral content 

  • It draws their advocates closer together and closer to the cause


 

4. Internal consistency is the secret to external success in P2P


Many of the strategies discussed at the conference require big changes to effectively implement, especially at larger legacy events. Leah Weatherl from National MS Society (NMSS) led an excellent session that both highlighted A) the value to their organization of implementing a “consultative sales” strategy for their fundraising and B) how they effectively implemented such a sweeping strategic change. A few of the biggest contributors to their success were:



  • Obsessing over the consistency of language and terminology used throughout an organization 

  • Aligning the broader organization under a singular fundraising goal 

  • Ensuring that all leaders are “bought in” on the changes so that they’re being reinforced within each team and division 

  • Provide regular and repeated training over time for all levels of staff and in every department to 


This consistency of information, attitude and time spent were all critical to move the entire organization forward with their “consultative sales” model to boost fundraising.


 

5. In with the new, but not out with all the old


There was a tremendous amount of discussion about the best way to implement new technology like AI, remote / virtual work tools, etc. Everyone was asking how do you make the most of all the advantages these new tools present, like mass personalization with AI, but not lose the benefits of the “old ways” of doing things, like in-person interaction and human touch. 


While there’s obviously no definitive answer to these important questions, a few good suggestions that came out of those discussions included: 


  • Take time to understand the things you do and don’t like with current tools or processes you’re using. That way, once you try something new, you can be intentional about retaining some of the good with your old way.

  • Make sure to listen to all relevant stakeholders to get valuable insights. Oftentimes people will ask their direct team, but reaching further by asking for feedback cross-functionally and also surveying participants and volunteers is a great way to learn what really works and what doesn't. 

  • Prioritize the “old school” tactics where they have the highest potential impact. Things like effective 1x1 training P2P captains and participants can pay huge dividends as they step up their fundraising and propagate those best practices to others.

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