Building a P2P program from scratch: A guide for charities

Jesper Juul Jensen
Min to read

Starting a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) fundraising program can seem like a daunting task, especially when you're beginning with little or no groundwork.

This guide is designed to demystify the process, offering practical advice and strategies to help both newly started customers of BetterNow and those considering P2P fundraising understand what it takes to get off the ground successfully.

The challenge of starting from zero

Embarking on a P2P fundraising journey without any existing fundraisers poses significant challenges. The absence of social proof, organisational experience, and hero stories can make it difficult to gain traction and inspire confidence in potential supporters. 

Without social proof, potential donors and fundraisers lack the evidence that P2P fundraising is a perfectly normal thing to do and that their contributions will be part of a successful and impactful campaign.

Similarly, without organisational experience and hero stories, charities struggle to communicate the effectiveness and emotional resonance of their P2P fundraising efforts.

Why social proof matters

Social proof is vital in P2P fundraising because it addresses a common reluctance: the fear of being the first to act. Most people prefer to follow established norms rather than stand out by doing something perceived as unconventional.

Especially in non-anglo-saxon countries where P2P fundraising is relatively new (so ‘only’ 10 years old), this is something to keep in mind.

Social proof normalises fundraising for a cause, showing potential fundraisers that their participation is part of a broader, accepted, and celebrated community effort. It reassures them that they're not alone in their actions, encouraging participation by aligning it with communal behaviour.

Essentially, social proof makes fundraising a standard, embraced activity, reducing hesitancy and inspiring more individuals to take part.

The power of hero stories

Hero stories here are the case studies of successful P2P fundraisers - why they started a fundraiser, how they did and the impact it had on them. These are not just success stories; they are the emotional backbone of your P2P fundraising efforts. 

These narratives showcase the impact of contributions and the difference that individual and collective efforts make to your cause. They serve as powerful tools to inspire and motivate potential fundraisers and donors by illustrating the tangible outcomes of their support.

The importance of organizational experience

Having a team with experience in P2P fundraising is invaluable. It means having the knowledge to navigate challenges, the skills to leverage opportunities, and the insight to implement best practices.

Organisational experience also helps in crafting compelling campaigns that resonate with your audience, ensuring a smoother and more effective fundraising journey.

This is especially true for P2P fundraising as you, unlike other fundraising efforts, are selling an activity rather than the cause. We have dedicated a whole separate article on how you can ask fundraisers to fundraise for you.

Kickstarting your P2P fundraising program

Recognising the hurdles of starting a P2P program, we recommend securing at least four active fundraisers before launching the channel broadly. Here are four strategies to build your initial group of fundraisers:

  1. Wait for organic growth: While waiting for fundraisers to come to you may seem passive, it ensures that those who do are genuinely motivated. This approach can lead to more committed and enthusiastic participants, though it may take time.
  2. The hustle approach: Actively seek out friends, colleagues, neighbours, and anyone within your network. Use personal contacts, make calls, and passionately persuade them to start a fundraiser. This hands-on approach can quickly kickstart your program with a group of dedicated supporters.
  3. Leverage your organization: Your first fundraisers could be closer than you think. Volunteers, colleagues, and board members already believe in your cause and can be the perfect candidates to initiate your fundraising efforts.
  4. Identify ambassadors: Look for potential ambassadors among your most engaged supporters. These might be top social media followers or individuals identified by donor support teams as highly engaged. Sitting down with these supporters can help you find passionate individuals ready to take on the role of P2P fundraising champions.


Starting a P2P fundraising program from scratch is undoubtedly challenging, but it's far from impossible. With strategic planning, a bit of boldness, and a focus on building a solid foundation of fundraisers, your charity can overcome initial obstacles and set the stage for a successful fundraising campaign.

Remember, every major fundraising effort began with a single step. Your organisation's commitment to making a difference is what will ultimately inspire others to join your cause. Let's get started, and let BetterNow be your partner in this rewarding journey.

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