The complete guide on how to retain P2P donors

Jesper Juul Jensen
Min to read

Many organisations fail to prioritise and nurture the donors who come through peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising programs. Instead, they focus on expensive lead-generating activities, often involving paid advertising.

This oversight can stem from misconceptions about the quality of these leads, technical challenges, or simply a lack of awareness of the opportunity at hand. This guide aims to illuminate the potential of converting one-time P2P donors into recurring supporters or members, providing best practices and actionable steps to get started.

Structure of this guide

  1. Lead scoring for your P2P donors
  2. Crafting a donor journey for P2P donors
  3. Using telemarketing to convert P2P donors
  4. Let’s go! How to put it all into action

Lead scoring for your P2P donors

Donors that come through P2P fundraising vary in their level of engagement. Some may require years of relationship building, while others are as warm as a fresh lasagna! The key to identifying the difference lies in understanding the motivation behind each fundraiser's actions.

For our purposes, we can categorise motivations into two groups: those related to the cause or organisation and those related to the activity. Below is some examples of fundraisers motivaitions, ranging form those where the donors are the warmest leads to those that are close to stone cold.

  • [Warmest] A supporter fundraises for a cancer charity because they are a cancer survivor.
  • A supporter fundraises in memory of their father, who passed away from Alzheimer's disease.
  • A supporter donates their birthday to an animal charity as a passionate dog lover.
  • A supporter participates in a virtual baking challenge due to their love for baking and involvement in a baking community.
  • [Coldest] A supporter runs a marathon for an emergency charity to secure a starting place.

How fundraiser motivations map to lead score

When a person is motivated to fundraise by the cause, they become your ambassadors. They passionately share your cause with their network, creating extremely warm leads. For example, if someone donates to a cancer survivor's fundraising page, they may be open to converting that donation into a monthly contribution.

Sometimes, these leads may require some warming up, such as with the animal lover who donates their birthday. The donor will be primarily motivated by the obligation to give a birthday gift. However the supporters passion for the cause will make them more likely to have. the positive impression of the cause.

On the other hand, donations that result from personal relationships but lack a solid connection to the cause can be considered lukewarm or even cold. These donations are made out of obligation to the relationship, rather than an affinity for the cause.

Distinguishing the differences through data analysis

Understanding the quality of your leads requires knowledge of your campaigns and their target audience. Analysing campaigns can provide valuable insights. For example, if most participants were recruited through ads, the leads may be less quality than if they were primarily members of your organisation.

The type of fundraiser can also offer clues. Birthday fundraisers tend to generate lower-quality leads, while in-memory fundraisers provide exceptional leads (with some caveats, as discussed in the next section). The group of fundraisers that come through without any campaigns (often called DIY fundraisers) often yield the best leads.

BetterNow provides this information in the donation report, making it easier to start.

Crafting a donor journey for P2P leads

With a few adjustments, you can tailor your donor journeys to accommodate leads from P2P fundraising. Here, we provide suggestions to inspire your strategy, from the bare minimum to more advanced ideas.

Separate welcome email (or email sequence)

At a minimum, modify your welcome email to acknowledge that the donor came through a P2P fundraiser. The goal is to leverage the personal connection between the fundraiser and the donor to create a bond with your organisation. To do this, you can:

  • Mention the fundraiser's name and emphasise their deliberate choice to support your cause.
  • Highlight the specific project the fundraiser contributed to, if applicable.

Example wording: "Thank you for your donation to [fundraiser first name] [fundraiser last name]'s fundraiser. We want to share more about [project name], that [fundraiser first name] fundraised for." This example is generic, but you can get more creative with specific causes or projects.

It's similar to meeting a stranger and discovering a mutual friend - you will initially talk about that connection during your first conversations, then later (maybe) develop your own relationship. Do the same here and focus on your common relation with the fundraiser in the first few emails, then proceed with your usual donor journey.


Act quickly, ideally contacting the donor within a few days of their donation. Some organisations wait until the fundraiser ends, but a warm lead may have turned cold by that time. Especially for low-quality leads, acting within the first few days is crucial, as they might not even remember the charity they donated to after a month. It doesn’t hurt to be out early for high-quality leads, and there is no good reason to wait until the fundraiser has ended.

Additionally, consider sending a custom email to P2P donors when the fundraiser ends. Celebrating the fundraiser’s achievements (your common connection) offers a natural opportunity to reconnect.

Advanced ideas

For organisations with a high volume of P2P donors, try segmenting by fundraiser type. Use the same data from your lead scoring based on fundraiser type. Create different welcome sequences for sports fundraisers, in-memory fundraisers, etc. This allows for more specific, timely messaging.

For example:

  • You can wait to send the first email until after the funeral for in-memory fundraisers. Contacting immediately after can seem insensitive, so better to wait a week or longer after the funeral before making first contact. These are very warm donor leads, but their situation must be respected.
  • Send a separate welcome email for birthday fundraisers, followed by an email after the birthday celebration. The CTA could be to donate their own birthday, rather than becoming a recurrent donor.
  • Contact donors to sports fundraisers with an additional email after the fundraiser ends. Differentiate between different sports events, depending on how they were recruited.
  • Treat donors to corporate P2P fundraisers as regular one-time donor leads. Just because i donated to a fundraiser organised by my company, doesn't mean i feel anything for the cause.

Using telemarketing to convert P2P donors

When used effectively, P2P fundraising can be a significant driver of new members or monthly donors, and telemarketing will be a valuable tool in this. However, telemarketing is more expensive than automated emails, and as discussed in Section 1, P2P fundraising leads vary in quality.

Depending on the overall quality of your leads, you may choose to send all P2P fundraising leads to telemarketing or to sort and score them first. Those blessed by a stream of high-quality leads might not bother with lead scoring, but for most, it will be beneficial.

Creating engaging conversations

You can rely on telemarketing agents to manage leads but to increase the chances of positive results, ensure that the information provided to agents includes the donor's chosen fundraiser, fundraiser type, title, and campaign or project. This allows for more engaging conversations.

examples of TM conversations with P2P donors
examples of TM conversations with P2P donors

You have a friend in common, and it is natural to bring that up in the conversation. But this is not something that most telemarketing agents have learned - so they need to be made aware of the potential of doing this.

Let’s go! How to put it all into action

We strongly advocate for experimentation and starting with the least amount of work. Gain firsthand experience by downloading a sample of leads, setting up a simple spreadsheet, and making calls. This will help refine your lead segmentation, as these lead scoring models must fit your specific needs and data.

Before scaling your efforts, consider taking the following preparatory steps. The list below outlines our recommended priorities:

  1. Choose a P2P fundraising tool with a robust API and webhook setup, preferably with ready-made integrations for your existing systems. Timely lead delivery to your CRM, telemarketing, and email marketing systems is crucial. And you are in luck because BetterNow does indeed have the perfect solution here.
  2. Set up a separate welcome email for P2P fundraising donor leads.
  3. Figure out how your lead segmentation and scoring should look. The best approach may be to make calls yourself.
  4. Create a simple lead scoring model that can be developed and refined over time.
  5. Establish a process for sending donor leads to telemarketing. For some, the lead quality may be high enough to send them to telemarketing before using lead scoring models.
  6. Develop a more elaborate donor journey for your P2P fundraising donor leads.

We are here to help you succeed in retaining P2P donors and maximizing your fundraising potential. If you have any questions or need assistance, please feel free to reach out to us.

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