Nonprofits excel at building relationships with volunteers, supporters, and members of the public. Too often, though, their technology lets them down. In a world where people spend much of their time online, community organizers must embrace technology.
Peer-to-peer fundraising platforms, social media, and other tools make it easier to build relationships online, collect donations, and plan events and campaigns. In other words, the right platform can help improve efficiency, so your team has more time to focus on improving your community and advancing your mission.
The best nonprofit fundraising or engagement platform is the one that best meets your organization’s needs. Take a moment to consider which features you need and how they will enhance your work and productivity.
8 Features to Look for in a Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Platform
Some of these prompts apply broadly to any fundraising or communication platform you are considering. They also apply specifically to peer-to-peer fundraising and crowdfunding tools, since a successful campaign fits within your organization’s holistic fundraising, marketing, and communication activities.
1. Ease of Use
The most powerful tools are useless if they’re too difficult to navigate. Look for a platform with an easy interface for yourself and any team members to understand and use. A relatively shallow learning curve means you can focus more on social impact and building your community.
Ask for a demonstration or walk-through before committing to any tool. This allows you to see whether the interface is user-friendly. You can also get a feel for how well the tools may fit and improve your current workflow.
Look for a flexible platform to easily integrate your organization’s branding, such as your logos, preferred fonts, image library, and color palette. Design tools like Canva make it easier than ever to present a consistent brand, but make sure your fundraising platform supports this too.
3. Event & Campaign Support
While this may not be crucial for a peer-to-peer fundraising platform, any tool that integrates with your other communication or record-keeping tools saves time and has extra value.
For example, if you use MailChimp to manage your volunteer and donor newsletters, a platform that can integrate will better fit your workflow. If you are looking at a new platform, then ask about planned integrations.
Some platforms with peer-to-peer campaign capabilities also offer tools to help with other fundraising activities, including events, email campaigns, and more.
If a platform supports some of your organization’s preferred activities, that means it will have more long-term value. Just be cautious since no one tool can do everything equally well.
Consider which features you value most. For example, if you plan an occasional event, you may simply need a tool for event registration but if you regularly plan events you may need a more robust event management platform.
4. Return on Investment
A good platform can make fundraising more efficient by making it easier to plan campaigns, raise funds, keep records, thank donors, and evaluate results. Often nonprofit staff and board members hesitate to spend money on “extras” like a new platform. Consider whether that investment may save staff time and frustration enabling your team to raise more money and concentrate on making a difference.
5. Relationship Management
Look for a platform that has donor database features or integrates with popular data management platforms specifically designed for nonprofits. While CRMs are great for large businesses, they aren’t designed for the needs of a nonprofit.
Some peer-to-peer fundraising tools limit the nonprofit’s access to their supporter’s contact information. Consider whether you want access to this valuable information, as ongoing communications with donors can help build loyalty.
Also, consider your donors’ preferences. For example, do they use PayPal, Stripe, Square, Zelle, ApplePay, or another method for sending online payments? Look for a platform that integrates with a popular payment method since people are more likely to trust payment methods they already use.
Another often overlooked feature is providing receipts and records. Sometimes online donors trust a platform to keep a record of their donations for tax time. Does the platform maintain a transaction record and make it easy for donors to find? Those practical details pay for themselves in trust and goodwill.
Finally, peer-to-peer fundraising is always about relationships. Strong peer-to-peer fundraising platforms make it easy for supporters to share your campaign with their friends, colleagues, and family. Features that promote sharing encourage your supporters to act as “brand ambassadors” and, as a result, expand your fundraising efforts.
6. Security & Safety
What measures are in place to ensure your donors’ and your organization’s privacy, safety, and security? Anyone who reads or listens to the news knows how a data breach can negatively impact an organization’s image and cause lost trust, so this is a must for your fundraising platform.
Look for a platform that is transparent about processing fees and service fees. Your donors trust you to be a wise steward of their money. Also, consider a platform that gives your supporters the option of adding to their gift to cover the transaction fee.
8. Analytics & Reporting
During your walkthrough, ask to see examples of the platform’s analytics and reporting tools. A well-designed fundraising tool makes it easier to generate reports for your board of directors, fundraising committee, and other key stakeholders. It also offers powerful information that can help improve your peer-to-peer fundraising and outreach.
To learn more about how to set up a successful peer-to-peer fundraising campaign for your organization, contact UncommonGood! We remove the barriers from nonprofit fundraising and marketing to help you inspire social change.