How Friends Surprise You
The Power of Relationships in Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

It is no secret that relationship-building is the core of successful fundraising.

The problem is, at times, relationship-building with donors can be expensive, taxing, and confusing. While traditional fundraising efforts such as grant writing, galas, and direct mail campaigns can be extremely useful for an organization, they are also some of the most exhausting efforts. However, there are many fundraising tactics now that offer solutions for relationship-building which are less expensive, and more engaging and successful. One solution you are probably familiar with is peer-to-peer fundraising (P2P).


Have you ever stopped to really think about the power of a relationship and why friends give to friends in P2P?

It is often said among fundraisers that “people give to people”. According to social proof theory, this is true. Social proof theory says that “we assume the actions of others, as long as we are led to believe they are reflecting correct behavior.” We especially assume the action of others if the relationship is one we trust and respect, and is validating and provides a sense of approval. One aspect of social proof in P2P, for example, is showing the number of names and pictures of contributors to a campaign. This signifies that there are others involved and maybe you (the fundraiser’s friend) should contribute as well.

When we are uncertain about giving, but we see many individuals in our network participating in a P2P fundraiser across social media platforms and it is a cause we care about, we are more likely to consider joining or following the organization after being asked to give. At least, that is what Nonprofit’s Source reports. This explains why we are often surprised at which friends decide to give (or keep giving). More often than not, these friends are persuaded by their relationship with us (the individual fundraiser), regardless of their affinity for the organization we are raising funds for. They care about us, we are passionate about X, and so they decide to support it as well. In addition, it is likely that friends give to our fundraiser because the message we shared resonates with their values, is communicated with a healthy sense of urgency (“I only have 1 day left to raise X amount of funds!”), and the fact that it seems like “everyone else is doing it.”

So, how can nonprofits and fundraisers leverage the power of a relationship to raise more in P2P?



Use fundraising totals and share impacts in real-time. Show how many individuals donated with their gift amount. Demonstrate the tangible impacts of these gifts. There is an average of a 35% increase in giving when you have this.  Use quotes from supporters talking about why they are passionate about supporting you and have them share it with their own networks on social media. This will make it 3X more successful. Plus, when you have your supporters make specific “asks” on your behalf to their networks, you avoid the dreaded bystander effect. One of the most time and cost-effective ways to suggest the right “asks” is with boodleAI’s fundraising assistants. Team your supporters with an AI assistant and help them more successfully connect their networks to your mission.



Use wording that demonstrates “everyone else is donating” (e.g. “Join me and millions of other generous supporters to end the water crisis” — of course, to the extent that people really are). This will give your P2P fundraiser a 125% chance of an increase in donations. Personally reach out to individuals in your network. This could result in a 1 and 4 chance that they will donate. Do not just send out a blanket email to everyone in your contact list or ask everyone on your Facebook feed to give. Have an AI assistant from boodleAI help you identify the most promising supporters among your contact lists and suggest tailored messages.


See more ways boodleAI can help you leverage your P2P donor relationships even more effectively.