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How to Write the Most Effective Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Email (+ Template)


When you run a nonprofit organization, fundraising is the one constant in your life. Day in and day out, you have to procure the money to keep your mission thriving. Which is why peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns are such a great option. In this type of event, the responsibility of securing money is placed in the hands of enthusiastic supporters, who raise awareness and donations from their own social network. 

In peer-to-peer fundraising, communication is key; through social media, word-of-mouth, and especially email. In this guide, we will share the best tools to help you come up with the most effective fundraiser emails as well as offer a peer-to-peer fundraising template that you can follow to create impactful communication with your participants. 

Let’s go!


What is a Peer-to-Peer Fundraiser?

A peer-to-peer fundraiser is a type of fundraiser in which a nonprofit launches a campaign from an online fundraising platform, then invites members, volunteers, staff, and past donors to create their own personal fundraising page on the platform. These supporters then reach out to their own social networks; friends: family, and social media followers, to gather donations and spread awareness of the nonprofit’s mission. Peer-to-peer fundraising statistics show that this is the most popular tactic for reaching donors, with just over half of nonprofits utilizing it for their campaigns. 

These events can be as simple or as elaborate as you choose to make them. A peer-to-peer fundraiser can be a scavenger hunt, a race, a swanky gala, or even a simple Facebook birthday fundraiser. The bottom line is that these campaigns reach people outside of your regular support network, some of which may become regular donors. 


Guidelines for a Stellar Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Campaign Email

The most important thing to lean into during a peer-to-peer fundraiser is communication. You can only reach a wider audience by creating an actionable level of passion in your supporters. The fire must be lit before you can feed the flame. That is where your peer-to-peer fundraising email comes in. 

To get everyone on board, you want your email to follow certain guidelines. Here are some tips on how to craft the most effective email for your cause. 

Be Straightforward: Get to the Point!

No matter who your recipient is, you can be sure of one thing: their email inbox is stuffed to the breaking point. Your email is going to be one of tens or hundreds of others received that day, so you need to make your objective clear from the very beginning. A concise subject line is your best bet to avoid having your email ignored or deleted. 

peer-to-peer-fundraising-email-template-guidelinesMatt is ready to jump into peer-to-peer fundraising!

Even if they open your email, most people skim their communications at best. They will not stand for a rambling body of text about your nonprofit mission - keep your message short, sweet, and clear. Your email should try to answer these 2 questions: What action do you want them to take? Why should they care?

Pro Tip: Grab your supporters’ attention by writing an eye-catching subject line. It can be funny, witty, or simply expressive by virtue of the need it conveys. Getting your supporters to open your email is half the battle - and not to mention the only way they will see the body of your email. So put everything you have got into it! And think of what would make you pay attention. That may very well be the thing that will make others with similar values do the same!

Write to Your Audience 

If your organization has been around for any amount of time, you should have a pretty good concept of your target audience. The right tone is essential to get supporters fired up, so think about what you need to convey to get their attention and keep it. 

First, use language that makes sense to them. If your base is primarily older, you may want to use more formal language, while a younger audience can typically handle more casual dialect. In any case, you want to remain professional but also warm and friendly. 

Also be sure to include engaging visuals:

  • Use a variety of colors and fonts; certain words or blocks of text should stand out

  • Break up the text by judicious use of headers and subheaders

  • Include eye-catching images, videos or GIFs

Include a Strong CTA 

No matter how powerful the language or enticing the visuals, your fundraising email cannot be successful if the next step is not made abundantly clear to your reader. Everything should lead directly to your call-to-action, which is best formatted as a clear button to click on. 

It should be your goal to make your objective clear, and to ensure that it is communicated through concise, action-forward language. Use something like, "create your fundraising page now!" and link it to your peer-to-peer fundraising platform. 

Pro Tip: It is important to note that the action following your CTA should be simple. Otherwise your audience may give up. For example, if you want them to create a fundraising page, it should take as little time as possible and have easy-to-follow directions.


Peer-To-Peer Email Format 

To craft the most effective peer-to-peer fundraising email, you first must understand the anatomy of the email. Once you have the form down, then you can play with the language and visuals. 

Subject Line and Preheader Text 

Everyone knows the old adage about the importance of first impressions. This is often true in life and maybe even more-so in emails. Your subject line and preheader text are what decides whether your email is opened or immediately deleted, so you need to make them good. 

Preheader text appears after the subject line of an email while viewing it from your inbox. It is usually in gray lettering, and is smaller than the subject line text. Longer preheaders tend to be viewable from a mobile device, while they tend to get cut off when viewing them on a desktop. A preheader is like the jumping off point of your email; it will further give your reader an idea of what the email is about.

In this case, good means short, informative, and above all, attention-getting. Appeal to your reader by touching their heart, and highlighting your need for their help. Your subject line and preheader text of an email may follow along these lines:

Subject Line: Help us find homes for 200 abandoned pups!

Preheader Text: On March 22, 2022, we rescued 200 puppies from a puppy mill in Chicago. Now that these pups have gotten all the love and medical care they need, they are thriving…


Your subject line caught their attention, so now it is time to greet you reader and welcome them. Your email should be personalized to your reader, either with their first name, last donation amount, or something that makes it feel personal to them (but use a software to do this). Some emails offer an impact statement here as well, to keep the recipient reading. Following our Anytown Animal Fund example, this might mean adding a statistic on the number of animals that are put down every year in kill shelters, with the follow up "but you can help save lives." 

The point is to state the issue of suffering your nonprofit aims to mitigate, to which you can provide an actionable solution. Then provide a quick, but warm welcoming statement to the reader before you launch into the core of your email. 

peer-to-peer-fundraising-email-template-formatNancy is feeling great about her next peer-to-peer fundraising email!

Email Body

The body is the crux of your message. Simply share the name of your event, what you are hoping to accomplish, and what the reader can do to help. Keep your copy concise, clean, and compelling. Remember, you want to get the message across in as few words as possible so that you do not lose your supporter’s attention. 


Now that your reader knows what you are looking for, it is time to prompt action. This is what the peer-to-peer fundraising email is leading up to, and in this case might entail asking the recipient to set up their own personalized fundraising page for your nonprofit campaign. 

Pro Tip: When adding your CTA to a fundraising email, don not forget to include a big, colorful button to click to take the reader where they need to go. 


Sign off with a warm and friendly message to your supporters. It doesn’t have to be long or intricate, just a thank you tailored to your audience. You can even add a fun piece of media right before the sign-off. For example, for the Anytown Animal Fund you might share a short video of one of your rescue dogs playing with their new family. 


Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Email Template 

To take all of the guesswork out of crafting the final product, we have created a peer-to-peer fundraising email template that you can modify to suit your own nonprofit’s needs. 


Final Thoughts

Emailing your supporters regularly is an opportunity to keep them in the loop about the happenings of your nonprofit, whether that be with updates, announcements of upcoming fundraisers, call to actions, and more. Email is one of the greatest tools you have to keep your supporters connected to your organization, and to make peer-to-peer participants out of them. If you get them engaged and help them realize the power they have to make a difference in others’ lives, through whatever means your organization represents, then they are more likely to make the consistent effort to be a part of it. Show them that participating in your peer-to-peer fundraisers is making a tangible difference in the lives of those they wish to help most, and they will stick around to help you do more wonderful work.peer-to-peer-fundraising-email-template-end


💡What are peer-to-fundraisers?

Peer-to-peer fundraisers are campaigns in which your nonprofit recruits supporters to ask for donations from their own social networks. This tactic increases reach, with a positive impact on both donations and mission awareness. Find out more. 

🔑 What is the difference between crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising?

They are similar concepts, but peer-to-peer fundraising has a greater outreach. Crowdfunding requires one fundraising platform page, where you attempt to reach as many people as you can to donate to your cause. P2P allows all of your supporters to set up their own fundraising pages that they share across their own social networks. This enlarges the reach of your campaign. Find out more. 

📝 How do you announce a fundraiser?

Announcing a fundraiser should be spread across as many forms of communication as possible. The most initially impactful is email, as you recruit your supporter base. However, they can really increase awareness by announcing their own part in the campaign on social media platforms. Find out more.  



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