Peer to peer fundraising: A beginners guide to how it works

By: Malini Bhattacharya

Published On: May 29, 2018

Want to know some peer to peer fundraising ideas to raise quick funds? Read on to find out! 

Since we won our independence in 1947, we have been a developing nation, and if markers of economic growth are anything to go by, we will stay a developing one for decades to come, but it is beginning to seem, at last, that India’s development is a real thing. 

It’s not just our GDP growth rate (7.2%), it’s the infrastructural development we see around us, the industrial and manufacturing boom, the openness of investors (even as wealth continues to polarize) to put their money into relatively experimental ventures. 

Some of these new businesses cropping up in the Indian economic landscape have to do with alternative finance - think microlending bodies like Spandana, or crowdfunding platforms like Impact Guru, Bitgiving, and Milaap.

For the Indian masses, who are beginning to experience (as a whole) some economic uplift but do not yet have necessities like universal health coverage like their Canadian or Scandinavian counterparts (many do not yet have food security or guaranteed access to school education, even if education to the age of fourteen is a fundamental and inalienable right for every Indian child), this is an unmixed good. 

These organizations, some for profit social enterprises and some functioning as nonprofits, have helped thousands of individuals and NGOs get access to funds to pay for healthcare, to fund social change projects, and to finance creative projects like theatre productions, films, and self publication of books. 

Members of many layers of the vast Indian middle class have been benefited through crowdfunding solutions to a gamut of problems - quickly, efficiently, at at low cost. 

NGOs have spent less on fundraising through crowdfunding online than through traditional methods such as proposal writing for small grants, or going door to door asking for help with cash donations. 

Because crowdfunding has succeeded for the median Indian individual and organization in urgent and substantial need, the time has come to ask the question about whether peer to peer fundraising should be inaugurated in the country as well.

What is peer to peer Fundraising?Also called social fundraising and team fundraising, or simply P2P fundraising for the sake of brevity, peer to peer fundraising is when your friends and supporters fundraise online on your behalf, soliciting their networks of donors for contributions to your cause.

In other words, peer to peer fundraising is crowdfunding for nonprofits when several campaigners fundraise together for a shared cause. 

Consider the impact. If you are a non profit and you have ten (or n ) peers (volunteers, or supporters, or fans who will agree to peer to peer fundraise for you, that means your cause, and your fundraiser, is a talking point with that many primary networks of potential donors (as opposed to one, which is what happens when you crowdfund). 

Your fundraising costs stay the same. Your appeal reaches more people than ever before with enhanced credibility because each donor has a call to action coming to them from their friend or acquaintance. This translates to low-cost donor acquisition for your nonprofit. 

We say non profit, because typically, at least in the west, it is  mostly nonprofits and social enterprises who use peer to peer fundraising to garner funds for projects. Also, in those geographies, peer to peer fundraising platforms are separate from crowdfunding platforms, with distinguished product features lent to this specific style of fundraising. 

India does not yet have its own distinct peer to peer fundraising platform, but crowdfunding platforms, like ours, have product features that allow not only nonprofits but also individuals to leverage their personal networks and raise funds P2P style on  the crowdfunding platform itself, by running what are called 'support fundraisers'.

Fundraising for beginners: Why peer to peer fundraising is a great practiceYou build on existing relationships with your people

By people, we not only mean your paid employees, but also your base of volunteers as well as your donors. You deepen existing relationships by exploring how  well you tap into your donor portfolio. 

Some donors may want to be more involved in the work you do by giving their time; remember to ask if this is so. Some volunteers may want to give more by helping you fundraise actively as a peer. Ask questions, build awareness, use resources wisely. 

You expand your donors base

The moment you go live with a peer to peer fundraising campaign, a donor snowballing effect happens. With every supporter who is running their own page linked to your cause, a new set of donors is brought into your fold. 

Some of these people will contribute, some will share your stories, some will do both, and some will remember you and come back to give next season. Either way, having new people exposed to your project or your organization’s mission is a good investment. Make it.

You multiply effect on limited resources

With the few people you have got, and the little in financial resources, you get to raise a veritable army of supporters consisting of people split from you by a single degree of social separation - friends, coworkers, neighbors, relatives of those who are your peers and are raising funds in support of your cause!

Different types of peer to peer Fundraising campaignsTime-based

Time-based campaigns are just what they sounds like. You start your fundraiser on a platform of your choice and set a duration, or a deadline, for fundraising. 

Most time-based P2P fundraisers run anywhere between four and twelve weeks. With a time-based campaign, the campaigner is under a lot of pressure to raise funds, and the ideal thing to do is to recruit as many supporters (or peers) as possible, with their individual networks helping along, to help your fundraising goals along and meet the target by the assigned deadline. 


A rolling peer to peer fundraising campaign comes without a deadline. In theory, a rolling fundraiser can go on forever. The challenge here is to make sure that the peers who are fundraising on your behalf don’t lose motivation and grit somewhere along the way! 

Rolling fundraising is best for generic causes like anti-poverty or anti-hunger or education missions. Projects with sharper foci do better on shorter deadlines.

Giving days

Like it sounds, a giving day is a single day of charitable giving that nonprofits can capitalize on to rake in large sums in donations from givers. 

The peer to peer fundraiser needs to promote the chosen day of giving on social media before the fundraiser actually goes live to alert donors, and then aim for attracting donors and meeting a handsome fundraising target in 24 hours or less.

Why peer to peer fundraising will work in IndiaThere is great social need in India

By this, we mean that if an individual (an activist or a champion of a particular social need or cause) were to want to work to make a difference, they would be spoilt for choice to pick a social problem. 

There is hunger in India, there is the lack of education at the grassroots, there is gender based discrimination, there is sexual violence. The commonality tying these problems together is that to make a difference anywhere, funds are needed, and online peer to peer fundraising is the best way to raise them.

Technology is becoming more available and more accessible by the day 

Peer to peer fundraising will fall flat on its face without internet technology to buttress it. 

Happily, India has already had its internet revolution, with smartphones having become ubiquitous even in semi rural areas, and the middle class, which is at the heart of the national crowdfunding and peer to peer fundraising effort, expert users of social media and smartphones both. 

It is easy, thus, to both ask for help through these alternative fundraising methods, and to give help when tables are turned more favorably. 

There are people who can give and want to give

While certain factions complain that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer in India, this criticism overlooks the fact that the middle class is burgeoning like never before, creating a class of educated and well-informed, socially sensitized people with strong philanthropic instincts who have larger and larger disposable incomes from which they are willing to often give to charity as long as the cause is credible. 

As always, the high net worth class also continues giving in large chunks and is shifting at least some part of their giving to the web, to campaigns run on peer to peer and crowdfunding platforms.

Peer to peer fundraising ideas: A quick list 

  • Say no to a gift, accept a donation instead

  •  For a birthday, wedding or an anniversary, ask your guests to make a donation to a charity of you support. Offer your guests the option of running their own fundraiser page for the cause, too!

  • A marathon

  • Ask all runners to set a fundraising target. Ask friends and family to donate money for the cause the marathon represents.

  • Have a sale

  • Whether it’s a bake sale or a garage sale, tell your buyers that all proceeds will go for the support of a good cause.

  • Have a game night

  • Organize a charity sport night, cricket and football are good options, and channel all ticket sales to your fundraising project. Here are some more ideas by GlobalGiving.

It’s not easy asking people for help, even if it is help for a charitable cause. With peer to peer fundraising, that “ask” becomes slightly easier, with you reaching out to friends for assistance with a worthy cause you want to make your mission. 

Crowdfunding platforms in India, like ours, are ready with the infrastructure help you will need. All you need to do now is take the plunge.

We suggest you also read: 

A Complete Guide To Reward Based Crowdfunding In India 

Donation-Based Crowdfunding: 20 New Hacks To A Successful Fundraiser And More 

If you have any suggestions or feedback related to the article, reach out to us at [email protected]