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Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Amid Social Distancing

Finding ways to give back while respecting social distancing guidelines can be a challenge.  But with a little creativity and virtual know-how, you can engage your loyal supporters and their networks to raise funds, right from their own home.  

By having them take action, your constituents become a part of the solution.  Every dollar raised translates to a meaningful impact for the constituents you serve.  Below are some helpful tips and tricks along with a step-by-step guide to help get your donors started. 

Step 1 – Choose a fun activity that will appeal to your friends and loved ones.

PERSONAL FUNDRAISING: A positive bi-product of social distancing is that many of us have a lot more time on our hands – to catch up on must-see TV, movies we missed, and more. Here’s how your couch time can benefit a cause:

  • Binge Watching: Make a list of your target programming and determine your pledge – for example, for every episode/film you watch, you will donate $X to your organization! Invite your friends to match your donation.
  • Catch the Catchphrase: Watching a show with a well-known catchphrase? Add a $1 to a jar every time you hear the catchphrase while you’re watching. Catch Phrase examples: “That’s what she said!” or “Book ‘em Dano.”  Remember the old Sting classic, “Roxanne”?

(DISTANT) SOCIAL FUNDRAISING: Staying in touch with loved ones during this period of isolation is especially important.  With free and easy-to-use platforms like FaceTime, Skype, and Zoom you can take advantage of group video capabilities, encourage conversation, and consider adding a contribution to participate.  You have the option to collect donations from your friends using Venmo or simply circulate the donation link for everyone to process directly. 

  • Have a Happy Hour: Invite your colleagues and friends to participate in a happy hour from the comfort of their own homes. Whether raising a glass of wine or a cup of tea, ask attendees to donate what they would be spending on the bar tab/tip, while spending quality time catching up!
  • Donate a Dinner Party: Everyone brings their own meal (you can do brown bag or something fancier) to your Zoom dinner chat and then agrees to donate the equivalent cost of a meal – or what they would have spent on a dinner out at your favorite restaurant.
  • Share Your Skills: Utilize your artistic, culinary, or musical skills by live-streaming lessons to your friends and family. Encourage participants to donate supply costs.

COMPETITIVE FUNDRAISERS: Who doesn’t enjoy a little friendly competition?  Take advantage of the spring weather – it’s the perfect time to get moving outside!

  • Display of Athleticism:  Challenge your friends to a 25/50/100 Push-Up Challenge, Timed Wall-Sits, or a Virtual Bike/Run/Walk with a specific distance/time limit.  For every push-up, wall-sit, or mile biked/run/walked each participant pledges to donate $2 to your organization.
  • Host A Game Night: Gather friends virtually and play together. Request an entrance fee donation to join the virtual platform or have a 50/50 style pot with the winner taking home half and the other half being donated to your organization.

Step 2 – Plan and promote your fundraiser.


  • Whether you are a design wiz or opt to use a time-saving Canva template, be sure to share all of the important details about your event – the who, what, when, where, and why.
  • Create a personal campaign!  Create a personal donation page or simply tag your organization to amplify your message with your organization’s followers. 
  • Post your Save the Date and/or Invitation on all of your social media accounts, with a plan to keep the communication going with regular reminders. 
  • Be sure to provide background about the cause, why it is meaningful to you and how all funds raised will make a difference.


  • “Hello, friends! During this time of social distancing, it is more necessary than ever to support non-profit organizations that are addressing the vital needs of our community.  I am hosting an <Insert Fundraising Activity/Virtual Event Here> to benefit XYZ and I would like to invite each one of you to join me. XYZ provides on-the-ground programs and services with a commitment to XXXXX.  All funds raised will be donated to XYZ to support their efforts in the wake of COVID-19.”  <Insert Your Organization or Your Personal Donation Link>
  • “For every episode of <Insert TV Show Title Here> that I watch, I will be donating $X to XYZ. I challenge you to do the same!  #WatchForACause” <Insert Your Organization or Your Personal Donation Link>
  • “Happy Hour/Dinner with the best colleagues around! Tonight, we’re donating the $$ that would normally go to our bill to XYZ.” Shared with a photo of all your friends enjoying their drink or dinner of choice! <Insert Your Organization or Your Personal Donation Link>
  • “Hi everyone! Please consider joining my fundraiser to help XYZ continue their amazing services during this uncertain time. I would like to challenge you to bike/run/walk as much as you want over the next five days and for every logged mile I will personally donate $X to XYZ. If you would like to participate, send me a text and a picture of how many miles you’ve completed. Please tag any friends you think would like to participate too!  If you would like to make a direct donation, here is a link to their donation page!”

Step 3 – Gather materials and get ready to have fun!


  • If you are doing an Instagram Live Cook-Off, establish a clear list of ingredients and materials to have on hand so that you and your participants can get organized for the big day.


  • Keep your friends and family in the loop as you prepare and to highlight your fundraising success. Make sure to thank your donors if you are using a personal donation page.

Example: Thank you for your support! No matter the distance between each of us, this is a time for connection. We know that crises hit those in poverty the hardest, with a longer and more complex path to recovery. Your support of XYZ moves us one step closer to a sense of normal for the most vulnerable in our midst. If you have any questions or need additional support, please don’t hesitate to reach out to an XYZ staff member.

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