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What is peer-to-peer fundraising?

Peer-to-peer fundraising (also known as “Friends asking Friends”) is a method of fundraising that motivates supporters to fundraise on behalf of a cause, as opposed to an organization asking for donations directly. In this case, you are asking your peers to contribute to a cause you care about.

How will you and your peers support the cause?

Covenant House can’t solve youth homelessness alone. We need champions, messengers, and storytellers to help us move our mission forward. Peer-to-peer fundraising is a great way to reach new networks of people and gain new donors. You are now a part of our organization’s narrative and your outreach on our behalf will bring new attention to Covenant House Vancouver.

How do I get started?

Stare down your fundraising goal - try raising $500 towards your goal in one week!


  • Day 1: Sponsor yourself for $50
  • Day 2: Ask three family members for $25
  • Day 3: Ask three friends to donate $15
  • Day 4: Ask four co-workers to sponsor you for $10 (don't forget to also ask your company if they have a matching gifts program). “Co-workers” can be interchanged with volunteers or other leaders if you are involved in an association.
  • Day 5: E-mail 10 personal contacts and ask for a $20 donation.
  • Day 6: Ask 10 people in your social network for a $10 donation.
  • Social networks include Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. If social media isn’t your thing, try texting your contacts and asking them to contribute.

With these steps, in just one week you will be well on your way to achieving your fundraising goal!

Fundraising Tips

Fundraising Tips

We know that fundraising can be challenging. If you break the work of fundraising into manageable tasks, it’s easier than you think. Every successful fundraiser we’ve worked with begins their campaign with the same three steps and you can too. Here are the steps:

  1. Set up your fundraising page and make it personal
  2. Divide your contacts into groups and customize your messages
  3. Ask each group directly for what you want

Step 1: Set up your fundraising page

Once you are registered, a fundraising page will automatically be created for you on our website. The default page is generic; your first step is to personalize your page so that it reflects who you are. Add a photo and explain why you are creating an event in support of Covenant House, and your connection to our cause.

Step 2: Divide your contacts into groups and customize your messages

Group 1: The circle of people closest to you in the world

Group 2: Friends, family, and colleagues whom you see often and with whom you share common values

Group 3: Everyone else on your contact list

Step 3: Ask each group directly for what you want

Making your “asks” is the most time consuming part of fundraising, so we recommend starting with your Group 1 contacts. You can practice on them since they are your most captive audience and they’ll give you some starting gifts to get you going. Then move to Group 2 (after some donations have come in from Group 1) and use the best material that generated a response from Group 1. Lastly, your messaging to Group 3 can build on what you sent to Group 2, and what seemed to resonate with most people.

You can call people, or ask them in person. You can write a letter by hand, send an email, or post on social media, or you can try all of these approaches depending on how you usually communicate with your contacts.

Fundraising FAQs


Question: How do I make sure my contacts understand how my event supports the cause?

Answer: We have included information on our Community Giving website about Covenant House, and how we help homeless youth.

You can also visit the general Covenant House Vancouver website for additional information. We encourage you to visit these websites and copy and paste any text that resonates with you. A personalized message from you someone who is volunteering to advocate for these kids will open people’s eyes. By holding an event in support of Covenant House, you are showing your friends that you care enough to do something out of your comfort zone for homeless youth.


Question: How do I explain where their money goes?

Answer: The funds raised by your event help run the programs and services provided to homeless youth, allowing them to access three core programs that make up Covenant House's Continuum of Care. Covenant House is, on average, 94% privately funded so support from the community is crucial to helping the youth seeking their help.


Question: When and how do I appropriately thank people for their gifts?

Answer: Always be sure to take time to thank people for their gifts and for their investment in homeless young people. We would suggest that a two-step thank you strategy is most effective: first, thank your donors immediately after you receive a gift; you can also periodically send updates to your supporters throughout the fundraising campaign to keep them engaged in the event and share your success and progress.


Question: What if someone ignores my requests for support?

Answer: Ask again! If someone doesn’t respond the first time, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are not interested in helping. Life moves quickly and sometimes a reminder email is all it takes.

Social Media

Social Media

Social media is a powerful tool for fundraising. We recommend including an appeal on your social media networks. We love seeing event coverage on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, but when it comes to fundraising success, Facebook is the top social channel.

Tips for social media

  • Share updates about your progress and any other stories that are relevant to your fundraising campaign. People love hearing about your progress.
  • Make your content catchy, snappy, and interesting to help capture people’s attention.
  • Use social media for timely shout-outs to your donors thanking them for supporting you (tag them so they and their friends see it). This technique often inspires others to give after they see a recognizable name or want their own shout-out.
  • People love hearing about a large gift that moved your campaign forward or a contribution that came in from a surprise donor. Maybe an old high school friend was touched by your appeal, or a group of kids raised money on your behalf. Share these stories.
  • Use images to grab attention. Handwrite your appeal on a piece of cardboard and take a ‘selfie’ or include an image that best represents your event to you. Short video appeals work too.
  • Make sure you always include the link to your fundraising page in your social media posts. Make it as easy as possible for someone to donate to you.

Example 1: Today, I want to raise $250 for Covenant House Vancouver. Why $250? Because it will enable one vulnerable youth to come in from the streets and stay for a night in the Crisis Program, with access to healthy food, mental health counselling, clean clothes, and a safe and warm bed. Please make a donation to help me reach my goal [include link to your personal webpage].

Example 2: The youth who come to Covenant House looking for help have nowhere else to turn.

  • 70% have witnessed family violence.
  • 50% of our youth present with an addiction problem.
  • 43% have been in foster care.
  • 39% of our youth present with a mental illness.
  • 30% have been involved in the sex trade.

Think about ways to tie these stats to your fundraising. For example, in one appeal, consider requesting donations of $70 - in recognition of the 70% of homeless kids who flee violence at home. In a follow-up appeal, request donations of $50 - so that no young person at Covenant House has to face their addiction alone [include link to your personal webpage].

Facebook

Share specific information to help supporters understand their impact

People respond better to specific requests and they feel more connected when they know what they are helping to fund. Offer amounts and what they represent, but make sure your supporters know that gifts of all sizes are valued.

Here are some ways your donation can help the youth at Covenant House:

$10: Provides a youth with three nutritious meals for one day
$50: Provides drop-in access for one homeless youth to all services in the Drop-In Centre
$70: Provides three nutritious meals for one youth in the Shelter Program every day for one week
$100: Allows Outreach Workers to connect with one youth on the street and introduce them to Covenant House programs and services
$250: Offers one youth 24-hour Crisis Care in the Shelter Program for one day
$500: Provides drop-in access for 10 homeless youth to all services in the Drop-In Centre
$1,000: Allows Outreach Workers to connect with 10 youth on the street


Use photos to tell stories
Photos are powerful storytelling tools. Think about the kinds of photos you already take, and figure out how to use them for posts about your event.

  • Do you love food, and snap photos of your dinner? Share a photo that your foodie friends will enjoy and post that $10 can provide a youth with three nutritious meals for one day
  • Are you interested in clothes and style trends? Share that the most-requested item of clothing at Covenant House is new socks.
  • Do you share photos of your neighborhood and where you live? Ask your friends to imagine not having a safe and warm place to live, and the thought of carrying all of their possessions with them as they search for somewhere to sleep at night.
  • Covenant House Vancouver shares many stories on our social media channels. Feel free to share our posts with a few thoughts of your own. Example If you share a youth story we have posted you can say “this story shows the great work Covenant House is doing and why I am supporting them through my event”.

Share personal stories
Personal stories can be effective and inspiring. Do you have a specific reason for wanting to help homeless youth? If so, share your story in a status update, or shoot a quick video of you telling the story, and then post it to your feed. Help your audience connect with the reason why you are holding your event.


Say thank you to a donor (who is also on Facebook)
Post a quick thank you note on a donor’s Facebook wall and add an image to get extra attention.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn offers you the opportunity to send InMail messages to your contacts, which can be an effective way to reach people in your business network. We also suggest publishing a post with a catchy title.


[Insert title]

For homeless young people, there is Covenant House. Since 1997, Covenant House Vancouver has been available to meet the immediate needs of homeless youth, with a hot meal and a safe bed and to help them further their education, get a job, find permanent housing, and develop the skills they need to live a healthy, independent life. In essence, Covenant House helps these kids step into a brighter future.

By creating an event in support of Covenant House, I am doing my small part to make sure the doors stay open for all who need them. Please help me help youth by making a donation in support of my efforts.

[include link to your personal webpage].

If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at Covenant House. Just as you are supporting Covenant House Vancouver, we are here to support you!

Please contact Mark Savard at: savard@covenanthousebc.org

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