The good and the bad of hosting a challenge

A challenge can help mobilise your P2P crowdfunder, but you need to figure out if it’s right for your organisation.

To host a crowdfunding challenge, or not to host a crowdfunding challenge. That is a really good question.

The Pros

  • Challenges can be attention grabbing. Think of Movember, Marathons, Ice Buckets - we all know them! If your challenge picks up and sustains for more than a year, your organisation will be known for the challenge your fundraisers are doing. This makes it easier for donors to identify the cause they’re giving to. It also makes your cause more attractive to potential P2P fundraisers who want to jump on your challenge to boost their own social capital.
  • Completing a challenge is easier than asking for money outright. Instead of asking your P2P fundraisers to ask their family and friends for money, giving them a challenge to make their fundraising far less intimidating. If your P2P fundraisers want to complete a challenge, but can’t think of one to do, you’ve also solved that problem for them.
  • Challenges create a sense of comradery. If you ask your P2P fundraisers to tackle the same task, they’ll solve the problems together and form connections. Live Below the Line is a good example of this. They encourage their fundraisers to share information on recipes and where to buy cheap food in the lead up to the LBL week. Past LBLers are encouraged to give tips to newbies. A challenge doesn’t necessarily need to be ‘challenging’ to form connections – Movember is a great example of a challenge which makes participants instantly recognisable, and therefore easily identifiable as a smaller community within the broader crowd.
  • Challenges can inform a theme. If you have a single challenge, you can design creative content and communications around it. You can reply a little less on the cause for creative inspiration and more on the challenge.

The Cons

  • Challenges risk losing their hype. People can only run ‘their first marathon’ once, and the shine of being an ice-bucket challenger wears off after a single Facebook post. Even some of the most popular P2P challenges are seeing less revenue as the years roll past, because they are less ‘interesting’ or indeed ‘challenging’ than what they once seemed to be.
  • They take a lot of work to organise. Whether it be partnering with a fun run, creating merchandise, or sending out challenge packages to your fundraiser, challenges will add a lot of work to your crowdfunder. You'll need the resources to pull it off, and you'll need to know it's worth the effort.
  • Similarly, then can be costly. Challenge packs don’t grow on trees.
  • It has to be smart. You need a creative challenge idea, which supports instead of detracting from the cause you’re raising money for. This can be a challenge in and of itself.

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