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Referral Rewards


Fundraising events are returning and nonprofits are promoting hybrid, in-person, and virtual events. Your digital marketing plan consists of social media posts, Facebook and Google ads, and email marketing that get people talking about and signing up for your fundraising event. How can you expand that funnel…. for free?

Our data shows that 50%+ of participants attend an event because a friend asked them to join. With GiveSignup | RunSignup’s Referral Rewards, your nonprofit incentivizes your supporters to bring their family and friends to your fundraising events with automated refunds, swag, and recognition. Why does the Referral Program work so well? Because there is no better advocate for your fundraising events than your supporters.


The Data: Grow Your Fundraising Events by 17% with $0 Ad Spend

In 2020, more than 436,000 referral codes were created on GiveSignup | RunSignup. When supporters shared those codes with their friends and family, they generated more than 12 Million website visits and more than $12.1 Million in ticket sales. Overall, when referral rewards are enabled, 17% of ticket sales come from referrals – that means you grow your event with no additional ad spend.

Many referral programs are set up with a high threshold and high reward. Most referrers never reach the threshold to get a reward – so the people they do refer are completely free! This leads to an exceptionally low average cost per acquisition (CPA) of just $0.87 per ticket purchase. Compared to the average Facebook CPA of $18.68, Referral Rewards can help your nonprofit reach more potential supporters through your fundraising events without spending money!

GiveSignup | RunSignup Referral Rewards Data in 2020


The Technology: Set Up Referral Rewards in Less than 1 Minute

Referral rewards are easy to enable for Ticket Events and Run/Walk/Ride Events. From your Event Dashboard, search for Referral and navigate to Referral Tracking Setup. 

You can enable referral settings and set up rewards when supporters reach certain referral thresholds. In the example below, ticket holders who refer 5 additional purchases will automatically receive a $20 refund to their card from your event. 

A powerful way to boost your Referral Rewards program is to keep your top referrers incentivized to continue referring friends and family even after they achieve their first reward. These rewards don’t need to be refunds; try stacking rewards with swag and recognition. For example, refer 10 friends and get an exclusive nonprofit t-shirt. Then refer 15 friends to earn an exclusive tote bag. GiveSignup | RunSignup’s Referral Rewards lets this run on autopilot. Supporters receive achievement notifications with steps to claim their reward if needed (i.e. selecting a shirt size) without your team sending a single email!

Top 5 Tips to Optimize Referral Rewards

It takes less than 1 minute to set up your Referral Rewards program. We have 5 tips to help you take the next step – enhancing and promoting your Referral Rewards program to get the best returns.

1. Set up a high threshold, high reward Referral Rewards program. The sweet spot for a Referral Rewards program is somewhere in the middle: a high enough reward to motivate sharing the event ($15 or more), and a threshold that is difficult, but not impossible, to attain (3-5 referrals).

2. Keep your top referrers promoting your fundraising event. Once someone hits their first reward, motivate them to keep referring! You don’t have to offer a refund as a reward; try exclusive swag, unique experiences like meeting your beneficiaries, or recognition! 

3. Feature your Referral Rewards program on your website, social sharing, confirmation emails, and confirmation page text. Promote your Referral Rewards program on your website by adding cover page content and a page to explain how referrals work.  It’s easy to customize notifications and social sharing messages so that your attendees see their referral link on the confirmation page, social share option, and confirmation email. Make it your own by adding your own content to the messaging!

4. Promote your Referral Rewards program with a drip campaign. GiveSignup | RunSignup’s free Email Marketing enables you to set up drip campaigns with merge tags for lots of dynamic information – including each attendee’s unique referral link! Schedule reminders for 3 and 10 days after people purchase their tickets to remind them to share their unique links – and make it easy for them to do so by including their unique link in the email!

5. Recognize your top referrers. Just like your top donors, fundraisers, and volunteers, your top referrers deserve recognition for driving attendance to your event. This could be a phone call, thank you note, or recognition at the fundraising event. Bringing in new people to attend your nonprofit’s events grows the audience that is familiar with your mission and has had a positive interaction with your organization, ultimately increasing your donor pipeline.

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