Featured July 2014
What inspired you to do this work?
I always knew I wanted to work in nonprofit, but didn’t quite know what that meant. Right out of college I worked as an events coordinator at JDRF and discovered that I loved the fast pace and quick impact of peer-to-peer fundraising. In that job I worked on a range of things – including gala, walk and cycling events. Loved every second of it. Fast forward through several years of fundraising work and it’s still inspiring to see the power of people coming together to create big waves and I love learning the stories of those who benefit from an organization’s work.
What has happened recently that pumped you up?
At Make-A-Wish, our national events & campaigns unit is two years “new” and in that short time we have grown from a team of one to five people. Building an incredible team – in and of itself – pumps me up! Our organization has been hosting successful fundraising events around the country for years, but it’s exciting to see our leadership embrace the value of peer-to-peer fundraising and invest the time and resources into growing our programs. Each day, I’m excited to be part of the vision and effort to help our peer-to-peer fundraising programs match the strength of our brand.
What’s one of the biggest challenges you’re facing in your role?
I am a self-proclaimed data geek and love digging into event fundraising numbers and trends… percentage of fundraisers, retention rates, use of online tools, click-through rates – it’s all so important to benchmarking and managing the success of peer-to-peer programs. For the time being, access to this event information is limited for our national team which means we’re getting creative with how to best assess our programs. We’re looking forward to the day we can get our fingers into this data and help local markets strategically grow their programs and manage our program growth nationally.
What is next for you as a P2P fundraiser?
I’m focused on growing our team and positioning ourselves within the organization to have a big and lasting impact. Two of our priority peer-to-peer programs are Walk For Wishes and Kids For Wish Kids (youth fundraising), and we’re in the process of strengthening our systems and infrastructure to prepare for growth across both programs. Both programs have huge room for growth in online fundraising and we’re moving the organization to one platform to maximize our efforts… We also have big plans to engage companies nationally within both programs, through national cash sponsorships, team participation and national marketing. Finally, we’ve been strategizing a lot around the ‘participant experience’ with these programs and how to connect walkers and youth fundraisers to the Make-A-Wish mission. It’s going to be a busy year!
What advice would you give to someone just starting a career in athletic event fundraising?
There is so much ahead of us in the peer-to-peer fundraising space… and simply never enough time to do all that you WANT or NEED to do. The best advice I can share was advice given to me a while back. It really stuck: You’ve got to get good at juggling glass balls and rubber balls. Keep the glass ones up, and get comfortable letting the rubber ones bounce. (And they can’t all be glass balls… wink!)