P2P Fundraising Success Comes From Ceding Control to Supporters

Pedaling for Parkinson'sIt wouldn’t be much of an exaggeration to say that traditionally P2P fundraising professionals have been control freaks. We produced events and told people where, when and how to participate.

At our recent Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Canada conference, Parkinson Canada‘s Jon Collins confessed that giving up control was one of his greatest contributions to the success of Pedaling for Parkinson’s.

Our 2016 Cash, Sweat & Tears Award honoree Peter Istvan started the 3-day bike ride in rural Parry Sound, Ontario six years ago to support the Society’s work.

When Collins saw the program gaining traction he thought of taking greater control of the event and perhaps spreading it to other markets. Istvan politely told him to back off – they did not want to lose the community nature of the event.

The friends manage nearly every detail of the event – from recruiting riders, to collecting donations, to enlisting family members to bake cookies and dole out hugs. Parkinson Canada offers basic support for the campaign, but it largely stays out of the way and lets the friends manage the event their way.

The result is nothing short of inspiring. This July, 250 people took part in the ride, raising more than $200,000. All told, Peter and his friends and family have helped raise more than $700,000 for the charity.

Bravo to Peter for creating such an impressive program – and to the team at Parkinson Society for knowing when to help and when to get out of the way!

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