National Kidney Foundation’s Deanna van Lear drops by to talk about how peer-to-peer fundraising has evolved - and how we need to reframe our role as fundraising coaches to keep up

Not too long ago, peer-to-peer fundraisers relied on letter-writing, phone calls, and pledge envelopes to raise money for their favorite causes. Now, we have email, countless social media channels and mobile apps literally at our fingertips, making it even easier to fundraise. In theory, right?

However, the latest technology alone isn’t enough for successful peer-to-peer fundraising. The most valuable resource for a peer-to-peer fundraiser is a great staff partner who guides them toward achieving their goals and making a real impact for the causes they love. But with the shift to a remote working environment and turnover in many front-line fundraiser roles, the importance of our staff’s role as fundraising coach has been lost.

In this episode, P2PPF’s Marcie Maxwell is joined by Deanna van Lear, the National Kidney Foundation’s Kidney Walk National Director. The duo swap stories about the early 2000s, highlighting the differences and similarities between peer-to-peer fundraising then and now. They also discuss the essential need for professional fundraisers to adapt to the ever-changing landscape.

In today’s episode, we’ll explore:

   – How NKF is retraining its local field staff and volunteers to fundraise
   – The importance of coaching participants to achieve their goals
   – How to come out from behind the crutch of digital communication and get back to in-person conversations
   – Systems that NKF is putting in place to help local staff achieve their goals

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Podcast Guest

Deanna van Lear

Kidney Walk National Director, National Kidney Foundation

With over 15 years of walks under her belt, Deanna van Lear brings a distinct level of expertise to her role as the Kidney Walk National Director. Deanna started out managing walks in the DC area with the March of Dimes, gaining valuable insight into the relationship building required to successfully manage the job. Now in her role at the National Kidney Foundation where she has been for over 11 years, Deanna uses that relationship knowledge, as well as, data to drive strategic growth for the Kidney Walk Program. In her spare time, Deanna enjoys spending time with her 3.5 year old and 1.5 year old and dabbling in photography and yes she has photographed a few walks in her day…who better to know the best shots to take than someone who has seen it from all sides!

Podcast Host


Marcie Maxwell

Managing Director, Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum

Marcie Maxwell is the Managing Director of the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum. Marcie joined the P2PPF team in 2021 after 15+ years as a front-line fundraiser, national events & campaign director and fundraising consultant. In her role, Marcie serves as a primary thought leader and community builder for the peer-to-peer fundraising industry. She started her career in fundraising with 10+ years at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where she ran local fundraising events, managed national volunteer partnerships and launched their national walk program. She then spent 5+ years as the Director of Chapter Fundraising Events with Make-A-Wish America, where she provided strategy, support & training to 60 chapters on the full event portfolio – walks, school fundraising, an endurance hiking program and galas & social events. In her most recent role at Charity Dynamics, she partnered with clients to provide strategic guidance and analysis to help them optimize and grow their peer-to-peer fundraising events & campaigns. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from Louisiana State University and a master’s degree in Ethical Leadership from Christian Brothers University. She resides in Memphis, TN.