Webinar Recap: Shannon Malloy at Cure JM

on March 20, 2018

Missed our webinar How to get more peer-to-peer fundraisers in 2018? No worries. We’ve got you covered.

In January, Tyler from CrowdRise teamed up with Shannon Malloy from Cure JM to dig into everything you need to know in order to be super successful with peer-to-peer fundraising in 2018. We wanted to have an in-depth conversation about how to leverage your supporters in order to raise money on your nonprofit’s behalf.

To make it all happen, we connected with Shannon, the director of operations and development at Cure JM, a nonprofit with a mission to provide support, raise awareness, and fund research for Juvenile Myositis and life-threatening childhood disease. Why Cure JM? Well, not only have they raised over $1.8 million in CrowdRise Challenges alone, and over $2.5 million total on CrowdRise, but they’ve also averaged 185 peer-to-peer fundraisers per Challenge. And, they only have three employees.

With that incredible peer-to-peer activation rate, we just had to dig in and find out what they were doing to create such a loyal fundraiser base. Want to learn their secrets? Watch the webinar below or scroll down for the interview recap.

Watch the video of our interview with Shannon at Cure JM

Tell us a little about the Cure JM Foundation organization.

Cure JM Foundation is a nonprofit based on the rare disease juvenile myositis, which includes juvenile dermatomyositis and juvenile polymyositis. It's what is considered a rare or ultra-rare disease, affecting only a couple of children out of each million born in the U.S. Our mission is to find a cure and better treatments for juvenile myositis and improve the lives of all families affected by JM.

We currently have about 3,000 families involved in our organization and about 3,000 kids, which is really, really great because many of our families have never met another family like them until joining Cure JM. Having that peer-to-peer support for both the parents, the kids, and the families is really important.

What types of campaigns do you utilize peer-to-peer fundraising for, as opposed to donate-only activities?

At Cure JM, we have a couple programs where we use peer-to-peer fundraising. One of them is our signature fundraising program, Walk Strong to Cure JM, which we run through CrowdRise. This is a phenomenal program. It's in its third year right now in 2018. We started from one walk in 2016 to five, and now we have 14 walks planned. The program is growing fast with the support of CrowdRise and all of the amazing Cure JM families that are out raising funds.

How the walk program works is families sign up for a walk in their region and then friends and family join them to form a walk team and raise funds for research.

Who were your original fundraisers and how did you encourage them to start fundraising?

Cure JM has a little bit of a special history, where this is an organization started by parents and grandparents of children fighting this rare disease. Our original fundraisers were all parents and grandparents. We've grown up, so to speak, as an organization — built top to bottom with peer-to-peer fundraising. Through most of the years, peer-to-peer fundraising has been Cure JM's key source of revenue. It's not really something that we've just added to our repertoire; it's really been our bread and butter over the years.

What types of communication do you use to motivate people to help support you?

I think one of the most important things to encourage fundraising is to give your supporters and donors an elevator pitch as to why their donation makes a difference and why their gift is so, so appreciated by your organization. One of the things that is so important at Cure JM is every single supporter is truly valued for what they're doing for our kids. The thank yous are sincere, and the care and the gratitude that we feel for our families and our supporters is so genuine.

That comes through because we know that each person is important. Each of them makes a difference and each of them makes more research possible. When your supporters and donors know that they're making a difference, they'll want to walk beside you and keep that difference going however they can, whether it's raising funds, making additional gifts, or getting involved as a volunteer.

How do you support your active fundraisers?

To support our fundraisers, we love to provide them with the messaging tools from CrowdRise because the messaging is so on point. It's fun, it's short, it's quick, and it makes the whole experience fun. I think that's one thing that organizations will find value in, is keeping it light, keeping it fun, and keeping things between you and your supporters (and between your supporters and their networks) as fun as possible.

Another thing that I would say you could provide to raisers and supporters would just be encouragement. That's the key point that you want to make with your supporters. When they try and they give a little bit of effort to support our cause, we are so, so grateful and so appreciative. That kind of support might grow next year or the year after in different ways.

From day one, have you found it easy to turn donors into engaged supporters or engaged fundraisers?

I think it's easier to recruit fundraisers for charitable causes now, because most people that you run into, supporters or even people who aren't supporters of your cause, are familiar with peer-to-peer fundraising now - versus five or ten years ago when maybe it was less so.

People are familiar with GoFundMe and with charity walks, charity runs, and charity events where people go out and ask for donations for a good cause. I do feel like, in some ways, it is easier to recruit fundraisers when more people know what peer-to-peer fundraising is.

If you're a new charity, why should you try out peer-to-peer fundraising?

For organizations that are thinking about peer-to-peer fundraising, one piece of advice would be to be honest and upfront with your supporters that are considering peer-to-peer fundraising. It's not always going to be easy, it's not always going to be fun. The goal at the end of the day is that you work together to advance your mission. That's the payoff and that's the reward.

It's not easy to ask friends and family for money, but what I would suggest is to arm your supporters with a message about why your organization is making a difference and why a gift to that organization is so important. That goes out and speaks on its own. You don't necessarily need to ask for money when you've put a compelling argument together to support a cause.

Any closing thoughts?

One thing about peer-to-peer fundraising is that it can be hard. Guess what? Lots of important things are uncomfortable and lots of important things are hard. At the end of the day, when you want to make real change in the world and you want to make things possible that nobody believed were possible, you might have to do things that are uncomfortable. You might have to get out of your comfort zone. Looking back at those achievements is going to be reward in itself.

And I think it would not be an overstatement to say that we couldn't do this without the incredible partnership and support and tools and ideas and everything that CrowdRise makes possible for us to raise funds to support our organization. Thank you for making this all possible.


A big thanks to Shannon at Cure JM for the super kind words, and for partnering with us for this webinar. The work you do is so inspiring.

To learn more about how you can embrace social fundraising at your organization, check out Chapter One of our Social fundraising in the real world eGuide below.

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Gary Wohlfeill

Gary Wohlfeill is the Director of Marketing at CrowdRise. He works with partners to develop highly engaging fundraising campaigns, and leads the marketing team in developing the CrowdRise brand. Gary has been named as having the “3rd best haircut of people under 6 feet tall at CrowdRise" and hopes one day to slip to 4th.