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Imagine being on the staff of Children’s Tumor Foundation (CTF http://ctf.org) 6 years ago and a bright, young, energetic young man comes to your office with an idea for a peer to peer fundraising event for your organization.

What if you knew that 5 years later, this peer to peer event would raise $3 million a year and transform your organization?  What if you turned him away?

The origin story of the charity Cupids (http://cupidsundierun.org) and its Director, Chad Leathers (@CupidsUndieRun) is a great read.  Some say the story shows Cupids is the mother of all DIY Peer to Peer Fundraisers. We use this story to share a lesson in the “Why of Peer to Peer DIY.”

DIY Peer to Peer Fundraising is a hot topic in nonprofit circles.  The allure of throwing up a DIY fundraising website and attracting thousands of millennials to raise millions of dollars for you sounds like easy money.  This idea is difficult for charities to resist.

In truth, DIY Peer to Peer fundraising doesn’t work that way.  Nonprofit staff need to provide guidance and support to each individual who chooses to raise money for their organization.  Often nonprofits view DIY fundraisers as nuisances and liabilities.  This mindset will certainly lead to missed opportunities.  I’ve seen it firsthand.

What if Children’s Tumor Foundation rejected the Cupids idea?  Because they were worried about how much time it would require to support the idea?  What if they rejected the idea because they didn’t like how their logo was used?  What if, instead of focusing on opportunity, Children’s Tumor Foundation was more concerned about the liability of thousands of people running in their underwear in the middle of winter?  Millions of dollars and a transformative campaign would have never materialized.

The “Why of Peer to Peer DIY” is to find the next big thing for your organization. The “Why of Peer to Peer DIY” is to find your next large community of donors and supporters.  The “Why” is to find the innovators that are passionate about your cause.  These innovators will bring their own brand of creativity and energy and take your organization to the next level.

In order to strike gold with DIY, nonprofits should invest their time and energy into the ideas presented to them.  Most noteworthy treat each idea like an investor would treat a business opportunity.  Pay close attention to the quality of the person, their energy, enthusiasm and their track record of success in other areas of their lives.  And hope for a little luck….

Congrats to Children’s Tumor Foundation for recognizing the opportunity Chad Leathers created.  Furthermore kudos to Chad Leathers for exceeding everyone’s expectations and creating one of the great DIY Peer to Peer Fundraising campaigns ever.

@ChildrensTumor @CupidsUndieRun @blueskycollab #standout

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