Peer to Peer Advanced Speaker Spotlight: Jamie Bearse
On November 4 and 5, NonProfit PRO is hosting its annual peer-to-peer fundraising conference: Peer to Peer Advanced. Taking place in the heart of Philadelphia, attendees will gain a wealth of knowledge on advanced and innovative peer-to-peer tactics and learn how to strategize for future peer-to-peer programs, learning how to create sustainable programs that will not only engage fundraisers, but retain them, too.
Someone you can look forward to seeing at Peer to Peer Advanced is Jamie Bearse. As someone who has spent years in the “big chair,” Jamie will share how he manages organizational health and stays current on technology, tools and trends in the industry.
As president and CEO of ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer, Jamie is committed to championing the cause, while stewarding this leading cancer organization. Bearse has been with ZERO for 16 years and has been a critical member of the leadership team since 2005.
He is recognized as the key architect of several of ZERO’s strategic objectives and programs, including the ZERO Prostate Cancer Run/Walk, its Endurance Team initiative, co-pay relief program and ZERO360 Patient Navigation. Under his leadership, ZERO has become a four-out-four star rated organization by Charity Navigator and has been named in the Top 50 Best Charities to Work for by The NonProfit Times for the last six years.
During his career, Bearse has built significant partnerships toward ending prostate cancer and has raised more than $150 million for prostate cancer research, education and support. He is currently focused on building ZERO’s champion program to empower survivors and families to take an active role in the organization to engage those impacted by the disease. Bearse is also a leader in the medical research advocacy community to establish federal government funding for cancer research and to ease access to care for all patients.
Jamie has a certificate in executive leadership from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, holds an MPA from the University of Southern California and holds a BA from the University of Massachusetts. He’s a black belt in karate, a blogger, podcast host and he lives in Boston, Massachusetts, with his wife and three children.
NonProfit PRO had the exclusive opportunity to engage in a short Q&A with Jamie to learn more about the state of peer-to-peer fundraising.
In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing peer-to-peer fundraising?
The retention rates with peer-to-peer fundraising from one year to the next is pretty low, which forces organizations to constantly be on the lookout for bringing in new participants. The reason for low retention rates can be varied from technology barriers to life circumstances, where someone will participate in a peer-to-peer action once then move on with their life.
What is an innovative strategy your nonprofit is using to increase peer-to-peer participation?
It’s not a high-tech or fancy solution, but ZERO embraces three strategic anchors to help chart our path on how we can best help patients and continue to grow as an organization. One of those strategic anchors is “Showing the Love” to our constituents. Oftentimes, a prostate cancer diagnosis, and especially a death from prostate cancer, rips a family into pieces. As a staff, if we can make a prostate cancer patient and his family feel empowered and part of the ZERO family, then the chances of that man and his family to come to ZERO year after year increases significantly. We do that — and show a genuine interest in their lives and care personally for each of our ZERO champions, advocates and constituents.
How can nonprofits better engage and retain their constituents year after year?
At ZERO, we do our very best to keep up-to-date on technology to make peer-to-peer as easy as possible for the user. For example, using tools so the average person doesn’t have to get up off the couch when they see one of their friends on Facebook is running a fundraiser. However, I will double down on the “Show the Love” aspect of fundraising. People show love for someone or a cause by giving. Donating — most often — is an emotional response so taking the time to know your fundraisers and creating a relationship with them will lead to not only better retention rates, but it also increases the chances that the fundraiser becomes an ambassador for the organization, where they’re telling others who trust them as a resource that your organization is impactful and empowering.
If you’re interested in learning about being an innovative leader (and engage in more next-level peer-to-peer thinking), secure your spot at Peer to Peer Advanced. Click here to learn more.
Nhu Te is senior content manager at Fundraise Up, the AI-powered online donation platform for enterprise nonprofits. In her work, she focuses on helping nonprofits create more impact through personalized donor relations, digital fundraising and thoughtful use of technology.