Lakeland Residents Share the Fundraising Strategy Behind Iconic Swan Derby at Atlanta Conference

For 15 years and counting, Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine has invited local leaders to participate in their annual Swan Derby fundraiser. LVIM has raised over $2 million through the Swan Derby to help provide affordable healthcare and medical procedures to low-income residents in Polk County.

What makes this fundraiser unique — aside from the racing of swan-shaped paddle boats — is that 100% of LVIM’s fundraising participants raise money. In the average peer-to-peer style fundraiser (fundraisers where individuals organize personal campaigns to collect donations from their peers), 80% of participants will not raise anything during an event.

To share the strategies behind Swan Derby’s fundraising success, LVIM President and CEO Alice Koehler is joining Qgiv’s Nonprofit Education Manager, Abby Jarvis, in Atlanta to present at P2PForum 2022 Feb. through March 2 to 400 fundraising professionals. P2PForum is the largest annual conference focused on the needs of peer-to-peer fundraising professionals.

“While the name ‘peer-to-peer fundraiser’ might not be recognizable to someone outside of the nonprofit world, most of us can recall a Facebook fundraiser we’ve seen or given to ourselves. Those fundraisers are peer-to-peer style fundraisers,” said Qgiv’s nonprofit education manager, Abby Jarvis. “LVIM’s Swan Derby follows that same style of community-based fundraising.”

The Swan Derby takes place annually on Lake Mirror.

Koehler will be presenting alongside other nationally recognized nonprofit leaders, including representatives from Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Susan G. Komen, Make-A-Wish America, the American Cancer Society, Sierra Club, and more.

“It’s an honor to be able to represent our city and LVIM at a national conference on fundraising best practices,” said Koehler. “When Swan Derby started 15 years ago, no one could have anticipated it would turn into such a such a beloved community event and successful fundraiser. By creating an easy onboarding experience and actively engaging with our community fundraisers, we’ve created an event that helps sustain our nonprofit. I’m looking forward to sharing what’s worked for us in hopes other organizations can see similar success.”

To help fundraisers across the country overcome participation challenges with their peer-to-peer fundraisers, Koehler and Jarvis will be sharing:

  • How to establish onboarding and mentorship processes that support and empower fundraisers
  • Communication strategies that keep fundraisers engaged at every stage of an event

“At Qgiv, we’ve provided the tools and one-on-one coaching to help thousands of nonprofits across North America host peer-to-peer fundraisers,” said Jarvis. “We’re thrilled that local and national nonprofits alike can use Qgiv’s tools to raise more money to fulfill their missions.”

P2PForum will host 70 speakers across 35 different sessions attendees can choose from, including a variety of interactive workshops.