JDRF: Improving Lives, Curing Type 1 Diabetes

Photo cred: jdrf.org

If you’ve ever stood in line at a Casey’s gas station or purchased groceries at Walgreen’s or Hy-Vee, chances are, you’ve seen those colorful paper sneakers posted all over the walls and windows. These sneakers are part of a fundraising campaign for JDRF, a charitable organization that funds research for Type 1 diabetes (T1D). Their mission? To find a cure for diabetes and its complications through support of research.

“I think the community impact [of JDRF] is very widespread,” says Toni Mortensen, Development Coordinator for the JDRF Greater Iowa Chapter. “The sneaker, an iconic symbol used for our Walk to Cure Diabetes program, is a staple. It’s recognizable.”

Photo cred: www.jdrf.org

Interestingly, although many people have seen–and likely even purchased–a JDRF sneaker of their own at the checkout, some still believe that T1D only affects children. “In fact, we know that 80% of people living with T1D today are adults,” says Toni. “You don’t have to be a little kid, you can be diagnosed when you’re 50!” JDRF is an organization for all ages, at all stages of the disease.

JDRF is about 80% efficient in fundraising dollars going directly to research for T1D. The Greater Iowa Walk to Cure Diabetes is about 97% efficient and the Hope Gala is about 85% efficient. “We’re pretty proud of our efficiency, meaning revenue to research,” says Toni. The Greater Iowa Chapter also features a program called Fund A Cure through the Hope Gala that was a startling 100% efficient–meaning all proceeds went directly to funding research.

“What really motivates me is that there are many people at these events that have a connection to T1D, but many that don’t,” says Toni. “These people latch on to our cause, even though they don’t have someone in their lives with the disease. They just want to help.”

Before VolunteerLocal, JDRF used hard-copy volunteer applications that prospective volunteers would have to fill out and then fax, mail or email back. “I had to input each form into a spreadsheet, then place those volunteers based on our need for each job. I made email lists for each job and sent out schedules and job descriptions,” says Toni. “For the walk this past year, I spent probably six full days organizing volunteers.”

Now, with VolunteerLocal on her side, Toni can spend her time and resources focusing on raising money and awareness for JDRF. “If I want to see how my volunteer database is going, I can just click the link and look at how many have signed up, where we need more–everything.” Automating the Walk to Cure Diabetes and the Hope Gala volunteers through VolunteerLocal has saved JDRF time and money–meaning those dollars can go towards finding a cure. “This has been an amazing transition for us.”


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