This year, we’re celebrating 10 years hosting the National Abortion Access Bowl-a-Thon, the largest grassroots abortion access fundraiser! While we have been holding Bowl-a-Thon as a network-wide event for 10 years, it was originally dreamed up by Our Justice, which has an abortion fund serving people in Minnesota.
We spoke with Megan Peterson, former Development Director at Our Justice, about the beginnings of the Bowl-a-Thon and its early introduction to NNAF as a powerful opportunity to raise money for abortion funds across the network.
When I joined what was then called Pro-Choice Resources, the organization had hosted a Bowl-A-Thon for a number of years but it was entirely done by paper. My first year, I sent letters to all the former Bowl-A-Thon captains in the mail and then people would mail back cards signing up to be a captain. People would show up at the event with their envelopes full of cash and checks and their records. I did that one year and thought, there has to be a better way. We moved to an online fundraising system and a peer-to-peer platform the next year and had a giant increase in our fundraising.
Megan later became the Development Director of NNAF and shared the story of Bowl-a-Thon’s success for Our Justice as a powerful opportunity for collective fundraising across the network. After receiving the blessing from Our Justice Bowl-a-Thon was launched as a network-wide fundraising campaign.
From the beginning Bowl-a-Thon was not just a great fundraiser, it was a great way to introduce energetic, young leadership, and new volunteers to abortion funds.
The Bowl-a-Thon raised $175,000 that first year and has grown by leaps and bounds every year since. This year, our fundraising goal is $2 million! Bowl-a-Thon has boosted the resources and visibility of abortion funds all while being seriously meaningful and tons of fun.
- Whether you want to donate, join a team and fundraise, or start your own team, the first thing you’ll need to do is find your local event.
- Once you find your local event, go to the campaign so you can start or join a fundraising team.
- Share your fundraising page with your friends, family, and social network using #Bowl19.
- Set and reach your fundraising goal by the end of April!