This year DEBRA Australia launched a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, PB4EB, encouraging supporters to raise funds by doing their personal best.

PB4EBIn Australia, around 1,000 people live with a disease that leaves them with skin that blisters and peels at the slightest touch. This rare and little known disease is called Epidermolysis Bullosa.

With just three staff members and some devoted volunteers, DEBRA Australia works to help the children and adults affected by this excruciating disease.

This year they launched the fundraising campaign PB4EB. DEBRA’s Fundraising and Marketing Manager Bianca Ciccia spoke to F&P about the event.

What was the central proposition of the campaign?

Together WE can MAKE a difference. Join the epic challenge of PB4EB where you set your challenge in the month of May and spread the word to raise much needed funds for people living in Australia with Epidermolysis Bullosa ‘the worst disease you’ve never heard of’.

You can run, jump, read, shed kilos, give up your favourite treat, by doing your personal best in the month of May you will make a difference to over 1,000 people living in Australia that go through three-hour bleach baths and dressing changes every second day. 

What fundraising methodology was used?

A peer-to-peer fundraising campaign to engage with DEBRA supporters and the wider community to step up and challenge themselves and make a difference. We wanted the campaign to be all encompassing so everyone could participate instead of it only being a specific task like walking, running, reading etc. The idea is that even if you are not an able person you could join in with your own challenge.

There were a number of facets to the campaign:

  • Individuals to sign up with their own challenge.
  • Schools to sign up and ask the kids to do a challenge or simply raise money. One school held a ‘show us your seams day’ where the kids wore their clothes inside out to represent what EB kids go through.
  • A fitness challenge whereby four competitor gyms came together for charity to run an hour fitness session for their members. Their members paid a fee to participate in the gym session.
  • We also had a PR campaign running 18 stories nationally over this time where people could sign-up or donate.

What was the timing if the campaign?

The campaign took place throughout May. We advertised and asked for people to sign up six weeks beforehand.

What was fundraising target?

For the first year of the campaign we wanted to raise $10,000.

How much did PB4EB actually raise?


How was the message spread about the campaign?

We had a series of advertisements on social media to help get people to join up. We used our ambassadors with strong imaging and text through social media. For example:

“My family and I are eternally grateful for the invaluable care provided by the EB Nurse Program. Within hours of our son Adam’s birth, EB nurse was at hand to expertly apply suitable dressings to ease the persistent discomfort of his exposed raw skin. Since then our wonderful EB Nurse has taught us how to apply dressings to manage his wound care at home and offer practical advice to help solve the challenges he faces, including assisting other medical teams during Adam’s double eye surgery and educating the staff at Adam’s Day Care about EB. We consider ourselves extremely lucky to have this service available to us as we rest assured that our EB journey is not a lonely one. Thank you for helping families like mine.” Angela – EB Mum

Once they signed up to participate, they asked family and friends through social media, email and text.

The fundraisers got an email for signing up with some tips on how to fundraise. They would then receive several emails reminding them of tips and to support them with their fundraising.

Regular communication and family stories to promote why they are challenging themselves were key tactics to promote fundraising.

What were the key factors for the success of the campaign?

PB4EB was a fresh new campaign that allowed anyone to participate whether they were fit or wanted to give up alcohol for the month of May or set a record for weight lifting. There is something for everyone. It’s all about finding your own challenge and doing your ‘personal best’.

We also had a strong branding and look and feel that engaged people.

What were the challenges and how did you overcome them?

Being a rare disease, we don’t have the presence and people don’t know much about EB. We are always trying to tell our story about the disease and grow our reach with the wider community. But once we tell our story we get strong support.

PB4EBPB4EB Fast Facts and Stats

How many people signed up to the campaign? 40 individuals; 80 to the fitness event; one school; and around 50 people took part in a walk in Melbourne.

What kinds of activities did the fundraisers do? Losing weight; walking every weekend; walking as a group; ‘show us your seams’ day at school; fitness session with others; beating a weightlifting personal best, swimming 20,000 metres, and doing 1550 push-ups.

How many people donated to the campaign? 308 to our online fundraisers ( not including event and school fundraising).

How much did the highest fundraiser raise? One individual raised $2,435.00, a morning tea raised $4,000 and the fitness event raised $2,609.00.

How much did the average fundraiser raise? $400

What was the average gift/donation? $50.00

What are your plans for next year’s campaign?

It’s very important for us to grow as a community and to engage with businesses to help us promote DEBRA and get support from new donors. Being a small charity, we have a small database and we are always asking the same donors to support us. By engaging with businesses, we are then engaging with their database of supporters which will help us grow our reach.

Specifically we’d like to grow the fitness event for PB4EB in a few states, sign up more schools to get involved, and engage a face of the campaign to help influence and gain more awareness.

Bianca Ciccia is the Fundraising and Marketing Manager for DEBRA Australia. Bianca has 10 years’ experience working in not-for-profits. In her last two roles she was engaged as the first fundraiser for the organisation to implement new fundraising initiatives and marketing initiatives to help the organisation grow and cement a stronger income stream and awareness. Bianca loves working in smaller organisations where she can see the difference each fundraising dollar makes to the families they are supporting.



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