From Mayors to Mascots: How to #Win Your Fundraiser

Now here’s something you don’t see every day…

 

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The Phillie Phanatic, 418 feet above Center City, rappels for Philadelphia Outward Bound School. Credit: Emilie Rejician

At D+P, we are incredibly proud of the media relations and brand building work we do with our rock star clients.

One highly visible, recent project was the Philadelphia Outward Bound School’s annual Building Adventure, high-adrenaline fundraiser, demanding a 31-story rappel down Brandywine Realty Trust’s One Logan Square building in Center City. Launched four years ago with D+P’s guidance, Building Adventure raised over $225,000 this year to help support Philadelphia Outward Bound’s mission to change lives through challenge and discovery among Philly’s public and charter school students as well as veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Notable rappellers this year included Mayor Michael Nutter (a four-year veteran of the rappel), Senator Vince Hughes, the Phillie Phanatic and Franklin, the 76ers mascot.

While the success of this fundraiser is truly phenomenal, it is also worth taking a look at why it has consistently netted such tremendous financial and media support. The short answer is that it follows some simple- to-articulate but often hard-to-execute guidelines. We calls these D+P’s Keys to Success.

  1. Be First – When Building Adventure debuted in 2012, it was the first fundraiser of its kind in the Philadelphia region. Four years later, it remains the only significant adventure fundraiser in the city – and it’s still catching people’s attention.
  2. Take Ownership – Philadelphia Outward Bound School’s brand is all about conquering your fears. It is a concept that they own and one that Building Adventure brings vividly to life. Rather than sponsoring a 5K run or gala, this is a heart-pounding, 31-story rappel that mirrors the non-profit’s youth development work. Check!
  3. Engage Supporters – Fundraisers for Philadelphia Outward Bound School were encouraged to spread the word about the rappel and invite their friends and families to cheer them on at the event. The 100+ participants and onlookers bond through a shared, unique experience of challenging themselves and overcoming obstacles. These supporters are not only engaged that day but for years to come.
  4. Influence the Influencers – By inviting media, government officials, business leaders and team mascots to participate in Building Adventure, Philadelphia Outward Bound School opened the eyes of the city’s movers and shakers, bringing more exposure and more interested participants and supporters to the organization
  5. Keep an Ear to the Ground – In this case, maybe its keep your eyes on the sky! From mascots to mayors, the non-profit continues to find ways to make their annual, signature fundraiser an exciting connection to the real work it does all year long. Feedback from participants is key to making it new every year.

Next time your organization is thinking about doing something new and bold, keep these Keys to Success in mind. They are a great way to position your brand for break-through visibility.

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