Stay True to Your Mission
For the past month-plus, I've been working on gathering information for our four-part case studies series this year, the first of which hits in March, and a multichannel fundraising case study project I'm working on for FundRaising Success' sister brand DirectMarketingIQ.com.
One fundraiser I've spoken to is the U.K.-based Gorilla Organization's Sam Davies. Davies is the fundraising and events coordinator at the gorilla preservation nonprofit, and each year the organization's Great Gorilla Run — an event that involves participants running 7 kilometers while donning a gorilla suits — brings in hundreds of thousands of dollars (or should I say pounds) to help save endangered gorillas and garners untold awareness to the cause.
To participate, runners are required to pay a registration fee of 80 pounds, which includes the gorilla suit, and are on the hook to raise a minimum of 400 pounds in pledges. Over the years, Davies and his crew have been told they would get more runners if they lowered the amount participants must raise. Here's Davies' response to that:
"In the past there's been a bit of pressure for us to change the way we do the run. We've had people coming to us saying, 'Why not reduce the sponsorship you ask for? You'll get more runners if you reduce the cost of the run and you'll get more runners if you reduce the pledge sponsorship amount,'" he says. "But the thing is, we've had problems with people in the past who received free placement and then didn't raise any money … If that was replicated across the board, not only would we not make as much money for the project — which is the whole reason for it — we'd actually end up losing money from it.
"That would be devastating and probably the end for an event like this. We've kept it quite small for a reason. It's never going to be the London Marathon. But it's a group of fundraisers who are very dedicated to the cause."
Essentially, the Gorilla Organization sticks to its guns for what's best to achieve its mission. It stays true to its mission, and it's resulted in an annual fundraiser that has brought in more than 1.3 million pounds from more than 2,500 participants over the years. And best of all, the donors and supporters are passionate stewards of the cause. All because Davies and his staff stay true to the Gorilla Organization's mission.