Personality, puns and loads of ‘paw’tential – Guide Dogs leads the way in peer-to-peer event fundraising

the challenge

The team at Guide Dogs South Australia were working to diversify their fundraising income through the introduction of a peer-to-peer event. In 2017, they piloted the introduction of a month-long event they called ‘Lead the Way May’, which encouraged participants to commit to walking their dog every day throughout the month of May. They realised that the concept had potential but that the timing was holding them back, running up against another major peer to peer event for dog lovers held in the same month.

In addition, they wanted to leverage some economies of scale by executing the event successfully at a national level. Together, we needed to take what was working well and make some strategic changes to the event that would set it up for long term growth.

how we tackled it

We worked closely with the National Events Manager to provide strategic support so the event could be successfully re-positioned. Initially this meant reviewing the overall event concept, timing, key messaging and creative. In 2018 the event was re-launched as PAWGUST and (no points for guessing!) the event was moved to August.

FED also provided strategic recommendations on the event website and fundraising platform ensuring this was as user-friendly as possible, enabling participants to fundraise effectively. We advised on acquisition budgets and the allocation to various media. We also provided a level of ongoing campaign support across the event—informing acquisition, retention and activation tactics and creative execution. Introductions to key partners (such as telemarketing agencies and videographers) were facilitated, and these played a big part in making the event a success.

the result

PAWGUST was launched nationally in 2018 and continues to surpass all expectations. By the end of 2019, the event was grossing over $1M nationally and with over 11,000 participants, which is incredible growth in such a short period of time. The event is now a key part of the fundraising program for Guide Dogs nationally and firmly embedded in their portfolio as a signature event.

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