Study: Scenic Hudson
Scenic Hudson's (NY) Great River Sweep
Events that your organization holds on a regular basis provide excellent opportunities to combine programmatic and fundraising efforts. This example, contributed by Scenic Hudson, demonstrates how it has reduced riverside trash while increasing its corporate and individual donations.
In 1998, Scenic Hudson created the Great River Sweep, an all-volunteer cleanup of Hudson River shorelines, tributaries, and public places, in response to the plea of a child concerned about the trash floating in the Hudson River. Now this event is held annually in April in coordination with Earth Day. The project is considered to be "gateway environmentalism," because it has broad appeal to communities and donors and serves to introduce the public to Scenic Hudson's mission and brand.
To empower grass-roots change, Scenic Hudson recruits and supports hundreds of community leaders and thousands of citizens each year to organize and participate in cleanups. Each cleanup is unique, yet also branded to reflect Scenic Hudson's values. From 1998-2005, it united more than 30,000 people from Manhattan to the Adirondacks to remove 400 tons of riverside trash and won multiple awards, including a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency "Environmental Quality Award."
The Great River Sweep supports the organization's fundraising goals through recruiting corporate sponsors to financially underwrite the event. Sponsors range from large corporations to regional businesses; they enjoy association with the group's environmental mission through inclusion of their logo and name on promotional materials and visibility through media outreach. As a regional project, some sponsors gain visibility beyond the reach of their typical advertising efforts. Many sponsors also encourage their employees to volunteer with the Sweep because of its community relations benefits.
While corporate sponsorships have been the financial mainstay of the Great River Sweep, Scenic Hudson initially found it more challenging to use this event to gain visibility and increase individual donations to the organization. Local ownership of the event - the most important aspect of its grass-roots effectiveness -overshadowed the visibility of Scenic Hudson and made it difficult for it collect contact information from participants, who were potential donors. The event organizers worked hard to reestablish synergy between community and marketing goals. They employed internet based software for pre-event registration, distributed hats and t-shirts with the Scenic Hudson logo to participants, and pursued in-kind donations of marketing opportunities. Now in addition to reducing trash on the Hudson River, the event helps Scenic Hudson recruit new members, build credibility for its advocacy mission, and increase donations to its individual giving program.
For further information, contact:
One Civic Center Plaza
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Scenic Hudson Web site (www.scenichudson.org)
E-mail Scenic Hudson (email@example.com)