Pan-Mass Challenge: A Case Study In Establishing A Signature Event

This past August was my 4th opportunity to ride in the Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC), a 2-day bike ride across Massachusetts ending in Provincetown, to raise money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

The PMC raises more money for charity than any other single athletic fundraising event in the country. I’ve been reflecting on what they do right from a PR perspective, and there is a long list.
Goal-Driven: The PMC raised $45 million in 2015 with a goal of $46 million in 2016. Visit www.pmc.org and check out the Vimeo with PMC founder Billy Starr – powerful!

Get An Early Commitment: Those of us who are repeat riders are signing on the dotted line in January for an August ride, giving us ample time to train & fundraise. We put our credit cards down & then pray we can do the hard work ahead. One PMC t-shirt says it all: COMMIT – You’ll Figure It Out!

Establish A Clear Mission: The PMC’s mission is “Our hope is to provide Dana-Farber with the necessary resources to discover cures for all cancers”. Tough not to be for that one.

Design Healthy Competition. The fundraising can be overwhelming, but the PMC is a well-oiled machine that provides plenty of helpful tips, templates and systems to help you succeed. The “heavy hitter” and “top 10%” levels urge those with a competitive spirit to go above the required minimums.

Create Ambassadors. Last year the PMC attracted 6000 riders and 4000 volunteers – it takes everyone to pull off an event of this magnitude, from the folks pouring Gatorade at rest stops to those loading luggage bound for specific locations. Participation is infectious – all of us that have ever experienced a PMC will tell you to join the movement! There is nothing like seeing the crowd lining the streets with cowbells and signs, thanking
you for what you are doing, to pump you up as you muscle through the final miles.

Have A Passionate Champion Leading The Charge. Billy Starr founded the PMC in 1980, and he is out there creating events around check presentations, raising awareness through speaking engagements and touting accomplishments to keep everyone motivated.

For more information about the PMC, visit www.pmc.org – and consider becoming a sponsor, a rider, a volunteer!

Robin/rschell@jjwpr.com

 

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