Managing Director, Strategic Partnerships and Dance Marathon
Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals
Peer-to-Peer Event Mastermind
Since 1991, hundreds of colleges and high schools participate in Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals’ Miracle Network Dance Marathon every year. In 2017 alone, dance marathon fundraisers collectively raised a whopping $38 million dollars for CMN Hospitals and its children hospital affiliates across North America!
Even with the program’s incredible success with peer-to-peer fundraising from event participants, there was a clear, untapped area for growth: corporate partner sponsorship. Only ten percent of total funds raised were coming from sponsorship, and the team wanted to boost that number to at least 25%. CMN Hospital’s Elyse Meardon knew there was a lot of money and opportunity being left on the table, and it was time to do something about it.
For Elyse and her team, the challenge was where to begin. Where would sponsorship package levels start? What types of assets would they offer? Should they pursue multi-year contracts? Should they first target new partners or existing partners? How would they teach local fundraisers to implement local sponsorship strategies and equip them with the tools they need?
That was 2016. Fast forward to today and CMN Hospitals has four multi-year, six-figure national sponsors for its dance marathon program and is the nation’s fastest growing national peer-to-peer fundraising event. After raising $38 million last year, Elyse and her team are on track to raise between $42 and $43 million in 2018, a major increase for the program.
How did they do it? As Elyse put it, “in a word, Catalist”. From Elyse’s perspective, Catalist provided:
Edge in the markeplace. “They know the landscape so well from both the for-profit and nonprofit side, and they know the questions to ask your particular organization,” said Elyse. “Catalist didn’t need to ‘get up to speed.’ They contributed right from the start.”
Preparation for success. “Some of the best feedback Catalist gave us was not about the external pitch or selling,” said Elyse. “But about setting up systems internally to track partner engagement so we could execute at 100 percent.”
Uncovering new opportunities. “The constituent analysis report they gave us was amazing. Catalist analyzed purchasing decisions, behaviors, influencers, even hobbies of our constituents – all to help identify smarter corporate partner or sponsor targets,” said Elyse.
Catalist translates the data so you don’t have to. “Raw data can take a lot of time to digest and analyze,” admitted Elyse. “Fortunately, with Catalist, I had someone who knew how to collect and analyze the data and then could share the insights with me.”