News & Events March 9, 2021

Medical research institute reaps benefits of bringing $4m fundraising ride for cancer in-house

Stepping away from an offshore company that provided key elements of a $4m, two-day, 200km charity ride caused board members at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research to take a sharp intake of breath.

However, their decision has paid off with the Perkins team last week winning the FIA National Awards for Excellence in the Best Supporter Engagement category for transforming the MACA Cancer 200 experience for riders.

Project lead and Perkins Chief Development Officer, Paige Gibbs said “We wanted our riders to feel like they were part of a large family, a club with a real connection to the cause of supporting cancer researchers.

“We knew from surveys that many participants were not liking the heavy-handed, telemarketing-based approach being used to encourage them to fund raise and it did not align with the Perkins brand.

“Our objectives included improving the supporter experience in the months leading up to the event and creating a weekend with ‘cheers, beers and tears’, she said.

However, bringing the multi-million-dollar fundraising event in-house carried some significant risks. The well-known event name had to be abandoned as did all the branding and marketing material, including the website, and a range of reusable assets.

Harry Perkins Institute Director Professor Peter Leedman said it was not an easy decision to bring the event in house especially as medical research in Australia relies on grants for survival but on average only one in six grant applications nationally are successful.

“Fundraising provides critical support for our research work. By changing the name and most elements of the annual ride, we risked losing the loyal cycling enthusiasts who raise funds for us each year, but that certainly has not occurred. Participants are extremely enthusiastic about the changes and the fact that all funds come to the Perkins” he said.

Already nearly 600 riders have signed up for this year’s MACA Cancer 200 scheduled for 16-17 October 2021.