By David Hessekiel
P2P Professional Forum Founder and CEO
The Dolphins Cycling Challenge has been on my radar screen since its founding down in Miami in 2010, but for some reason I never connected with their leadership team until now.
Wow have they been busy!
Launched as the signature fundraising event of the Miami Dolphins Foundation, the program has grown from turning over a first year contribution of $533,000 to the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center to donating $4.65 million this year.
(Like the Pan-Mass Challenge, which DCC CEO Michael Mandich says the DCC has learned a great deal from, this program uses a 100% of proceeds model under which registration fees and sponsorships cover operating costs so all individual contributions are passed along to the beneficiary organization.)
Not content to rest on its laurels, the DCC team (7 full-time staff) has a goal of raising $10 million a year by 2020. To do that, it is making some significant changes to things as varied as its brand and its event offerings.
As of Friday, DCC stands for the Dolphins CANCER Challenge. That reflects the group’s decision to offer a broader array of fundraising opportunities to attract more people to get involved in the highly competitive Miami marketplace.
That experiment began in earnest this year when a 5K run/walk was added to the February ride weekend. The move was a hit on a number of counts — 450 people committed to raising a minimum of $250 each and many of them were women, a big change from the male-dominated cycling event.
This November the DCC will hold its first two family-oriented events — kids rides in Miami and Fort Lauderdale accompanied by all sorts of family friendly entertainment ranging from a petting zoo for the kiddies to big screen simulcasts of the concurrent Dolphins away game.
Previously the kids ride was held at the same time as the adult ride — and that was not a good move, according to Communications & Corporate Team Director Jennifer DeWitt. It was just too difficult to give the kids ride the attention it needed during that busy weekend. The DCC sees the new family events as both fundraisers and friend raisers — “We’re hoping that some of the parents involved in the family events will decide to sign up for the ride,” DeWitt said.
Another big change. On February 20, 2016, the cycling event will end with a big concert. Admission will be free to fundraisers, but others who are not up the run or ride can support Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center by purchasing tickets.
Mandich hopes that members of his team will be able to join the peer-to-peer fundraising community at our annual conference in Orlando four days later — if they are not too exhausted. “We’ve learned so much from the Pan Mass Challenge and Pelotonia and we’re happy to share what we’ve learned with our programs,” he said.