Featured Week of December 2, 2013
Name: Geraldine Carter
Title: Co-Founder and Director, Climate Ride
Location: Missoula, MT
Number of years as a fundraiser: 12
Number of years at current organization: 7
What inspired you to do this work?
I saw other leaders stepping boldly forward and creating huge events with powerful impacts. My biggest personal concern is climate change and I noticed that no one was doing any fundraising events for sustainability, the environment and bike advocacy.
What has happened recently that pumped you up?
We recently launched a new event, Climate Hike, scheduled for August 2014 and it sold out within a month. It was so popular that we are thinking about offering a second week of Climate Hike. Glacier National Park, where the event will take place is one of our nation’s gems – and the Park will lose its glaciers in the next 15 years due to climate change. Participants understand the link between a warming planet and the loss of our national and natural treasures. They see our Climate Hike as the perfect opportunity to raise awareness for this important issue. Among the 33 participants are many repeat Climate Ride riders who are bringing friends new to our organization.
Tell us of a recent challenge that you’ve faced?
From an organizational perspective, we are not like other peer-to-peer fundraising nonprofits that support one single organization. We have 60 beneficiary organizations for which we raise money through our rides, hikes, and endurance events. Because we’re missing a focal point – like an American Lung Association for example – because there aren’t one or two organizations that singularly represent climate change or sustainability, the message can quickly get diluted. So we spent time determining what we’re always about, and that’s ‘Your actions matter. Make our future sustainable.’
What is next for you as a P2P fundraiser?
I have always wanted to run an ultra-marathon. I would do it as an ‘Independent Climate Challenge’ – doing my own event and raise money for sustainability-focused organizations. I’m eyeing ‘The Rut’, a 50K trail run in Big Sky, Montana, with 8000+ feet of elevation gain.
What advice would you give to someone just starting a career in athletic event fundraising?
There’s an amazing world of good you can do in this space. Determine what’s most important to you, set lofty goals, and then break those into stepping stones to mark your route. Celebrate your successes, and never fear ‘failure’- it’s part of the process. The world needs courageous people to solve our hardest problems, so go for it!