This fall, we had a chance to speak with Sue Dockstader and Carol Aaron from the BCC Rally in Charlotte, NC about their very successful pink bow fundraising campaign, which was developed as an outreach program to supplement the existing BCC Rally week of fundraising events. Their campaign offers custom bows year-round for individuals, businesses, neighborhoods, teams and schools to “pink-up” their surroundings to show support and raise funds for the breast cancer cause.
On behalf of Susan G. Komen, BCC Rally accepts minimal donations for the bows to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer services and research. The Pink Bow Campaign relies on volunteers who are passionate about this cause to offer bows to their contacts so they too can join the fight against breast cancer. This year, the BCC Rally Team raised an impressive $199,000 from sponsorship support, special events and the Pink Bow Campaign to support Susan G. Komen and breast cancer awareness. Here is what Sue and Carol had to tell us about their program.
Rally: Your team here at Ballantyne does such an amazing job with fundraising for breast cancer awareness by selling pink bows. Can you tell us about your program?
Carol Aaron and Sue Dockstader: BCC Rally started in 2004 and this is our seventh year of running our Pink Bow Campaign outreach program. Someone in our neighborhood had the idea of tying pink bows on mailboxes during October both as a fundraiser and as an awareness campaign. The campaign generated almost $500.00. I thought it would be a great way for me to become more involved with BCC Rally and offered to chair the newly coined “Pink Bow Campaign”. In 2008, with the help of a few volunteers, we targeted all of Ballantyne Country Club and we raised over $5,000. By this time I realized the potential of this simple idea and jumped at the chance to expand to a nearby neighborhood when a friend’s daughter asked to help to gain community service hours for a school project. By involving the new neighborhood and the girl’s school we raised our total for that year to $11,000.
Rally: Wow, that is pretty amazing growth and it came quickly. How did you manage to keep up with the demand?
Carol Aaron and Sue Dockstader: At that point, we were making all the bows by hand, cutting the tulle in my kitchen, it was very labor intensive and we realized that if we wanted this program to grow we needed an easier way to create the bows. I started researching bow design and found a pull bow that looked ideal, the next challenge was to find a manufacturer who could custom make bows, as we wanted it to be a vibrant pink color and include the breast cancer ribbon logo in the design of the fabric.
After much back and forth with samples and design ideas we found a bow that would work. As it is a pull bow, there is no complicated tying involved and so we were able to encourage more neighborhoods to join our campaign. As the bows can be packed flat, we can easily mail bows across the country so this really helped us to encourage communities across North Carolina and beyond to pink up their neighborhoods. At this point the whole idea started to take on a life of it’s own as more and more people saw the bows tied on mailboxes and wanted to know how they could participate. By 2010, we raised $37,000 with our newly designed bows!
Rally: You went from $11,000 to $37,000 in bow sales. That’s incredible. Tell us more about it – you must have been excited!
Carol Aaron and Sue Dockstader: Yes, it was really exciting to see how our fundraising effort was growing. People started seeing the bows and talking about the program and it grew by word of mouth with the help of our volunteers as well as the visual impact the bows made in neighborhoods, offices and schools. So as we approached October, we worked hard to involve more neighborhoods and decided to target additional schools. We encouraged community service based high school clubs to take on breast cancer awareness as a fall project and include our pink bows in their plans. Many of the schools were starting to participate in the NFL Crucial Catch program and hosted “pink out” football games, so that offered us another chance to share our pink bows with a new section of the community.
The next logical step was to layer in even more local businesses, and encourage them to display the pink bows to show their support for Breast Cancer Awareness month. So many people have been touched by this disease and want to do something to help, that offering a fabulous pink bow for a small donation is a very easy and appealing way for people to contribute to the cause. Knowing that their donations help women in need in our own community is another incentive. The next couple of years we worked hard to add more schools, businesses and neighborhoods and our totals raised jumped to $50,000, then to $57,000 .
For information regarding Pink Bow campaigns, email Carol at firstname.lastname@example.org