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05.04.18

Case Study: The Pan-Mass Challenge Winter Cycle

Dave Knies

“Better fundraising. Better awareness. Better messaging...We tripled our results financially at the Winter Cycle. Breakaway played a real part in helping us shape that day.” 

- Billy Starr / Founder & Executive Director, Pan-Mass Challenge

Pan-Mass Challenge + Breakaway 042918 from Breakaway on Vimeo.

THE SITUATION

The Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) is an annual bike-a-thon that raises more money for charity than any other single event in the country. 100% of every dollar raised is donated to Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. In 2017, the PMC raised a record $51m, and since its inception in 1980, nearly $600 million.

For two years, the PMC had run an indoor cycling event - called The Resolution - as a prelude to August’s Pan-Mass Challenge and its ambitious annual fundraising goal. The goal of The Resolution was the same as the main PMC ride – bring people together, get them on bikes, and raise money for Dana-Farber. 

“It was a lovely little event. How do we make it grow?" - Billy Starr

The PMC team realized that there was great potential for The Resolution to have both broader impact and reach, and asked Breakaway to reinvent it. 

 

THE SOLUTION

"Breakaway helped us get our minds around what our alternatives were," - Billy Starr

We began our Brand + Growth Strategy work by reimagining the potential impact of a winter PMC event and by creating a framework that could support the PMC team’s aggressive vision. 

We asked a simple question - "If the PMC is the world’s largest single athletic fundraising event, why couldn’t the winter event become the world’s largest indoor cycling fundraiser?" 

The PMC + Breakaway team’s work was about constantly questioning, putting out new ideas and alternatives, and asking ‘Is this going to help achieve our goals?’

We focused on rebranding and relocating the event in Year One. The new PMC Winter Cycle brand was coupled with the relocation of the event to Boston’s Fenway Park, making it more of “a happening” - held in an iconic venue, with a great post-ride party. 

 

THE OUTCOME

Year One of the the PMC Winter Cycle was a huge success. 

“Better fundraising. Better awareness. Better messaging...We tripled our results financially at the Winter Cycle. Breakaway played a real part in helping us shape that day.” - Billy Starr.  

“To have people inside our organization giving us great advice on how we can continue to grow and strive to our mission is invaluable.” - Bill Alfano, Director of Marketing & Sponsorship, PMC. 

We look forward to building on this foundation and helping the PMC continue to reach new levels in Year Two and beyond as part of a long and mutually-successful partnership.