Leveraging Limited Resources and Social Media in a Fun, Interactive Way Makes for a Winning Campaign!

Many nonprofits must accomplish so much with limited resources. Camp Able of Buffalo Gap, Texas undoubtedly embodies that, while serving their small rural community with tremendous heart and creativity.

This nonprofit organization stood out as having the most creative and sustainable, revenue-generating initiative and therefore was chosen as Eide Bailly’s 2022 Resourcefullness Award winner where they received a $50,000 prize. Their award-winning initiative, a road rally called the “Buffalo Run Adventure Challenge” has proven to be fun, interactive and profitable!

In just the first two years, this unique event raised nearly 20% of the organization’s revenue for the full year, while generating community interest and engagement in its programs, as well as broader interest in participating in future Buffalo Run events.

Award-Winning Initiative: Buffalo Run Adventure Challenge

Camp Able puts on a unique road rally each year called the “Buffalo Run Adventure Challenge” modeled after the “El Dorado Challenge” from the iconic 1960s movie, “Herbie the Lovebug.” Established in 2021, Buffalo Run Adventure Challenge is a long-distance road rally with teams racing to an American landmark and back to Buffalo Gap, Texas in cars they have purchased for no more than $500, with an additional $500 cap on improvements.

Throughout the journey, teams are tasked with wacky challenges that are documented and shared on social media. In addition to building awareness through social media posts and traditional media coverage, participants raise funds through sponsorships and personal fundraising efforts with the proceeds benefiting Camp Able.

The Buffalo Run Adventure Challenge is truly a unique fundraising event that draws interest from individuals who would not have typically been a target audience for Camp Able through other channels, such as music or food events. The media has described the event as “wacky” and all those who have supported the event or actively participated point to the immense fun and good-natured competition inherent in the Buffalo Run.

Cody Cox, Project Director
Creator of the Buffalo Run Adventure Challenge

Creative | Sustainable | Revenue-Generating

Goals for the Buffalo Run Adventure Challenge include:

  • Raise funds for Camp Able’s capital campaign to build a new therapeutic riding complex
  • Raise awareness about Camp Able’s mission
  • Create a unique and engaging fundraising event that could capture attention and build enthusiasm in the community

Camp Able is run by a small staff of volunteers. In the past, implementing fundraising events was difficult to add to an already full workload. Community members who were dedicated to Camp Able’s mission developed the Buffalo Run Adventure Challenge which changed the organization’s fundraising initiatives.

The goal for the inaugural 2021 event was estimated at $10,000. However, as promotion through social and media coverage occurred, interest picked up and 20 teams took off for the Grand Canyon, circling back to base in Buffalo Gap, Texas. The final result was a donation revenue of $105,170.

In 2022, the goal for the second Buffalo Run was to raise as much as in 2021. Yet, as 30 teams drove to Four Corners and back for the rally, over $216,000 was raised.

With each rally, Camp Able found not only their donation dollars increasing, but also their social media engagement, with help from QR codes found on each car. These QR codes allowed bystanders to not only follow along with the racers, having full access to view the wacky participant challenges (e.g., cleaning public bathrooms, burying roadkill, etc.) but also to learn more about the organization and what they were racing for. Engagement was so high, Camp Able noticed their followers were staying up all night on the day of the event to watch the progress of the teams and their posts when completing the extra challenges.

Camp Able’s creative implementation of the Buffalo Run Adventure Challenge involved:

  • Creating an atmosphere of fun and good-natured competition through an unusual fundraising idea
  • Developing community engagement by focusing participants' efforts on achieving a common goal to help Camp Able
  • Using a combination of social media and traditional media to inform people about the event and keep enthusiasm high all the way through the actual completion
  • Hosting a celebratory party to recognize all the participating teams and donors the day after teams return home safely

The Buffalo Run Adventure Challenge has surpassed everyone’s wildest expectations, not only financially, but in the community engagement and organizational awareness it has achieved. More people in the community are aware of Camp Able and its mission, but also about the impact therapeutic riding can have on people with special needs, as well as the substantial need for animal rescue organizations in the community.

Lori Weiman, Board Chair & Volunteer
Communications Director and Grant Writer

With the success of this campaign initiative and the funds raised, Camp Able has been able to move faster toward its vision for a new therapeutic riding complex, including the implementation of new construction and repairs.

Key Insights for Nonprofits

When developing sustainable, revenue-generating campaigns for your nonprofit, consider implementing Camp Able’s innovative tactics:

  • Infuse fun interactive elements to boost engagement
  • Use a combination of traditional media and social media to maximize your reach and impact
  • Employ multifaceted approach to help several needs (horses and people)
  • Engage with the larger community to increase involvement and passion for the cause

We appreciate the light Eide Bailly shines on nonprofits like Camp Able. This award money will help immensely covering operational expenses in support of our mission to serve people with special needs and provide sanctuary to equines.

Cody Cox, Project Director
Creator of the Buffalo Run Adventure Challenge

camp able

About Camp Able

Camp Able’s mission is to cultivate healthy, independent living for people with special needs through skills-based training and equine therapy, with a special focus on using horses that have been given sanctuary from difficult circumstances. 

Has your nonprofit developed new innovative campaign initiatives? Be sure to enter our 2023 Resourcefullness Awards. The application process is set to open July 2023 and all U.S. states will be eligible to apply. The firm will award a $50,000 prize to one 501(c)(3) organization.

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