Komen Trying Promotions To Boost Participation

In an effort to boost its signature 3-Day events, Susan G. Komen For the Cure is offering to cover travel expenses to the nearest 3-Day for a limited number of first-time participants and alumni who have missed the past two years.

For those who qualify, Komen will provide one round-trip airfare between the major airport closest to their home and the major airport closest to the 3-Day location. Travel must be coordinated through Komen’s 3-Day travel agent. The offer also is not valid for other forms of transportation, such as a bus or car mileage, or hotels.

The “Bring Your Besties” promotion offers to cover the travel costs for new walkers who are traveling to the 3-Day to join a 3-Day alum. Another promotion offers free travel to alumni who have been unable to participate since events were reduced in 2014. The reunion travel ticket offer to the 150th walk, in Michigan, also includes a hotel stay and shuttles to the opening and closing ceremonies.

Komen consistently heard from former participants in cities where it was eliminated that they miss the “life-changing” experience, according to spokeswoman Andrea Rader. “People involved really missed it. This removes one of the barriers for them,” she said but declined to say how many participants would be covered or the estimated cost.

“We’re not really putting out estimates on this as it’s an inaugural program. It’s a matter of shifting some dollars from an advertising budget to this program so we’ll be evaluating the interest and response,” Rader said.

The promotions are “unlike anything I’ve seen before,” David Hessekiel, president of the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum, said. “For years it has been the policy of [Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s] Team In Training to pay travel costs for participants who commit to raising a certain amount of money,” he said. There are some groups that pay for some or all travel expenses for programs with high fundraising requirements, he added.

The 3-Day is the national office’s signature event, in which participants walk 60 miles over three days and commit to raising at least $2,300. The Race For The Cure Series is sponsored by Komen’s 114 affiliates, hosting a series of 5K and 1-mile walk/runs in 138 cities. Participation and gross revenue has been on a steady decline for the 3-Day series, even before the national office decided to cut the number from 14 to seven events in 2014.

There were 8,000 participants in the 3-Day last year, down from more than 13,000 in 2014 and less than half of the 18,000 in 2012, according to the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum. The 2015 series grossed $20 million, down from $26 million the previous year. When there were 14 events in the series, the 3-Day raised $42 million in 2013, $57 million in 2012 and $84 million in 2011.

This year’s 3-Day events will be:

  • Aug. 5-7, Michigan
  • Aug. 19-21, Twin Cities
  • Sept. 16-18, Seattle
  • Oct. 7-9, Atlanta
  • Oct. 14-16, Philadelphia
  • Nov. 4-6, Dallas/Fort Worth
  • Nov. 18-20, San Diego

Races in Arizona, Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, San Francisco, Tampa Bay, and Washington, D.C., were eliminated in 2014.