“Dirty Girl Mud Run Rakes in $560k in Scranton!” Or, “The 2.5%”

Posted on May 8, 2012 by Scott Sanfilippo No Comments

Free enterprise or taking advantage of a cause?

I’m trying to answer that question after hearing about the Dirty Girl Mud Run in Scranton last weekend. The Mud Run is a 5K run for women of “all ages and athletic abilities” wrapped in pink with the promise of supporting the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

8,000 women plopped down $70 to register for the event resulting in a $560,000.00 take. Remove the costs to promote and put on the event and that’s a nice chunk of change for breast cancer research, right?

Wrong.

The Dirty Girl people don’t hide the fact that only 2.5% of the registration fee goes to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. On the front page of their website they say “a portion of all registration fees is donated” but dig a little deeper in the site and you will see that they are “proud to donate at least 2.5% of all registration fees.”

Proud of at least 2.5%?

The Scranton event raked in $560k, but the charity can only count on $14k. Granted there are fixed costs to put on the event itself, but they should be offset by money from national sponsors, merchandise sales, registration fees and the cost savings that come into play by using volunteers the day of the event.

As a for-profit entity can they be criticized for their capitalism?

That’s where my dilemma arises.

The 8,000 women gathered last weekend in a spirit of community to run in the mud either as a cancer survivor, a family member of someone who died of cancer or a friend. They all had a great bonding experience and from what I’ve seen, would do it again.

I can’t chide the Dirty Girl folks for dreaming up such an event and turning it into a money making opportunity. That’s what entrepreneurship is all about. But when you wrap yourself around a cause and use that as your primary motivator to get people to fork over their money, I would expect much stronger financial support than 2.5%.

What do you think?  (Want the condensed version of what hundreds of people, including those who attended the event, have to say?  Read the follow-up post.)

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