RMEF Donors 'Cowboy Up' at the National Finals Rodeo
Exclusive RMEF events, like the behind-the-scenes Habitat Partner tour at the National Rodeo Finals, offer a chance to say thanks to our donors. These events also help increase philanthropic giving.
The crowd roared its approval as a cowboy vaulted off a bucking bull mere moments after the 8-second horn signified a successful ride. Among the masses of cowboy hats, belt buckles and boots was a small but appreciative group of Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation supporters who capped a memorable day at the largest annual event held in Las Vegas—the National Finals Rodeo.
One way the RMEF solidifies relationships and says “thanks” to its supporters for all they do to conserve wildlife and wild places is by offering once-in-a-lifetime experiences for them to cherish, like this one at the NFR. The goal of these stewardship cultivation events, which take place at various venues across the country throughout the year, is to help donors step up their philanthropic giving to assist RMEF’s mission.
For the last three years RMEF has hosted a Las Vegas exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at the NFR for about 30 RMEF donors each December. The “Super Bowl of rodeos”
opened its doors to let these folks walk in the footsteps of the cowboys and cowgirls who compete at the 10-day event en route to claiming world-championships.
Rodeo champions, qualifiers, officials and others told stories, shook hands, signed autographs and assisted with private tours of the Thomas and Mack Center as part of the RMEF invitation-only event. The tour began with a personal introduction by NFR Livestock Superintendent John Barnes as he led attendees among the pens that house the bucking bulls and broncs, steers and calves that play an integral part in the nightly NFR show.
Elk Foundation donors, such as those who took part in the NFR experience, have the opportunity to move up the ranks within RMEF’s philanthropic giving program. For example, the Habitat Partnership Program recognizes those who make a cumulative gift of $2,500 or more and it tracks their giving total going forward. Once Habitat Partners reach the Imperial level of $10,000, they are invited to join the Habitat Council, which was established in 1992. Members of the Habitat Council get a unique seat at the table in RMEF’s conservation efforts, where they can put their heads together and explore new opportunities to help RMEF conserve and protect more wildlife habitat, as well as work together to raise funds for those efforts.
The tours continued into the arena; only a chosen few have had the opportunity to stand where cowboys and cowgirls ride. The trek continued through the media interview area and contestant locker rooms.
Following the NFR facilities tour, participants gathered for an intimate luncheon where RMEF supporters spent one-on-one time with the stars of the NFR who also support the RMEF. The event concluded with the group joining thousands of rodeo fans inside the Thomas and Mack Center for a prime-time NFR performance.
For donors looking to “cowboy up,” stepping up to help RMEF’s mission is a great way to do it.
RMEF Major Gifts Service Specialist