Denver Zoo: Capital Campaign

In 2019, the Denver Zoological Foundation began the silent phase of a multi-year comprehensive fundraising campaign, Into the Great Wild Open, to support exceptional animal care, expansion of its wildlife conservation and educational programs at home and around the world, and new and improved animal habitats and facilities on its 84-acre campus. 

Having raised $50M of its $75M goal through donor and public bond support, Denver Zoo engaged Strat Labs in July 2023 as its strategic partner to create a successful marketing campaign for the public launch of Into the Great Wild Open.

Solution Proposed

To increase awareness of Denver Zoo’s role in the community as a leading advocate for accessibility to wildlife and conservation, Strat Labs developed a strategic launch strategy around the theme of Denver Zoo remaining “WILD–Welcoming, Interactive, Long-Lasting, and Devoted” for future generations.

Beginning with a campaign brand development that used eye-catching graphics highlighting some of the Zoo’s animal ambassadors, project deliverables included a new campaign website, print collateral and donor support materials, an award-winning campaign launch video, and compelling social media posts. In addition, Strat Labs developed innovative pitch angles focused on the outstanding costs of operating a Zoo as a business as well as its accessibility initiatives to secure media coverage and increase campaign visibility. Lastly, in order to galvanize the greater Denver community, Strat Labs created a unique “Mad Libs” themed direct mail piece to reach targeted zip codes–the largest general fundraising appeal the Zoo has done in years. 

The goal of each initiative was simple: to inspire audiences and the greater public to “support the WILD future of the Denver Zoo for future generations” by making a gift to the Into the Great Wild Open campaign.

Problem Solved

With Strat Labs’ support, the public launch of the campaign quickly gained momentum:
$10M increase in fundraising within 6 months, reaching nearly 80% of its $75M goal
2,400+ views on the campaign landing page within 4 months
Bronze Medal Award recipient in the Sustainability, Environment, and Climate Category by The Anthem Awards, brought to you by The Webby Awards.
Secured a 9News interview in Dec 2023 with Bert Vescolani, CEO and President of Denver Zoo, about the costs of maintaining animal care when temperatures drop and how fundraising efforts support the 3,000 animals that call Denver Zoo home.
Secured a tour and interview in Feb 2024 with the Colorado Sun about the need for fundraising efforts at Denver Zoo.
Secured two podcast interviews for Brian Aucone, SVP of Life Sciences at Denver Zoo, with The Wild Enrichment Podcast and the Rossifari Podcast, to talk about his work at Denver Zoo and his role as a devoted donor in supporting its mission.