Meet the woman dressing up as a hot dog to save the planet
21 November 2020 at 12:00 pm
The quirky fundraising idea has attracted over $2,000 in donations for Climate for Change
Most of us have fundraised for a charity at some point in our lives. But most of us have never worn a hot dog suit for 11 days straight to raise money for climate action.
When first-time fundraiser Melissa Donnan signed up for Climate for Change’s annual crowdfunding event, she knew she had to pull out all the stops.
“I just couldn’t imagine that people would ever give me money, so I knew I needed to come up with a challenge,” Donnan told Pro Bono News.
“I got the hot dog suit for Christmas one year and have had some really good times in it wearing it to festivals, so I thought I could wear it to raise some money.”
The challenge started small. For every $100 raised, Donnan committed to wearing the hot dog suit for a full day, going about daily activities such as cooking, cleaning, getting coffee with friends, going for walks, and doing a daily workout.
But she quickly realised she was setting her sights a little low.
“My goal was originally $300… but I’ve had to level up a few times,” she said.
As the fundraiser attracted more and more donations, she set new challenges such as going on a date (dressed as a hot dog) with a stranger if she hit $1,000 – a target she’s now soared past.
“When I hit that target, I was like, holy God,” she said.
“But it was actually a lot of fun! He was really chill about it and he loved the hot dog suit.”
The fundraiser has now surpassed a second target of $2,000, so Donnan is prepping to pound the pavement in a 10km run in costume.
“It’s actually going to be a really hot day, so hopefully I don’t drop dead,” she said.
Starting a conversation for change
While the costume has attracted money and funny looks from strangers, Donnan said she hoped the money would do more than raise a few laughs on social media.
All money raised goes towards Climate for Change, a grassroots organisation dedicated to create the social climate in Australia for effective action on climate change.
One of the ways the organisation does this is via a program called “Climate Conversations”.
“They raise awareness through conversations in a dinner party setting with friends,” she said.
“So you basically have a really nice night with your mates and a person from the organisation will then put on a documentary and facilitate a discussion around climate change and what you can do to help.”
The organisation’s annual crowdfunding campaign is aiming to raise at least $190,000 this year in order to scale their Climate Conversations and achieve a goal of empowering 40,000 people to act on climate.
As for the hot dog suit, Donnan said she doesn’t think this particular fundraiser will be the only time it’s worn for positive change.
“I think I’m definitely going to have to wear the hot dog suit at climate change rallies from now on,” she said.