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Rustic Pathways – Best Marketing Campaign 2019

Oct 22, 2019

Rustic Pathways has been the leader in global teen adventure travel and community service programmes since 1983. Through creating culturally-immersive travel programmes for students, customisable teacher-led trips for school groups and gap year semesters for recent high school graduates, Rustic Pathways empowers students through innovative and responsible travel experiences to positively impact lives and communities around the world.

For the last seven years, Rustic Pathways has been sending students to the Prek Toal Floating Village, Northern Cambodia, to experience a culture and way of life very different to their own. As the relationship with the local community strengthened, Rustic Pathways has worked closely with members of the community to identify and support their key needs.

Early on in their relationship, it was evident that the Prek Toal primary school was in serious need of repair – it was sinking. Every day, teachers and children pumped water out of the school to keep it afloat. It was clear that the only solution was to build a new structure on stilts to sit high above the water, even in rainy season. The cost for such an undertaking was not small: the community would need USD 120,000. Rustic Pathways started fundraising, but after three years had only raised half of the required amount – and the children could not wait another three to have a safe school environment.

This is where Rustic Pathways saw an opportunity: to piggy-back on the idea of ‘Giving Tuesday’ and create their own ‘Giving Week’ marketing campaign, with the goal of raising the remaining USD 60,000 in just one week.

Quite a challenge, but one to which employees, Student Impact Ambassadors, the Prek Toal community and Rustic Pathway’s global community rose. An email and social-centric five-day marketing campaign was launched, engaging with as many audiences as possible across varying communication channels. Every milestone was celebrated digitally and every donor, big or small, personally thanked, demonstrating Rustic Pathways’ acknowledgement of how coming together can make an impact and help communities achieve their goals.

The outcome? USD 66,203 raised within five days and the new Perk Toal primary school will open its doors in November 2019.

¨When [our community] see a campaign with this type of energy, effort, and passion, they know they have chosen a travel company that delivers on its mission, vision, and values, year after year¨, commented Liz Cortese, Marketing Manager, Rustic Pathways.