Feature – Cutting a rug for a cause

Posted on Apr 1, 2014 :: Features
Sharon Verbeten
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer
Arketype President Jim Rivett and his team raised a record $200,000 for the American Red Cross in Northeast Wisconsin during the sixth-annual Dancing with Our Stars. Photo courtesy of Arketype

Arketype President Jim Rivett and his team raised a record $200,000 for the American Red Cross in Northeast Wisconsin during the sixth-annual Dancing with Our Stars. Photo courtesy of Arketype

Jim Rivett had never attempted ballroom dance before. But the president of Arketype in Green Bay was willing to take on the challenge – both for something to do in a record-setting frigid winter and, of course, to raise money for a good cause.

In the process, the master marketer and his Arketype team won the Mirror Ball Trophy during the American Red Cross’s sixth-annual Dancing with Our Stars fundraising event recently, raising a team record of more than $200,000.

“I loved the strategy – building a campaign to reach your goal,” says Rivett, who salsaed and quick-stepped his way to the most “votes,” measured in dollars.

“It was fun, but it was a lot of work,” he adds, noting that some days he practiced three to four hours, sometimes late into the night. Rivett was paired with professional dancer Therese Clarke from Sydney, Australia.

“From day one, I wanted to get the Mirror Ball,” says Rivett. The award goes to the top fundraiser; awards were also given to judges’ choice and people’s choice dance teams. Team Arketype’s success broke the record (of $158,000) previously set by Betina Driver last year.

The overall event brought in a record $500,000, which exceeded the Red Cross goal of $325,000, says Shawn Kiser, Red Cross major gifts officer. He adds, “I knew Jim would do well; he did a fantastic job. Those guys know how to run a marketing campaign.”

“It was the Arketype team,” Rivett says. “We were like a well-oiled machine.”

Team Arketype hosted auctions, sent attention-getting direct mail campaigns and hosted a benefit concert at downtown Green Bay’s Meyer Theatre as part of their fundraising efforts. One of the biggest events, Rivett says, was a disco-themed Mirror Ball costume dance at Arketype’s offices. More than 450 people attended.

Rivett initially took on the challenge to help “stay active through the winter,” but, he adds, “I wanted to be challenged too. We didn’t take the easy way out.”

He initially set his fundraising goal at $150,000, but as his team approached the amount raised by Driver last year, he bumped that up to $200,000. And if anyone told him that goal was crazy, he says, “It just put a fire in my belly.”

In addition to raising funds for a great cause, Rivett says the highlight of the event “was getting to know the people.” To share his appreciation and camaraderie, Rivett will tour the Mirror Ball to all the dancers who competed and shared in the important event, making it a “traveling trophy.”

Next up on Rivett’s dance card? He’s already taking cha-cha lessons.

Watch out, “Dancing with the Stars!”