Special Report Tama Marketer of the Year: And the finalists are… Gallop takes a hearty approach to fundraising

Rick GallopExecutive DirectorHeart and Stroke Foundation of OntarioRick Gallop's radical approach to fundraising must cause a few palpitations among his not-for-profit 'friendly' competitors.Gallop doesn't hesitate to canvass his own members or 'customers' - people knowingly at risk of heart disease and...

Rick Gallop

Executive Director

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario

Rick Gallop’s radical approach to fundraising must cause a few palpitations among his not-for-profit ‘friendly’ competitors.

Gallop doesn’t hesitate to canvass his own members or ‘customers’ – people knowingly at risk of heart disease and stroke – for donations.

Apparently, a tactic some in the fundraising fraternity deem as not-cricket, or something.

Marketing department

He doesn’t have a fundraising department, he has a marketing department. And he doesn’t hire not-for-profit experience, he hires business expertise.

Gallop’s logic is forged from decades of unforgiving consumer marketing experience.

‘If I’m going to compete with the private sector, I want to use the tools of the private sector,’ he says.

His definititon of the competition covers more than simply fellow charities, it includes absolutely any other place a discretionary dollar might get spent.

‘Bullish on Basics’

He’s definitely ‘Bullish on Basics’ (this year’s tama rallying cry), and a proponent of ‘common sense’ as marketing’s most potent weapon.

But, it’s important to note that Gallop enshrines innovation and creativity among the basics.

‘Innovation is the key to getting an edge over the competition,’ he says.

He’ll freely admit he thrives on risk-taking and creative solutions to business problems. His most comfortable niche is that of entrepreneur, within a corporate framework.

Ride for Heart

Over a long and illustrious career in advertising and public relations management with some of the world’s top organizations, Gallop is proudest of the Ride for Heart, a bicycling fundraiser that became the biggest one-day fundraising event in the country.

As for heroes, he credits former Loblaw International Merchants president, Dave Nichol, with creating a genuine Canadian revolution. Amen.

Having published what arguably rates as Canada’s best-seller-ever, The Lighthearted Cookbook, he also admires Harlequin as one of the only real marketers in the book publishing industry.

He implies no faint praise as he observes:

‘In the land of the blind, Harlequin is the one-eyed man.’

You sense he would credit Harlequin with having both eyes on the marketing ball, but it doesn’t make as zingy a quote.

Refreshingly, here is one boomer who sincerely respects the coming generation. Gallop actually admires GenXers as the creators of a plethora of new businesses – entrepreneurs out of necessity.

‘They have a can-do attitude, with no expectation of a free ride,’ he says.

Special meaning

For Rick Gallop, winning tama’s Donald B. McCaskill Marketer of the Year award might hold some special meaning.

When Gallop stepped out of Oxford University’s hallowed halls and into the Toronto big business pit, a speech from McCaskill was among his first influences.

‘[McCaskill] showed me that the agency business was a fun, good place to be,’ Gallop says.

And having taken the Heart and Stroke Foundation from a net worth of $7 million to a debt-free $35 million in just seven years, Gallop certainly deserves some kind of heartfelt recognition.