One Man's Dream Becomes a Reality

by jrive7 on April 25, 2014 - 7:25pm

Miles for hope is a nonprofit organization whose mission or theory of change is to help raise awareness and funding for brain tumor research, clinical trials and in providing travel assistance to those who qualify. It was founded by Barb and Bob Gibbs after Bob was diagnosed with a primary brain tumor on May 16, 2004. His diagnosis consisted of a low grade tumor which gave him high hopes of it not becoming an aggressive one. Unfortunately this was not the case and in 2011 he lost his 7 year battle. This organizations initial goal was to aid in attacking brain tumors in the early stages in hopes of increasing a patient’s chance of survival and before Bob’s passing in 2011, his dream became a reality.

Over the years, Miles for Hope has accumulated 97, 415 miles of dedication towards early treatment for patients diagnosed with brain tumors. Together people from all over the United States gather to walk, run and cycle towards a brighter future for those in need. In 2013 alone they managed to donate approximately $130,000 towards brain cancer research and $12,350 towards needed travel assistance and holiday assistance.  Miles for hope is typically a 5k run/walk/cycle but sometimes also includes concerts or food trucks incorporated into the events. Their “wacky race” Wig Out event was nominated on its first run for the “Tampa Bay Business Journals Best in the Biz Readers Choice Awards” in 2013, which is rare for a first time event. Aside from events, they also have a shop feature incorporated into the website which allows you to purchase items like jewelry, pendants and wrist bands. You can also fill out a financial contribution by submitting the document attached to the site and including some form of payment.

Their “Get Involved” section of the site includes things like how to donate a vehicle or frequent flyer miles, hosting and sponsoring events or simply “going gray in May”. 5k runs are very popular and effective in raising funds for awareness or research but I think by expanding the limitations a bit and introducing new and more convenient ways of fund raising will dramatically increase the outcome. Online fundraising can serve as one option, delivering a wider range of reach which will essentially increase volume, resources and the financial outcome Miles for Hope strives for. Online fund raising is one of the easiest ways to collect money from family, friends and even sponsors. It also serves as a great way to reach out to people you could not reach using traditional methods like flyers or TV ads. I myself have donated to several causes online and must admit that I find satisfaction in the convenience of being able to do so and also enjoy being able to log in to see how close one is to their goal. It can’t get any easier than being able to log on when you have a few spare minutes, enter your card number and watch as the meter grow. Expediting the way people can donate or contribute funds to the organization by providing the convenience of online fundraising will allow this organization to invest more, both physically and financially for preventative methods and research. Volunteers will be able to focus more on campaigning and running the event, while those who are unable to attend will still be able to contribute to the cause with a click of a button.

Miles for Hope already incorporates social media campaigning as part of the fund raising mechanism but I believe doing so a little more will help out dramatically. Reaching out to social media like Facebook, Twitter and even You Tube has shown to be very productive in fund raising as its magnitude of reach is pretty much endless. You’d be surprised how much of an impact a handful of posts or tweets about an upcoming event can do for your numbers. Think about the infinite number of people you can reach out to for donations or simply educating them on what you’re fighting for or against. This was listed as one of the most powerful ways to “customize your message and engage your followers or groups” by an article or blog created by TRUiST (2013).  You Tube also serves as a great way to provide video feed during the event so people can engage in a virtual atmosphere as opposed to just photos or tags. The research project The Mellennial Impact Report of 2012 by Achieve and Johnson Grossnickle & Associates even shows that 55% of people who were surveyed, preferred social media as a way of learning about nonprofit organizations like Miles for Hope and a whopping 92% have liked a nonprofit page on Facebook.

Basically by modernizing the way people can contribute and advertising or educating people through popular social media methods will essentially increase financial goals for Miles for Hope. It is still important to remember that each factor of the organization is important and this cannot be accomplished without a group effort. Recently we covered material on Durheim’s Division of Labor which in its simplest terms is a system completed or made whole by uniting social groups and/or factors. In the case of Miles for Hope, we would consider the social groups and factors to be those who are physically affected by brain tumors, those taking actions towards its prevention and the campaigning and events held in between. All of these factors combined make up the organization and allow its structure to be established. Without them numbers would dwindle, resources would fade and the financial outcome for research, education and prevention would take a turn for the worst.








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Kivisto, Peter. (2011). On mechanical and organic solidarity. (Fourth Edition), Social Theory Roots and Branches (pp.38-42). New York, NY. Oxford University Press, Inc.


The benefits of online fundraising. Retrieved April 23, 2014, from


The millennial impact report. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from


Any form of cancer or tumor is a great threat to our society and should be researched as much as possible to prevent future death. I think the organization of 5k runs is much more beneficial overall than a simple collection of money. Organizing a run promotes healthy habits as well as create memories for those who participate in it. It is much easier to remember running for a cause and donating money than simply donating money which is often forgotten. I think this organization can sensibilize people to problems caused by brain tumors as well as contribute to research.
I didn’t know that social networks had such an important reach toward people for non-profit organization. I myself am usually annoyed by any form of promotions with the objective of collecting money on social networks. However, I do see how it is possible to share their message and educate people on the issue they are trying to solve. I agree with you that a lot of organizations solely rely on their own website for internet involvement. As you said, it is important to use resources such as YouTube and Twitter to be able to change the world. Modernization is important and opens the organization to a much larger public of interest as a source of revenue.
The online world offers the possibility to create viral campaign which increases exponentially the amount of people an organization can touch. The Major Multimedia article “Click to Donate – A Nonprofit Campaign That Went Viral”, clearly demonstrates the effectiveness an organization can achieve by successfully creating a viral campaign. Similarly and following my own research, using the viral power of the internet can create and bring an enormous amount of money for any organization. For example, the virtual currency Bitcoin, which is the focus of my current research, was valued at a few cents in 2009 and anybody who acquired a few could sell them at over 1000$ back in December 2013 because it went viral and its value was catapulted.
Here is a link to the article:

I read your article because your title was captivating, but I was even more pleased to read a well written, well researched articles! Your recommendations for this organization are very interesting since they would definitely help them a lot. My father owns several companies and he talks to me often about business and social media because he knows how important social media is in any business/organization. He once told me that here in Quebec only a slip percentage of companies have a website (which goes without saying: no social media either). Here in Quebec, we are a couple years late on social media usage for companies and organizations. For example, Twitter is one of today's most used websites, however very few Quebec companies use it. See this article for further details on the topic:
So, as you said, for their organization to flourish even more, they should expand their use of social media. And maybe then they can give Quebec companies a few tips!