The Peoria Zoo was seeking to raise $32 million in order to build a new entrance to the zoo and Africa!—an exhibit that would triple the size of the zoo and provide more natural habitats for its animal residents. The zoo approached Simantel
in 2008 for its help.

Simantel’s role was to help raise the funds needed to build Africa!, with Phase II being the construction of the new entry.

  • Our team initially developed a targeted communication piece focusing on major gifts.
  • A comprehensive brochure was created to bring the Africa! exhibit to life though imagery and narrative focused primarily on the benefits of natural habitats.
  • A downsized version also was created for distribution to a larger audience.
  • Simantel also developed a new identity (logo) for the Zoo to refresh its brand to best reflect the new updates the Zoo planned to make.

As we moved into the public awareness phase, Simantel gave a voice to the animals and let them do the talking. Use of humor and “in your face” requests for donations by the animals proved to stand out in a community landscape cluttered with multiple capital campaigns. Messaging drove audiences to a dedicated microsite, developed especially for the campaign.

With Simantel’s help…

  • Media vendors gifted more than $250,000 worth of advertising space to help promote the Zoo’s fundraising efforts (including the billboards shown below).
  • Funds were raised through awareness generated, including press events and fundraisers held at the zoo along, with additional grassroots executions.

In 2009, the Peoria Zoo’s new exhibit successfully opened after more than a decade of planning and 21⁄2 years of construction.