How 37 Black Dog Supporters Helped Raise $1 Million

on the Kokoda Track

Inspired Adventures and Black Dog Institute have had a remarkable journey in their partnership, spanning over a decade. In the last 11 years, Inspired Adventures has facilitated over 200 incredible Black Dog supporters who, passionate about mental health, to embark on 13 life-changing adventures in nine different countries. The collective commitment to raising funds for mental health research and support, echoes the evolving landscape of mental health advocacy.

In November 2023, a very special milestone was reached, $1 million raised through the Inspired Adventures and Black Dog Institute partnership. This impressive result was due to the amazing efforts of a group of 37 supporters who completed the grueling Kokoda Track, raising $208k along the way. The team trekked through 150km of tropical rainforest, rugged mountain terrain and unspoiled villages on the legendary Kokoda Track, following in the footsteps of ANZAC Diggers - a huge achievement. After yet another highly successful campaign, Black Dog Institute will continue growing their Inspired Adventures portfolio with their Southern Alps trek in New Zealand departing 2024.


Thinking about taking the leap into adventure fundraising with your organisation? Here’s what you can expect to achieve from a partnership with Inspired Adventures.


Kokoda trail happy participants in front of Kokoda Trail sign

Kokoda 2023

  •          37 Participants

  •       $208,627 raised

  •   Avg raised per person $5,638

  •  Unique team engagement & repeat participants

Strategic Activity



In the dynamic world of fundraising adventures, Black Dog Institute mastered the art of strategic recruitment for their exhilarating Kokoda trek. Leveraging the power of digital outreach, they employed targeted Facebook ads, personalised EDMs, and engaging newsletters to cast a wide net and capture the attention of potential participants. 

What sets the Black Dog Institute apart is their impressive rate of repeat participants, a testament to the enduring impact of these fundraising adventures. By showcasing the triumphs and testimonials of those who've walked the Kokoda Track before, they've not only built a community of passionate supporters but also established trekking as a shared passion among their audience. This pre-existing enthusiasm for trekking has proven to be a game-changer, providing a sturdy foundation for the seamless and successful recruitment of participants eager to embark on the Kokoda fundraising adventure. 


Meet Jon and Brad

Brad McKenzie and Jon Gilchrist, seasoned participants in Black Dog Institute's fundraising adventures, showcased their unwavering commitment to mental health advocacy during the recent Kokoda trek. Having previously engaged in four and two adventures, respectively, the duo took their support to new heights by organising a full-day music festival in Geelong, aptly named Rock The Black Dog.

P. 7 Black Dog fundraiser

The festival, headlined by blues sensation Ash Grunwald, attracted widespread attention within the local community, garnering coverage from radio and print media outlets. The event's success was evident, boasting 20 musicians on two stages, a turnout of 150 attendees, and an overwhelmingly positive atmosphere throughout the day. In the spirit of camaraderie and determination. Rock The Black Dog raised an impressive $5,500 to contribute to vital mental health research. 

“A lot of hard work, time, and energy goes into events like these, but everything is worthwhile when things go so well, everyone gets on board and you raise a significant amount for a wonderful organisation like Black Dog Institute.” - Brad

*Image features from left to right, Brad, (Festival Headliner) Ash Grunwald, and Jon.

Brad has also trekked the Larapinta Trail in 2020 and Cradle Mountain in 2022. Brad and Jon trekked the Great Wall of China together in 2019. We love this duo's incredible determination!


Building Advocacy

Imagine this: a group of dedicated fundraisers embarking on an adventure with the Black Dog Institute, and joining them on the journey are representatives from the charity, who are there to build relationships with each participant and thanking them for their hard work fundraising. It's more than a trek; it's a unique opportunity for participants to walk alongside those who live and breathe the mission of the Black Dog Institute every day.

As the group moves together, these representatives provide firsthand insights into the heart of the institute's mission, fostering engagement and creating a shared experience.

We've seen that this shared experience leads to more than just a stronger connection; it sparks long-term advocacy. Participants, inspired by the dedication of the institute's representatives, become advocates for mental health, carrying the mission forward well beyond the adventure's end.


Team engagement

Black Dog Institute really prioritised participant engagement. Their dedicated representatives maintained regular communication, fostering connections with participants. For their Kokoda trek, Inspired Adventures facilitated three group Zoom calls, bringing together participants, Black Dog Institute representatives, and local operators. Beyond logistics, these calls built a sense of community, ensuring everyone understood the trek, the cause, and the fundraising aspects.

But engagement isn't confined to virtual meetings. The Black Dog Institute extended invitations to exclusive thank-you events, turning gratitude into a celebration of each participant's dedication.


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Thanks so much for supporting me to go on this once in a lifetime adventure. I appreciate everything you've done to help our community fundraisers feel valued, supported and heard throughout this experience.” - Iris (charity representative)


It was an amazing experience and something that I will remember fondly for a long time.” - Peter (participant)


One very very happy little Vegemite. Would recommend any adventure with Inspired.” - Melanie (participant)



More Information

Want to find out how Inspired Adventures can reinvigorate your community fundraising to yield impressive results? Enquire below.

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