Fundraising for climate action… in a hot dog costume?

Fundraising for climate action… in a hot dog costume?

Words by Jessica Boland

Ketchup, mustard and less carbon emissions, thanks!

We’re all familiar with the concept of a fundraiser. Maybe your friend did Dry July, or your uncle guilted you into sponsoring him for that fun run he did.

Typically, the way these fundraisers get their donations is by peppering your newsfeed and inbox until you bite the bullet and donate. While these tried and true methods get the job done, Coburg resident Melissa Donnan decided to stray away from the conventional fundraising techniques in her efforts to raise money for climate change.

“I decided that for every $100 I raise, I’ll wear a full hot dog suit for one whole day and if I reach $1000 dollars, I’ll wear the hot dog suit on a Hinge date,” Donnan laughs.

“I’ve actually been blown away by the response, honestly it’s been crazy, I just thought it would be a bit funny but I’m up to over $1100 now, so I’ve had to wear it for 11 whole days so far.”

Since the beginning of October when her hot dog escapade got underway, Donnan’s been shamelessly roaming the streets of Coburg with her buns on full display, bringing smiles and laughs to local punters as she goes.

“It’s a bit of a hindrance, I’ve been a little bit sweaty, I’ve had a few honks on the street but I’m actually getting quite used to it honestly. I just get up, have my shower and chuck on my hot dog suit.

“I forget I’m wearing it and then I’m out and about and think, ‘Oh why are people looking at me funny?’, and then I remember what I’m wearing. Most people just smile or look at me in a bit of a weird way. I mean this is Melbourne, anyone can really wear what they want here anyway, it’s been quite funny,” Donnan says.

Donnan going to work in her hot dog costume. 

If you think she’s going to spend her costumed days hiding in her house, you’d be sorely mistaken. Despite being in lockdown, Donnan is determined to make the most of this challenge.

“Obviously I’m in Melbourne at the moment so I haven’t been able to do too much, but I’m going out in public as much as I can. I’ve been meeting up with my friends in the park, getting coffee, I’ve been going for runs and bike rides in the hot dog suit.”

If anything, she reckons her tasty outfit has made her more productive.

“I’ve been out in the yard all the time. I mowed the front lawn in the hot dog suit, the other day I weeded the entire garden. I built a garden bed as well. It’s so fun, the neighbours are loving it,” says Donnan.

But being dressed as a piece of meat means Donnan runs the risk of attracting some predators.

“Yesterday [the suit] actually got a hole bitten in it from a dog, he must have been hungry. He got a bit too excited and bit a hole straight through it, so it’s getting really dirty,” she laughs.

Despite the strange looks, animal attacks and profuse sweating, Donnan says it’s definitely worth it for a good cause. The money she has raised is going to Climate for Change, an organisation dedicated to starting conversations about climate change and empowering people to talk about, and become passionate about climate action.

“What Climate for Change do is facilitate a dinner party at your house with your own guests where you just eat and drink and have fun,” she explains. “Then, at the end they show you a documentary about climate change, and they ask you questions and prompt a conversation about what you can do to help.

“It’s a really great way to normalise these kinds of hard, awkward conversations while providing you with the information and resources to actually take action,” Donnan continues.

At the beginning of this month, Climate for Change launched their crowdfunding event, which spans until the end of October, in order to raise money to grow their organisation.

Donnan is part of a passionate team contributing in the fundraiser, and she’s not the only one who has come up with some… interesting ideas.

“One of the guys isn’t using his car for a month and getting sponsors for that. Another one is doing this thing where he doesn’t shower and he wears the same thermals for a certain amount of days depending on how much money he raises, so we’re really trying to get creative,” she explains.

With her donation total now over $1100 in just a few weeks, Donnan has reached the $1000 marker for her hot dog Hinge date to go ahead. And she’s not backing out of her promise.

“I haven’t really decided how I’m going to go about the date. It’ll probably be completely at random, just give someone a fun hot dog surprise,” Donnan laughs. “I hope I like them. I hope I marry this person. That would be an amazing story to tell everyone, imagine that.”

To donate to Melissa Donnan’s fundraiser check out her page.

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