Starbucks is more than just a coffee shop. As an organization, they exist to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighbourhood at a time. To us, their spirit of philanthropy and care for the community is absolutely inspiring! Since 2011, Starbucks has partnered with Coldest Night of the Year in many ways:
Local stores sponsor individual locations, providing tasty treats, hot drinks, and warm smiles at CNOY in-person events across the country.
Starbucks employees sign up to participate as fundraisers and walkers. Across Canada, these teams have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for hard-working local charities.
In 2022, 1602 Starbucks fundraisers on 164 teams competed on the CNOY Challenge Leaderboard to see which group would top the charts as the most generous team!
Your job can be a lot of things: stressful, engaging, fulfilling, mundane, exhausting, challenging, uplifting to name a few. Mostly, it can be work. Work AND life can be any of those things on any given day. Showing up in the good, the bad, and the ugly is possible when you work with great people and for an amazing organization. You show up knowing that yes – there is a job to do – but you matter too. That’s when the job offers a lot more than just work. It offers safety, connection, and impact. That’s Starbucks.
For Starbucks, caring about their employees – which they call partners – is infused in everything they do.
It’s in their mission: to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighbourhood at a time. It’s the pump of goodness they add to every hand-crafted relationship – authentic care.
That care isn’t just lip service:
It helps partners who are far from home find a family.
It reassures someone having a hard day that they can cry during their break and still be and feel safe.
And that same care ensures that when a group of partners want to give back, they won’t wonder if the organization is behind them – they know they are.
Partners In Action
Revved up on more than just coffee, a group of Starbucks partners in Durham Region (east of Toronto) had a simple desire: to make a difference. But, like most people with big hearts, figuring out how to help (there is so much to do) was a huge first step. A venti sized first step. Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) offered an open door to explore local organizations doing the exact kind of work they wanted to support. One place in particular, The Refuge, stood out:
The Refuge works with youth who are experiencing homelessness or are at-risk ofexperiencing homelessness, and who are struggling. Built on a foundation of holistic care offering food, housing, and community, The Refuge is a space youth can findcommunity, safety, belonging, and a renewed hope for the future.
The Refuge was working with local youth who could be looking for a warm seat and a smile, or a job someday. “When we started to dig into what The Refuge was all about, it hit home,” shares Bryan, the Team Captain at Starbucks. The mission of The Refuge deeply inspired the action, because the Starbucks partners had learned, felt, and experienced the difference a caring, welcoming environment makes in their daily work. It was everything.
The partners knew they might be the first – or only – smile someone sees that day. They are one of the few people who truly cares when they ask a guest, “how are you?” They could be the single person to look someone in the eyes that day. The partners didn’t wonder what difference a warm, safe, welcoming place was. They already knew, and they wanted there to be more.
One More Step
The most powerful part of the story is that it kept going; it wasn’t just one year or a small group of partners. What started as a small group in 2019 became a whole crew of invested and engaged partners, teaming up to raise tens of thousands of life-changing dollars.
Last year, this team of Durham-based Starbucks partners visited The Refuge, met with the leadership team and were floored by the incredible work being done in their backyards. There was more to do – much more. This spurred District Manager, Bryan Kendall, and his team to recruit more partners to join the team, and more new donors. Using their creativity and the support of their store, they got to work:
They joyfully egged each other on and kept lively tabs on the donation leaderboard.
They encouraged each other, and every other partner on the team, with a tidal wave of support.
More than $20,000 later (!!), coupled with Neighbourhood Grants from the Starbucks Foundation (even MORE community impact) the Starbucks team helped The Refuge purchase a second facility offering scores of new beds and housing options for local youth. That’s some truly delicious, real change.
Partnered for Impact
The CNOY Challenge creates a space and place where Starbucks partners can unleash their energy, enthusiasm, and generosity. With simple, engaging, and streamlined systems, these partners turned dreams into reality.
We took this step together with our Starbucks partners and you can too. All organizations can make a huge difference, and if you are ready to engage, the CNOY team is ready to fill your cup with options, resources, and real impact. Let’s come together and be the change!
Turkstra Lumber doesn’t simply sell building supplies, they’re actively engaged in buildingcommunities across Ontario. The team at Turkstra have adopted the Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) fundraiser as one of their signature employee engagement initiatives. Every year they challenge staff and management in retail locations across the province to raise funds for people experiencing hurt, hunger and homelessness. And boy-oh-boy, do these Turkstra teams rise to the challenge! For the last 5 years, Turkstra Lumber has been a top-two Challenge Partner, raising over $151,000 (and counting!).
What’s the secret to Turkstra’s fundraising success? How does participating in the CNOY Challenge deliver benefits to their corporate culture and help improve employee satisfaction? You’re about to find out!
An Invitation to Walk
In 2017, some folks from Turkstra were asked by a customer to walk in a little thing called the Coldest Night of the Year. They were told something along the lines of, “it’s a super fun fundraiser… we walk at night to experience a little taste of what it might be like to live on the streets, then we warm up with homemade chili. Very fun, very easy.” So, they gave it a try. They zipped up their coats, donned their toques, and raised $2,635 as a team. Perhaps more importantly, they heard more about how homelessness was impacting their community.
Little did they know, that February night was going to be the start of something truly amazing!
Inspired by this cold, snowy CNOY walk, Turkstra leadership issued a challenge to the ENTIRE organization: let’s make our communities a little bit better, a little bit kinder, and a whole lot warmer. The following year, all 11 locations were challenged to form teams with their co-workers and families and raise funds to support local charities. With hundreds of events around Canada, every Turkstra Lumber store was conveniently located in a “CNOY city,” meaning each store team would be fundraising for a truly LOCAL charity.
Sure, head office could *just* donate the cash, but leadership saw this as more than a simple CSR strategy. They wanted to mobilize the incredible spirit, passion, and dedication they saw in their staff – for a good cause! Turkstra’s leadership predicted that including a fun, charitable activity into the workplace milieu would also improve employee engagement, foster a broader sense of community between staff, customers and vendors, and of course make a real difference in the lives of those around them.
The result? Eight teams signed up and swiftly surpassed their initial $10,000 goal, fundraising $16,500! The friendly internal competition sparked something in the Turkstra teams – as predicted, these passionate people pushed one another to be even better.
Gearing up for their 2020 fundraising campaign, the leadership team at Turkstra Lumber asked themselves the same question that has made them one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies for the last 5 years: what can we do better? The answer was a wellspring of staff-led, grassroots ideas for building more awareness, getting more people involved, and raising more money.
Committed staff came up with creative ways to fundraise – some were bold “askers”, some made & sold cupcakes, others worked with the marketing team to help organize partnership events.
Did you happen to see the limited-edition Hamilton Tiger-Cats toques and fleece blankets only sold at Turkstra Lumber? If you bought one, then you supported CNOY, as ALL proceeds went directly to those in need.
The spirit was infectious. Staff, customers, and vendors were asking how to donate before the fundraising officially began.
Stores rivalled one another in fiery-but-friendly competition (we see you, Waterdown and Dundas locations!) – strategically updating their numbers at the last minute with video messages that always “inspired” the others to get creative.
Company-wide emails kept the conversation lively and celebrated top fundraisers, while new branch members were integrated into the spirit of the challenge and the camaraderie of the organization.
By 2022, Turkstra Lumber had 11 teams registered, 50 walkers braving the cold, and over $50,000 in fundraising on the leaderboard. More than that, they had a province-wide team of employees who’d never felt closer or more engaged. Participating in CNOY created opportunities for employees to talk, connect, and learn more about one another. It enabled them to band together to out-fundraise their now-rival stores, and gave them a chance to work together on fun, new initiatives. It gave them an event to look forward to in bleak-old-blah-blah February, and a chance to celebrate over those now beloved chili bowls with their co-workers and families. Participating in CNOY helped create a sense of community in, and between, Turkstra’s many locations.
Turkstra Lumber is no ordinary building supply store. They are a group of smart, creative, generous people who want to help their communities thrive. Partnering with the CNOY Challenge has helped them strengthen their corporate culture while creating real change in their various trading areas. It’s a heart-warming (and hand-warming) story that we’re happy to share.
For more information on Turkstra Lumber, check out their website here. For more information on the CNOY challenge, pop on over to cnoy.com/challenge for all the details!
Operation Sharing’s dynamic duo – Shawn Shapton, Executive Director, and Scott McKaugue, Volunteer Event Director – knocked it out of the park hosting the Coldest Night of the Year 2022. Together, they not only planned an epic in-person CNOY walk, but recruit passionate teams, secure valuable corporate sponsorships, and mobilize an entire community around their cause.
In CNOY 2022, in a community of only 40,000 people, Operation Sharing raised $211,000!
“This is really going to change how we’re able to do business. Funds like this [will help] to enhance our programming, to add staff, to add proper software for intake for all of the programs… I was moved beyond belief to think of the support – not only financially, but the support of the community. “
Shawn Shapton, Executive Director of Operation Sharing
This amazing organization was active and engaged throughout the campaign. The team at Blue Sea Foundation stayed in close contact with Scott & his crew, sharing best practices, offering tools and resources, troubleshooting issues, and encouraging them every step of the way. We love working directly with Scott and admire his passion, drive, and dedication! It’s incredible to see just how much impact one volunteer can have on the entire Woodstock community.
Want to join in on the fun? Become a Charity Partner, become a Corporate Challenge Partner, or register to walk & fundraise now at cnoy.org (Canada) or cnoy.com (USA).
An incredible community of passionate, generous people gathered together to help Armagh House continue their mission – securing affordable housing for abused women, with or without children, for extended periods of time.
Over 150 walkers teamed up and asked friends and family to give, raising over $60,000 for this incredible cause.
Congratulations to all involved!!
Want to join in on the fun? Become a Charity Partner, become a Corporate Challenge Partner, or register to walk & fundraise now at cnoy.org (Canada) or cnoy.com (USA).
Her second step? Just as easy: “Anybody want to go with me?”
A few short weeks later saw Cathy and a team of 15 friends-turned-teammates raising $10,198.84 for a local charity and hitting the trail on their behalf. That’s over $10,000 of life-changing funds.
In her own words, “It was just… easy.”
The Heart of Action
Simplicity is at the heart of action. Give someone (or a group of someones!) one or two small, actionable, simple steps – that’s where their “yes” lives. Think of the “how did you get started?” stories you’ve heard: it was a walk, a phone call, a conversation, an invitation. Blue Sea’s P2P fundraising campaigns are built to facilitate that simple choice: I’ll walk, I’ll ride, I’ll help.
In Cathy’s case, it all began one morning at a meeting of the Rotary Club of Norfolk Sunrise. Daniel Avey, the director of Youth Unlimited YFC Norfolk, a charity that works with homeless youth, was the speaker. The necessity of the need couldn’t be more obvious: children and youth should have shelter, safe spaces, and food. When Daniel mentioned that their charity was participating in the Coldest Night of the Year – virtually due to COVID-19 – Cathy’s response was simple: of course she’d walk, and hoped others would join her.
All of these wins hinge on Daniel showing up at that Rotary meeting. That was his simple step. Both groups need each other. Rotary wants to help, Youth Unlimited is looking for support. CNOY was the bridge they needed to make that happen.
Service Over Self
The Rotary Club has a motto: Service Over Self. The more Club members heard from Daniel, the clearer the opportunity for service became. They are exactly the kind of group equipped and able to support change because Rotary Club members are all about a better community. All about Service Over Self.
Norfolk Sunrise Rotary Club members all show up for that very reason: to make a tangible difference in their community. For some, they want to set a better example for their kids. Others come because they have heard and seen the difference Rotary makes and want to do the same. For others still, in their retirement, they have all that work-energy to bring to volunteer initiatives. Whatever the reason, they all show up to build a better Norfolk County.
Then They Walked
Cathy put out her simple ask, “will you go with me?,” and the rest fell into place. They raised funds, they got organized, and walked on a local trail in support of Youth Unlimited. As simple, and as profound, as that.
CNOY was everything they needed it to be. “Blue Sea has it all set up – people thanked me for organizing the team, but I didn’t really do much. It was all there,” Cathy shared. A blink of an eye saw a team of 15 walkers and $10,000 fundraised in a matter of weeks, not months.
54 Rotary Clubs participated in CNOY 2022, each supporting a local charity in their community. Together they raised exactly $188,256.13, nearly doubling the previous year total of $99,279.39. That’s nation-wide momentum with enormous local impact. That’s what CNOY is all about.
A Simple Step
It’s a simple step, really. Are you a community member with the drive to make a difference? Take a step. A simple, profound, trajectory-changing step to work with others and see the change unfurl.
Bridges are incredible structures. Each is a feat of engineering, crossing an expanse that seems too big to broach and connecting people otherwise held apart. Bridges change movement patterns, present new opportunities, and draw the unknown into focus.
What do bridges have to do with you and your charity? SO glad you asked.
On One Side
Every community has issues to address. Big ones – ones that feel insurmountable, complex, and risky. Ideas have been tried, some pie-in-the-sky stuff, but issues persist.
Every community also has people: visionaries and volunteers who refuse to be daunted by the size, scale, and scope of a challenge. People who believe in a better world, a more just world, who know even small actions have an enormous impact, and who refuse to stop trying.
You know those people. You are those people.
Here’s what you know better than anyone: there is change to be made. You know there is no reason to believe that issues are insurmountable or problems too big. Bridges exist. Bridges help bring about change. They just need to be used.
You also know the work is hard, you know the work is good, and you know the work is worth doing.
But you simply cannot do it alone.
Spanning the Distance
Every mission, every cause, every change needs people. But imagine the slog of drumming up support and engagement one person at a time? Scratch that. You don’t need to imagine it. You already know it’s exhausting, inefficient, and ineffective.
It doesn’t have to be that way. (Deep breaths, everyone.)
Let this sink in: There are pre-existing groups all around you who have the desire to see their community thrive. Groups ready to engage, with shared values who just need a way in. A treasure trove, gathered together, ready to help:
Community groups of like-minded individuals who aren’t satisfied with the status quo and have a network primed and pumped. Think: Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs local gatherings of women, community change-makers, churches, and youth organizations.
Corporations with a charitable engagement plan, ready to activate their workforce on your behalf. Think of your local hardware store, the vibrant coffee shop, or the tech start-up with a team that needs a screen break.
But finding them, equipping them, and engaging them as effective fundraisers is a WHOLE other thing. And yet, so worth it! THEY want to see the community thrive, YOU are working for a thriving community – everything lines up. But…it feels hard, right?
That’s the space between you and these groups: even though your hope, mission, and values can all align, how do you actually work together?
The Blue Sea Bridge
Enter Blue Sea Foundation. Blue Sea’s mission is to give charities the power to fundraise successfully. We have built an innovative bridge that connects charities with supporters. Each of our P2P fundraising campaigns is expertly engineered to help you receive maximum fundraising and maximum engagement.
This “bridge” is about more than moving individuals towards you – it’s about mobilizing the community groups and corporations who are poised to step up, step in, and step out on your behalf. It’s all about helping you fundraise efficiently and effectively, while encouraging long-term engagement. We simply LOVE being that bridge. Nothing brings us more joy than seeing charities and local groups come together to make a tangible, world-changing difference.
Blue Sea campaigns, like Coldest Night of the Year, Ride for Refuge, and The Grand Parade, overcome the space between your work and community groups without you lifting a finger. No new hire, expensive overhead, random tech expertise, or another resource drain on your time and team required. The bridge is already built! All the tools, the systems, and the supports needed are finger-tip ready to welcome these powerful partners and rally them to your cause.
We have it all, we have it ready, and we have made it with this very hope in mind: to see you thrive, so your community can do the same.
From Here to There and Then Some
The best work is good work done together. Mobilizing community groups and corporations through a Blue Sea campaign levels up your fundraising and builds meaningful, long-term community engagement. Once the connection is made, Blue Sea has everything you need to go the distance with these new partners and participants. Together, we’ll see the change you know is possible!
In 2020 Sherwood Care set their sights on raising $20,000. This money represented safer, more vibrant spaces where beloved Canadians could spend their final seasons of life. It represented access, comfort, laughter, new experiences, and delighted seniors. To Sherwood Care, $20,000 in fundraising represented the ability to continue to achieve their mission of delivering warmth, compassion, and quality care.
Before then, their best fundraiser garnered $10,000. In 2020 they not only raised that $20,000, they nearly doubled their goal, bringing in $36,000. The next year, they nearly doubled again raising $70,000. How did they go from less than $10,000 to over $70,000 in under three years? It wasn’t magic or a miracle or chance or wishing hard. It was The Grand Parade.
Who is Sherwood Care?
Sherwood Care is a long-term care facility nestled in the hamlet of Sherwood Park, Alberta. Established in 1969, they offer residents a full-range of services: round the clock nursing, on site dietician, occupational and physical therapists, social worker, visiting physicians, recreational therapist, a full-time chaplain, hairdresser, laundry and housekeeping, and plant services. Amidst the stormy challenges of the medically complex needs of aging Canadians, Sherwood Careis a refuge for their residents and a harbour of peace for their families.
Led by a team of dedicated, faithful staff, including Harley Hempel, the Director of Resident Therapies, Sherwood Care deeply values and cares for their community of residents, families, staff, physicians, and volunteers.
Enter the Grand Parade
That deep care is what led them to TGP. After more than five DIY walkathons, Sherwood Care had hit a dead end. Harley Hempel knew they could do better – despite loads of effort, enthusiasm, and expertise, their fundraising events just weren’t raising enough money. While their events had spirit, they weren’t able to extend beyond the already-engaged staff and residents’ families. An incredible amount of work was resulting in lackluster results.
Never one to be content with lackluster anything, he went in search of a new solution. Partnering with TGP provided Harley and his team with a national peer-to-peer fundraiser that was values-aligned, easy to execute, and had virtually no risk. Check. Check. Check.
For Sherwood Care, partnering with TGP meant they could:
Connect with the community – Free from worrying about branding, website, registration, t-shirts, and receipts, Harley and his team could focus on building and nurturing relationships with team captains. And that’s exactly what they did, resulting in doubling the number of participants from 2020 to 2021.
Provided meaningful volunteer opportunities: – Volunteers are the lifeblood of quality care. As teams grew, so did awareness of Sherwood’s mission and vision. This provided Sherwood Care’s current volunteers with a meaningful opportunity to re-engage with the Care Centre after the lengthy COVID-19 restrictions and allowed businesses to participate and make a positive impact.
Securing Sponsorships – Over $16,500 was raised through business sponsorships alone. Harley attended TGP training sessions on sponsorships and corporate and community partnerships. This knowledge (and confidence!) was critical in moving the needle:
“TGP’s guidance on sponsorships, now that was something. We had asked business for gift cards and other small things in the past, but to have the confidence to ask for $5,000 – that was wild. To ask organizations we had never thought of…and they said yes! So, so valuable.”
Big Energy, Big Results
The Grand Parade is about more than fundraising! It’s about building buzz, creating awareness, and showing up for those who are often avoided, ignored, or forgotten. It’s about gathering together in community, doing something important, and having fun! It’s about jumping for joy and throwing Monopoly money in the air when you hit your first $20,000. (We see you Harley! 👀)
For Sherwood Care, The Grand Parade was exciting and engaging – for everyone – residents, staff, and the community at large. It was an amazing opportunity to:
Show They Care
Residents, families, and staff delighted in showing up, donning a well-earned t-shirt, and walking in support of both the aging Canadians they love and the valuable work of Sherwood Care.
Big smiles, loud laughter, and full hearts filled the streets around Sherwood Care as everyone knew something truly special was happening. They didn’t just raise money, they took time out of their day to show someone they matter.
One team, The Mamacita Marchers, was determined to be #1 in Canada. Their team captain, a unit clerk at Sherwood Care, used her powers of persuasion to recruit 10 people in 2 days and started collecting donations immediately!
The rest of the staff were not going to let the Mamacitas win easily! Other staff were quick to compete, each vying for access to the many coveted donors and climbing their way to the top of the scoreboard. Their spirit was contagious (in a good way!).
Event day featured local Scottish dancers and bagpipers, the Mamacitas team dancing their way through the event alongside 20 other teams, and big smiles on the faces of residents.
The community came out in droves to walk together, eat together, and support one another.
Well Worth It
Aging Canadians deserve an incredible place to live their final season of life. They deserve a place that prioritizes all of their needs and offers an up-to-date, accessible facility, inside and out. The funds raised through TGP support aging Canadians, each of whom has an amazing life story to tell, living out their days in comfort and peace. The kind of place you’d want for your grandparents, parents, caregivers, and someday, yourself.
When incredible organizations like Sherwood Care partners with the proven systems and support of The Grand Parade, magic happens! Looking to run an amazing, engaging, effective campaign? Walk this way!
Starbucks has been fueling countless commutes, endless study sessions, hectic post-work-get-the-kids-to-practice-and-make-dinner days, and flirty first dates in Canada since 1987. But the masters of the macchiato are also fueling change in their communities.
An Extra Shot of Social Change
Giving back is the Starbucks way. They are more than coffee (and the bacon & gouda breakfast sandwich… never forget the bacon & gouda breakfast sandwich). This corporation with a heart strives to make a difference in the local communities they serve. “We have always believed Starbucks can – and should – have a positive social impact on the communities we serve. One person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time” says Keshia Ali, Project Specialist in Social Impact & Public Policy.
The conversation began when Starbucks partners (that’s what they call their employees) indicated that they wanted to do more to support charities in their neighbourhoods.
Every day these partners see, and serve, folks impacted by homelessness, poverty, domestic violence, and other pressing social issues. Store by store, they were individually taking action. At one location, for example, a customer frequented the cafe, grabbing a seat in the evenings and drinking a few glasses of water; staff started to build a relationship with her. On the way to work one day, the store manager stopped at the ATM and saw this same woman sleeping in the vestibule of the bank.
The manager couldn’t just walk away and struck up a conversation, asking how they could help. The customer was open and honest about her story. It’s a heartbreaking one. She lost her home, she lost her family, she lost nearly everything. The local Starbucks team responded; they purchased gift cards and other essential items so she could get ready for job interviews and take the first steps towards getting back some of what she lost.
Starbucks partners across the country have similar stories and know the impact of kindness and teamwork. They’d seen first hand that small steps can lead to big changes. Now they wanted to do more, get more people involved, and make a bigger difference in their communities and communities like theirs across the country. They shared this need and Starbucks responded – in a big, CNOY way.
A New Partnership with Peer-to-Peer Event Coldest Night of the Year
Starbucks recognized the engagement and passion their partners showed when it comes to giving back, and found a way to grow this organic activity into a company-wide, cross-country initiative.
Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) is a super-fun, family-friendly fundraising walk that supports local charity partners who provide essential care and service for people experiencing homelessness, hurt, and hunger. And it’s more than that.
CNOY is a moment each year when tens of thousands of Canadians step outside the warmth and comfort of home to shine a light of welcome and compassion in their communities. Remarkably, the Coldest Night of the Year has raised over $43,500,000 in 149 communities across Canada since it began in 2011.
Joining CNOY’s Corporate Challenge has enabled Starbucks teams to:
Work Together and Compete to Make a Difference. Partners work together in teams to fundraise for local charities of their choice – as stand alone stores or in coalitions of Starbucks locations. Other Partners compete against their “rivals” up the street, checking the Challenge Board and rallying together to be the most generous Starbucks location in town.
Support Their Communities. With the full support of the national Starbucks brand, these Partners are raising money to serve people experiencing homelessness, hurt, and hunger in their neighbourhoods. Helping those they see and serve on a daily basis makes this fundraising campaign not just fun, but impactful in a real, tangible way.
Create Long-Term Relationships with Local Charities. Through CNOY, Starbucks partners can get behind the causes that matter to them (e.g. youth, homelessness, domestic violence, etc.) and connect to local charities while taking part in a nationwide movement.Oftentimes, Partners use this introduction to build longer-term, year-long relationships with these charities, expanding their impact.
Make a Huge Impact. In the last three years, Starbucks Partners have raised $196,497 for local charities serving people experiencing homelessness, hurt, and hunger through CNOY campaigns. Generosity and courage surged amidst the global pandemic, and Starbucks Partners raised over $98,297 in 2021 alone!
Through their participation in the CNOY Corporate Challenge each district, store, and partner has the chance to meaningfully contribute. To give back. To live out the Starbucks way: creating positive social impact on the communities they serve – to inspire and nurture the human spirit.
Starbucks is known for “so much more than what we brew.” A company with a huge heart, Starbucks is committed to being a positive force in the communities in which they operate. Partnering with CNOY allows them to take the organic passion and activism of their partners and maximize its impact.
Starbucks’ partners are thirsty for change; they want to make a difference. And they are. Partners have done incredible work for charities in their communities. CNOY offers the perfect pairing with a strong, recognizable national event and a proven program that delivers an easy, seamless way for teams to contribute and expand their impact.
Can it do the same for your organization? (Spoiler alert: Yes.)
Our P2P fundraising events take a lot of the heavy lifting off your plate. That means you can create a heart-racing, buzz-building, donor-delighting fundraising campaign by focusing on a handful of exercises. The most important one being: team captain recruitment!
That’s right, team captain recruitment must be your #1 priority, because team captains are the key to a successful campaign – hands down, every time.
Get Your Recruitment Muscles Warmed Up
Team captain recruitment isn’t complicated, but it does take time and effort. You might work up a bit of a sweat, but if you’ve got the heart, we’ve got a foolproof plan. So squeeze into that spandex (yep! Spandex is cool again), do a couple of stretches, and let’s get recruiting!
First things first, set your fundraising goal and do the math to calculate how many captains you need to reach it. You can try to recruit the 100, 200, or 500 people you need to hit your fundraising goal, or you could recruit a handful of your charity’s salt-of-the-earth supporters as team captains and let them do the recruiting, leading, and fundraising for you. Hint: the second idea is so. much. better. Team captains will be your best recruiters and most invested fundraisers, among many other awesome qualities.
Plan Your Workout
What makes a great team captain? Where can you find them? How do you get them onboarded in time?
Our game-changing recruitment strategy maps all of your charity’s contacts and relationships in concentric circles. These circles house your best potential team captains:
Start with the core, recruiting those closest to you – those who already know and love you – and move out from there. This core consists of your board members, management team, and major donors – all the people you regularly interact with who make your awesome work come to life.
As leaders don’t forget your friends and family too. They are your inner core fan club and most events can count on Mom, Dad, siblings and others to team up and fundraise!
Gear Up + Get Moving
Ready to turn up the speed for real results? Let’s go!
Use your core! Ask each board member, management team, or major donor to be a team captain. Encourage these core captains to tap into their own varied and diverse networks to recruit a fabulous team, do some spirited fundraising, and get the word out about your charity.
Your Board of Directors can engage with your event in two ways:
If your primary focus is on raising funds, the Board Chair can champion a super-team of board members who commit to raising a lot of money together.
If you hope to build a lot of awareness through the event, the board can divide and conquer, captaining multiple teams that tap into the reach, influence, and rolodex of these key players (no, rolodexes are not cool again, sadly.)
Major Donors are great potential team captains. Don’t assume they are one-and-done with their last big cheque. Invite them to start a team, be on a team, and fundraise from their rich network like everyone else.
Look for a way to ask these folks during a face-to-face interaction – bring it up at the next board gathering, ask them to connect over coffee, and commit to discussing it at your next meeting.
Add some weight! Successful campaigns need buy-in from leadership. Set the expectation that your leadership team all sign up to be enthusiastic captains. Be clear and do what it takes to secure buy-in as early as possible.
Practice muscle memory! Remember alllll those people who have participated and donated in the past? Invite them back and ask them to lead their own teams. They are an often untapped, but readily accessible, resource. (Hop into your WAVES account, download the last 5 years’ participant data, and reach out to anyone who raised more than $500 to see if they’d consider leading a team this year.)
Don’t skip leg day! Do leg work for big returns: with each interaction/meeting/pumpkin spice latte, ask: “How can I invite this person to be a team captain?” That volunteer group that shows up to paint and do odd jobs every May? Put it on their radar. That business that loves to do semi-yearly drop-offs? Let them know. Those teens who do their service hours with you? Sign them up! These interested groups will appreciate another touch point and a new way to support your work.
Stretch! Once you’ve done the work of getting your inner circles on board, think bigger: what businesses in your community might want to join in? Remember, this work is important, but often doesn’t yield the same results as exploring your active base.
Sure, this workout takes… work. Team captain recruitment needs a little time and energy but it pays off big time. Results guaranteed.
By focusing on team captain recruitment and going all in on these exercises, you’ll be building an amazing community of individuals who are engaged in your work, charting the path to fundraising success, and potentially finding new relationships to further your mission. Grab that water bottle, headband, and runners – it’s time to sweat it out and make it happen.
Login to WAVES and read through the Team Captain Recruitment Generator.