Corporate and community engagement is a critical component of successful p2p fundraising events. By tapping into the business community, you’re able to reach more people, build more buzz, generate more awareness for your cause, and ultimately raise more funds. The best part about corporate and community engagement is that it’s not one sided – it’s not just about asking the businesses and community groups in your area to support your charity – it’s about offering an equal (or greater!) opportunity to help them reach their goals.

What is a “Challenge?”

A challenge is a corporate and community engagement tactic that invites big-hearted businesses, schools, community groups, and churches to register teams, recruit walkers, and fundraise for your p2p event. Because we know what motivates these organizations and understand what they value, we’ve been able to design a Challenge that delivers results. 

What kind of results, you ask? 

Over the last three years corporate and community teams registered in Blue Sea’s CNOY challenge have raised over $2.2 million dollars! In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how p2p fundraising event challenges work (using the CNOY Challenge as an example) and show you how to use it as a tool to fundraise more successfully. Let’s dive in:

How Does the Challenge Work?

The Challenge is an event within an event wherein regional/national businesses, small businesses, community groups, schools, and churches register teams and compete on the fundraising leaderboard for their organization and category. 

It enables each participating group to gather a team, get donors, walk on event day, and make a difference in their community. Often seen as a cornerstone of their corporate culture, used as team building exercises, or employed through a social giving or corporate social responsibility program, the Challenge is a unique opportunity for a business or community group to do more than cut a cheque and call it charity. 

Large Businesses with Multiple Locations

77% of Canadians want to work for a company that has a strong CSR policy

For larger organizations with a regional or national presence (think: Starbucks, RBC, Shopper’s Drugmart, etc.) the Challenge provides an opportunity to engage the stores/branches/locations across the country in a meaningful way. With the Challenge:

  • The organization receives a unique fundraising webpage with a branded URL that they can use to share and promote their efforts
  • Employees can see the overall fundraising total (“Wow! Starbucks has raised  $56,000!”) and the totals of each participating store/branch/location (“Our store is almost in the lead, we only need to raise another $200 to beat those Burlington baristas!”)
  • Teams can see how they stack up against other businesses within their category (“We’re the most generous coffee shop in town!”)
  • Every location can participate in the fundraising, community building, and the event itself (“Even though we’re in a remote location, we can get out and walk together as a team on event day”) 
  • The money raised stays in the community and doesn’t get whisked away to a national charity
  • Employees have an opportunity to unite with their team and the organization at large. They band together to make a difference and end up feeling like they’re part of an organization that cares 
  • Locations get fired up with friendly competition as they try to top the leaderboard within their organization and ensure they blow their rival businesses out of the water!

For these businesses, participation in the Challenge can be a huge win because it delivers value on every level – corporately, for employees, for the community, and of course for the local charities they support. If the brand aligns with the charitable cause (i.e. for businesses in real estate, food services, healthcare, etc.) this will be especially impactful!

For Small Businesses

92% of Canadians think that it is important for a company to give back

But one needn’t be a national chain to reap the benefits! For businesses with a single location operating in single community, a p2p fundraising challenge delivers all of the same essential benefits:

  • Staff come together to support a cause and give back to the community 
  • The company receives rightful recognition for their efforts and good works
  • Teams can battle against other businesses in their category! This healthy competition is fun and motivating 
  • Ultimately, the small business and its employees leave with a real sense of accomplishment. They’ve engaged with each other in a meaningful way, they’ve worked together to do something big, they are proud of their team and their company, they feel good about the help they’re providing to a local cause. Money literally can’t buy this type of experience and goodwill.

Community Groups

The fun doesn’t stop with businesses though, as community groups (schools, churches, Lion’s Clubs, Rotary Clubs, etc.) can also register teams, fundraise together, and participate in the p2p event. A fundraising challenge gives them an opportunity to:

  • See the national total (and impact!) of their organization’s fundraising efforts
  • Show off their impact and continued relevance to their community (“We’re here and we’re making a difference – even after 25 years!”) 
  • Compete against other groups or teams (“There’s no way we’re letting Pastor Kim’s team beat us!”, “We want to show the Lion’s in Ontario how we do things here in BC!”)
  • Come together to support a cause that sits close to their hearts

We’ve seen the mayors of rival towns compete to benefit important charities, churches and school groups band together to build community relationships, and volunteers be rekindled with excitement, energy, and pride to be part of their community group.  

Challenge Benefits 

As you can see, the Challenge isn’t all about charity! For our charity partner EDs, asking a company or community group to join the Challenge is not just asking them to get involved in your event – it’s giving them an opportunity to participate in a campaign that can deliver multi-faceted value and big bottom-line benefits to their organization. 

As outlined above, the Challenge is their opportunity to:

  1. Engage employees, group members, and customers 
  2. Compete in a fun, spirited way
  3. Build goodwill within their community and receive the (rightful!) recognition for their good works
  4. Pull together as a united team
  5. Do something that fills everyone involved with pride

We get excited just talking about it! It’s good for them and it’s good for you. If done right, a corporate and community Challenge motivates teams to fundraise BIG and adopt the event as an annual tradition.

Our Challenge to You: Grow Your Challenge

In your recruitment strategy then, don’t stop at team captains! Think about the “outer rings” of your concentric circles of fundraising: who can you invite to the Challenge?

  • Use those names of potential captains as the jumping off point for building out your Challenge. Do those individuals work for (or own) businesses or community groups that could use a very fun, super engaging, business building event that delivers 5-factor benefits?? Tell them so! Pitch the Challenge as a way for their organization to get involved in the community in a BIG way (that doesn’t really require that much effort on their part).
  • The best companies to ask are ones who:
    • Align with your cause or your charity
    • Market to your walkers
    • Are already participating in other locations
    • Are sponsoring your event
  • If you have one Challenge team signed up, look for other opportunities in that category. For example, if you’ve recruited a team from the local Toyota dealership, walk across the street and talk to the folks at Honda. 

Just remember: businesses and community groups love what well-run p2p events provide for them. Be confident heading out there and recruiting these team captains. The Challenge is about so much more than charity! 

Challenge Accepted?

If you’re a Blue Sea charity partner, we have tons of information and training on Corporate and Community Challenges on the WAVES site (run, don’t walk, and check it out now!). If you’re not, give us a call to discuss, we’re here to give charities the power to fundraise successfully.