Mind & Body

Donations aid local charity, build teamwork

 | April 29, 2011


Red Cross Canada has recently launched an online fundraising campaign that allows people to participate by volunteering their services in exchange for a donation, or donating money for a service.

Called The Volunteer Market, the campaign launched in the beginning of March for Red Cross month in Nova Scotia. So far, it’s already earned over 100 Likes on Facebook and has raised $860.

Posts range from the practical and ordinary to the creative and unusual, and Red Cross staff members are at the forefront of it all.

“It’s been really, really fun. We’ve had everything from people baking pies to dusting off desks, to cleaning off windshields of cars,” said Red Cross spokesperson Christena Copeland. “We had someone actually donate by picking up someone’s car from a parking lot, driving it to the front and escorting one of our staff with an umbrella to the car during a rainstorm.”

“We find that people are often siloed into their offices or their cubicles,” she said. “It’s just a great way to build camaraderie within an office place.”

When it comes to making offers, the only limit is your imagination. Some people are even willing to give up a sport team allegiance temporarily for the cause.

“I volunteer to get my photo taken wearing a Manchester United jersey (being a lifelong Liverpool fan) and use it as my Facebook profile pic for one month if someone donates $40 to the Red Cross,” reads one offer. This offer has been taken up and is being completed as of this writing.

Right now, offers or requests can be made available according to location (e.g. Canada-wide or just Vancouver). It can also be made available to individuals within a specific company only. Copeland said companies have been using this tactic successfully as a team-building activity in the workplace.

Currently, they’re doing a pilot program with one company that has offices throughout Canada.

“They want to do it within their workplace but across the country, so any donations that come out of their office in B.C. will go to the B.C. division of the Red Cross.” This has the added benefit of a company being able to track how much they have raised for the Red Cross.

More than just something fun to do, The Volunteer Market is an easy way to support a local charity. It’s set up so that donations go to where the donor is located.

“I think it’s really important that we really support our own community. And that’s what The Volunteer Market is doing,” Copeland said. “The money is going towards supporting the community in which you live.”

To find out more, visit www.thevolunteermarket.ca.

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