Suggestions for fundraising for the CCR

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Support the CCR through fundraising

There are many simple things you can do to raise money for CCR.  In many cases, you can combine supporting the CCR financially with raising awareness about refugee and immigrant issues.

Youth: If you are a member of the CCR Youth Network or a young person passionate about refugee rights, this is a great way to take action.  Engage people locally, support the CCR, advance the cause of refugees and have fun along the way!

Some simple ideas to raise money for CCR

  1. Ask for donations to the CCR instead of gifts

Is it your birthday?  Having a party? Ask friends and guests to make a donation to the CCR instead of bringing you gifts.  One option is to create your own Giving page on CanadaHelps website – you can invite your friends to visit your page and make a donation.

  1. Make a donation in someone’s honour

Looking for a gift for someone who cares about refugees?  Make a donation to the CCR in their honour.  We will send a card on your behalf acknowledging your gift. A tax receipt will be sent to you upon request.

  1. Invite people to a small party or dinner

Organize a BBQ, a dinner or a cocktail party – invite your friends and tell them it is in support of the CCR.   During the party, take a few moments to tell your guests about the CCR and invite them to make a donation or become a Friend of the CCR.

  1. Organize a bigger event

50/50 event - Organize a fundraising event where half of the proceeds will be sent to the CCR and the other half will be to support your organization, university/school group’s activities. Think of a way to emphasize the important work of the CCR and how the organization is linked with your community.

Movie night - Rent a documentary or fiction movie related to refugee and immigrant issues. Organize it at home or use local school or university facilities.

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More ideas

Haven’t decided yet? Here are some more ideas to inspire you and get started.

Some tips for organizing events

Here are some things to consider in planning your event:

Come up with an idea

Give the event a local flavour - make it relevant.  Make sure the event is something enough people will want to attend.

Plan ahead

Event organizing takes time. Work out how much time you need to take care of all the details without being rushed.

Make sure that you have adequate support/volunteers/colleagues to help you divide up tasks and take ownership of the event. Never organize a fundraising event alone!

Form an event committee to oversee the organization of the event. Assign tasks to the committee members which best match their skills. Be clear about who is responsible for what.  For great tips on how to form an event planning committee and to organize committee meetings check out this guide.

Budgeting for your event

This is an important part of event planning. It will help you to keep track of your expenses and avoid overspending. You may want to seek donations to keep costs down. Approach local grocery stores and restaurants for donations and in-kind support (donations of things instead of money). When soliciting local businesses (example: small grocery stores or restaurants) a friendly face to face talk with the owner sometimes is more likely to succeed than sending an official letter. Plan according to your needs.

To increase revenue, organize activities during the event to help increase donations, such as an auction, a raffle, etc.

Make a list of things to do

In this list include all of the big things and small things that you need to do, from booking a venue (location) to buying ice. This is the easiest way to see that you have completed everything. Share this list with others who may be able to think of things that you might be missing.

Pick a date

Check with other organizations that attract similar audiences to make sure that there are no other significant events going on at the same time in your community. Take this opportunity to invite them to your own event, to avoid last minute scheduling conflicts.   You may want to plan the event to coincide with a special occasion relating to refugee and immigrant issues such as Refugee Rights Day (April 4th), World Refugee Day (June 20th), Human Rights Day  (December 10th).

Find a location

Make sure you have a venue that can accommodate the number of people that you wish and expect to attend the event. You should also think about accessibility: is it central?  Is it accessible by public transport?

Advertise your event

Start promoting the event as early as possible so that more people will hear about it. Media you can use to advertise include television, radio, internet (facebook, mailing lists, websites, etc.), newspapers, media releases, and word-of-mouth. Email or phone your family members, friends, colleagues, neighbours and ask them to spread the word.

Depending on the event, you may want to approach local media with a related story. The more people know about you, the more they’ll want to give you money. A short story in your local newspaper will encourage more people to come to your event.

You can also create your own promotional materials, such as flyers and posters. Think about the audience you want to invite and create a message especially for them. Don’t forget to include basic information about the event such as time, place, date, description, and contact information. Keep your message short and clear. Depending on your target audience, consider displaying your promotional materials in local shops, libraries, sports and community centres, schools, places of worship (churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, etc.).

Inviting the community

A fundraising event is an excellent way to educate the public about issues relating to refugees and immigrants in Canada. Events should be appropriate for both newcomers to the CCR, as well as experienced volunteers and CCR members. If you can’t do both, then it’s important to decide who you want to attend the event, and who will be interested in attending and willing to make a donation.

Invite organizations that support refugees and immigrants to attend, as well as members of ethnic communities (also ask them to pass on information about the event in their networks).

If you want members of a specific ethnic community to attend your event, it’s a good idea to host your event in cooperation with that community, and to have the event close to where they are located, or to use a space that they often use.

Inviting Politicians

If you decide to invite local politicians from your municipal government or provincial or federal government representatives, you need to be cautious and very clear about what you want from them: a speech? discussion afterwards? only attendance? Inviting politicians can be tricky. They attract more people but at the same time you don’t want your event turning into an election debate.  

Plan for the unexpected

A back-up plan is essential in case anything unexpected happens. For example, if your event is outdoors, make sure you have a plan in place if it starts to rain. It’s also a good idea to have a person ready to speak in case your guest speaker (or the person who is going to encourage your guests to make donations) is unable to attend.

Don’t forget about the goal of the event

  • To raise money to continue and expand the work of the CCR.
  • To raise awareness and educate the public about refugee and immigrant rights.

Make sure that you have carefully planned out how you will ask your guests to donate. The CCR strongly encourages you to ask your guests to become “Friends of the CCR”- donors who provide a stable, long-term source of funding by making a small donation every month. Make sure that you have enough ‘Friends of the CCR’ application forms and information about the Canadian Council for Refugees and its work ready to give to  people who wish to become monthly donors.

We will gladly accept one-time donations too.  Remember to tell your event guests that the CCR is a registered charitable organization with the Canada Revenue Agency, and that their donations are tax deductible.  Receipts are provided for donations over $20.

It is extremely important that you ask for donations directly.  Don’t be shy – people like to give to something they can believe in. They like to know that they are contributing to the well-being of others, and that their donations make a difference. Every group that you ask will be different, but you should give a similar message: donating to the CCR means that you are supporting an organization that is committed to the rights and protection of refugees in Canada and around the world and to the settlement of refugees and immigrants in Canada.

Emphasize the relationship between your community/organization/group with the CCR and how it contributes to the CCR. In this way people will know that their contributions are making a real difference within the community and at the national level.   

Some helpful tips during the event

  1. Print a sign-up sheet for guests’ names and their contact information. The sheet will give you an idea of how many guests attended the event and you will have their up-to-date contact information to send thank you letters and to contact them about future events.
  2. It is a good idea to set up a table with information from the CCR.
  3. Bring all office supplies that you’ll need with you: pens, markers, etc. Bring a cash box to collect donations. 
  4. Finally, enjoy yourself! Many of your volunteers will follow your example. If you are stressed out, they will be stressed out, and this will affect the atmosphere of your event.

Remember to say thank you

It goes a long way – always remember to thank your guests for attending, donating and volunteering their time. It is important to follow up to thank all those involved and to get their comments and suggestions. This will give you an idea of how your hard work paid off and will help you to improve future events.

Follow up with the local media by informing them about the success of your event.

Finally

Don’t forget to take pictures of your event and share your experience with us! Let us know how things went: others may learn from your experience of what went well and what difficulties.

Good Luck!

We can provide you with some of the materials developed by the CCR, including some short videos (visit http://www.youtube.com/ccrwebvideos for the latest videos). Setting up a display table at your event can be a good way to let people know about refugee and immigration issues in Canada, about the work of the Canadian Council for Refugees and about what your group does.

Resources available include:

  • CCR pamphlet
  • CCR presentation board (elements available on the website)
  • Facing Facts pamphlet
  • 100 years of immigration to Canada
  • History of immigration and discrimination in Canada (Power Point presentation)
  • Friends of CCR pins/ application forms
  • CCR key issues pamphlet
  • CCR membership kit

See http://ccrweb.ca/en/public_education for some of the materials that you can use for public education.