Timeraiser: Social Call for Social Purpose

by Richard Carmichael on February 18, 2010

Timeraiser-2010-Toronto-Daryl-Vocat

Your Future can be anything you want it to be - by Daryl Vocat

When times get tough, they get tough for us all. When money is tight and people just can’t scrape together cash to donate to their favourite charity, Non profits, NGO’s and local community support organizations who depend on donations from good people like you, fall short on their obligations or have to cut back on the services they provide. The people who need it most just have to do without.

Volunteers are one of the most important resources that local community service agencies, non profit organizations and NGO’s can tap into to help deliver their vital programs services. By donating time instead of your money, trained volunteers can help these small, struggling charities do what they do every day, on less money. By stepping up to the plate and getting involved, people just like you can make a huge difference in the lives of people here in your local community. Anyone who has ever volunteered can tell you, that volunteering has to be one of the most profoundly rewarding experiences anyone can share.

If volunteering is so important, and so helpful to so many people, and so rewarding for the people that sign on, then why don’t more people do it?

  • Many of us will say that we aren’t asked
  • Many of us (especially those with kids) feel like we just don’t have the time
  • Even those of us who are keen and willing to give up time, often don’t know where to find meaningful opportunities that make sense to them

Introducing Timeraiser:
One of the most innovative social purpose ventures we have seen in a while

Concept:

Attend a lively and entertaining event in your city. Schmooze, network with your peers, socialize with your friends, bid on original art by local artists who really need your support—and if you win, you pay with your time instead of your cash. The struggling artist gets paid real money and you, commit to spend a little quality time with a local community support organization. There are some great agencies in there that need your support. The Canadian Youth Business Foundation provides start-up mentoring, financing and education tools for Canadians 18-34 to start and grow businesses which contribute to sustainable economic development in communities across Canada. The Cottage Dreams Recovery Initiative is a registered Canadian charity offering recent cancer survivors and their families a week at a private, donated cottage to refresh and reconnect after completing treatment. Another is Elizabeth Fry Toronto—their mission is to support women who are, have been or are at risk of being in conflict with the law. One of our favourites places to take our kids is the Brickworks in Toronto, just one ambitious re-vitalization project taken on by the wonderful people at Evergreen. Evergreen is a not-for-profit organization that makes cities more livable. By deepening the connection between people and nature, and empowering Canadians to take a hands-on approach to their urban environments, Evergreen is improving the health of Canadians by tapping in to the power of education at an early age and is supported in a major way by volunteers.

Future Possibilities’ specialized programs challenge and empower children from underserved communities to build character, valuable life skills and social responsibility with the inspiring support of trained, adult volunteer “KidCoaches”. Habitat for Humanity Toronto: Mobilizes volunteers and community partners in building affordable housing and promoting homeownership as a means to breaking the cycle of poverty.

These are just a few outstanding examples of organizations you can engage with at TImeraiser and support with your time, energy and enthusiasm. Its a win win situation for all and a fabulous idea whose time has come.

After the Timeraiser:
Create a plan and track your hours at Civic Footprint.
The Timeraiser supports emerging and mid-career artists like few other community events do: artists are paid fair market value for their work instead of being asked to donate their creativity. The art is then auctioned off at the Timeraiser to raise volunteer hours for the community. To date, the Timeraiser has invested over $310,000 in the careers of more than 450 artists across the country.
Timeraiser was conceptualized in 2002 in response to a group of friends wondering how it could be easier to find meaningful, relevant volunteer opportunities. Seven years and ten Timeraisers later, it is amazing that this grass-roots initiative has flourished into a well-known, annual event that operates in six major cities across Canada. The Timeraiser helps nonprofit and voluntary organizations, large and small, connect with potential volunteers.

Canadians in their 20s and 30s are one of the hardest demographics to reach. Timeraiser makes it easy to connect the organizations that need with the skilled and energetic volunteers that would make the difference they are trying to achieve.

Check out the timeraiser video:

The three main objectives of the Timeraiser are to:

  • Connect your organization to skilled and energetic volunteers
  • Raise awareness about your organization in the community
  • Bring together the arts and not-for-profit sectors to create community connections
To date the Timeraiser has worked with over 250 charitable organizations.
By the end of 2009 the Timeraiser will have:
  • Generated over 51,000 volunteer hours
  • Invested $300,000 in the careers of emerging artists
  • Engaged 5,000 Canadians to pick up a cause
  • Worked with 250+ charitable organizations
Taking the total financial and social community impact into account, the program’s return on investment is estimated to approach 220%, generating nearly $2.20 in ‘social good’ for each dollar invested in programming.
Check out this brief Timeraiser agency workshop video to understand what is involved in becoming a Timeraiser agency.
If you depend on volunteers to deliver your programs and services, maybe you should consider giving them a call.
On the other hand, if you have thought about or always wanted to volunteer some of your time to a worthy cause in your community, but were not sure how or where to begin, maybe you should check out the Timeraiser website:
Here, you can research the agencies that are supported and seek out relevant and meaningful volunteer opportunities that just might appeal to you and your gang of youngsters. Check it out, give it a few minutes of your time. We think is one of the single most innovative social purpose propagation ideas we have seen in a long, long while. We hope that you get inspired to roll up your sleeves and dive right in.
Better still, if you can squeeze in the time, maybe you and your kids can attend a Timeraiser event in your city. Who knows, it could be the start of something wonderful. Timeraiser is one of the most impressive social purpose ventures we have seen in a while.
For more information on innovative social purpose ventures, check out FRANK’s Social Innovation Blog published by the good idea people at FRANK Ideas and Execution Inc. If you are interested in the notion of harnessing the power of your skills and talents towards to the achievement of goals for the common good, maybe you are a New Radical. Check out Julia Moulden’s book “we are the new Radicals“: A Manifesto for Reinventing Yourself and Saving the World, published internationally by McGraw-Hill, New York (2008).
Feeling motivated to do some good ol’ community volunteer work for the common good? Get involved.
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