How many years have you done a birthday campaign for a non-profit?
This past year was our 6th year.
Which organizations have you supported with your birthday?
We’ve supported Wellspring for 4 of those years, Opportunity International 1 year and Petros Network Canada the other. All focused on education or job creation in developing countries which is what I believe in and am passionate about when it comes to giving and development.
What inspires you to do this year after year?
My background and work is in international development and charity so have a big passion for it and know how valuable a dollar is and the impact it has. I won’t ever be the person living in those countries or doing the work on the ground (or at least I don’t think so…) so it’s a way my wife and I can live out our values from a distance in some small way. We also see it as a chance to bring up important issues with friends who may not think about them as much and to inspire giving – which is a good thing!
Tell us a bit about Brady’s Bonspiel.
Haha. Well the big idea was that it would be a curling tournament with teams and an all day affair. Not only is that hard to plan and not everyone likes to curl but the ice is often gone in April in most rinks so it’s not even possible so the 1st year it was just a barbeque and the 2nd year was the only year that we actually curled. It happened to be close to my birthday – two weeks before – and people were giving me donations and saying ‘happy birthday’ so I just kind of went with it. So Brady’s Bonspiel is really more like Brady’s Birthday now which I think is just better for everyone. But I’m keeping the name as it’s a funny story.
On average how much have you been able to raise each year?
In the 6 years we’ve been doing it we’ve raised $30,000 – so $5,000 per year. Now half of that is my wife and my giving as we ‘save up’ throughout the year and then match the donations of our friends.
Do you find your family and friends are happy to get on board with the causes that you choose to support through your birthday campaigns?
Yeah I have actually. It helps that my friends and family are pretty naturally generous people but especially now that I’ve done it a few years in a row it’s pretty easy to get the funds. And supporting a great cause like Wellspring makes it easy to ‘sell’ as well.
For those who are considering doing something similar for their birthday or other campaign, what advice would you give them as they start their own fundraising?
Try it out. Start small. Lead the way. It costs nothing nowadays to try and raise funds for a cause you believe in other than a bit of time so if you’re thinking about it at all I’d say give it a shot. Don’t set a huge goal as you won’t feel as good about it and neither will the friends and family who supported you so set a really reasonable goal – you can always go over it! Be sure to share why you are supporting and put some of your own skin in the game with a donation of your own, hand crafted rewards or ‘perks’ as thank you’s, or something else that shows you are invested in it as well and not just expecting others to give to and for you.