SwimBC is pleased to announce that, beginning with the 2013-2014 season, Swimathon fundraising events will no longer rely on 19th-century technology (pen and paper), but will move into the 21st century with the introduction of electronic online fundraising.
Swimming Canada has recently entered into an agreement with Raising Spirit - a group that has developed and implemented fundraising campaigns for a number of different not-for-profits - to provide the technical backbone for all interested member clubs across the country to greatly increase the fundraising capacity of their Swimathon campaigns.
This system was tested by SwimOntario in the 2012-2013 season, and the results there were fantastic - more clubs took part, and funds raised per club were up by almost 50%. And in doing so, the volunteer effort at the club level to administer this was reduced by at least 75%.
The basic overview of the new Swimathon is as follows:
- Clubs will indicate their interest in participating to SwimBC and identify their Swimathon Coordinator (note that the old "pen-and-paper" option will no longer be offered)
- Swimathon Coordinators will be required to participate in a webinar to understand their role and responsibilities in the new process
- The club will decide when it would like to do its Swimathon; for 2013-2014, clubs will have the choice of running it either in the fall (October to December) or winter/spring (February to April).
- Each club will get a dedicated Swimathon page (sample here) where they can display a fundraising leaderboard, total funds raised, goals of their Swimathon campaign, etc.
- Each swimmer participating in the Swimathon will be given a unique URL that they are to share with family and friends; those clicking on that link will be taken to a "Mikey Swimmer's Swimathon" page where they can enter the amount they wish to donate, fill in contact and credit card information (contact info would be used solely for identification/tax purposes), and optionally request a tax receipt.
- Once the "submit" button is pressed, the donation is attached to that swimmer's Swimathon total, and a tax receipt will be emailed to the donor at the end of the Swimathon campaign
- The swimmer will receive notification of who has made donations and will be able to send personalized "thank-you" messages to all donors
- The Raising Spirit system will keep track of the amount raised by each individual - this can be accessed and exported at any time by that club's Swimathon coordinator.
Implemented correctly and fully utilized, it is not unreasonable to see a 100% increase or even more in Swimathon donations for a given club. The ease of sending the notice to more people, coupled with the low-friction payment method (credit/debit card versus looking for cash or cheque) makes this a vast improvement over the system that has remained unchanged over the past 30+ years.
We encourage all SwimBC clubs to give this strong consideration.
Please contact SwimBC's Office Manager, Carrie Matheson, to indicate your club's desire to take part.