Tour the Hills Cycling Event, In Support of Cancer Assistance Services of Halton Hills
So many of us in the events industry were and continue to be impacted directly by the pandemic, and along with us, charities have been struggling as well. We wanted to highlight one of our clients, The Cancer Assistance Services of Halton Hills, and how they cleverly adapted to make their annual fundraising cycling event “Tour the Hills” as impactful as years pre-covid. In this case study, we will review the background of the event, the amazing team behind it, and highlight how choosing CCN, powered by Interpodia, enabled a brilliant success story.
The History of Cancer Assistance Services of Halton Hills
The Cancer Assistance Service of Halton Hills (CAShh) is a charity-based organization that provides support and hope to cancer patients within Halton hills.
It was established in the year 2000 when the local Canadian Cancer Society Office was closed, and it quickly grew to a team of over 200 volunteers. Their services are funded through the financial support raised from community events like Tour the Hills, CAShh fundraisers, and personal bequests.
Their services can be very specific to the client’s needs, but broadly they offer free and private transportation services to cancer treatment appointments, equipment walkers, canes, wigs, and mobility chairs, and can even provide assistance for palliative and respite care. CAShh is also partnered with other nonprofits for emotional support, nanny networks, food services, and reiki massage. You can see why every dollar that is raised through the Tour the Hills cycling event is crucial in funding this important work for their community.
Background of the “Tour the Hills” Cycling Event
The Cancer Assistance Services of Halton Hills (CAShh) became a client of Interpodia for its inaugural cycling event in 2019. They found us through looking at similar charity cycling events, loved that we were based in Canada, and that we met all of her business needs and more. The event’s goal was to be the keystone fundraising driver for the charity and to increase their reach and awareness beyond the borders of the Halton Hills. The inaugural event was a complete success with over 100 riders and more than 37k raised.
The event also provided fun for the whole family and spectators, with live music, food trucks, local retail exhibitors, and physiotherapists on-site for the riders to get massages post-ride! The local Tim Hortons also supported the event by offering free sandwiches, coffee, and donuts for the riders. This event really saw the community coming together to support those most in need. As you can imagine, the pandemic in 2020 created many obstacles for recreating this all-important event.
2020 was a very challenging year for all of us. The Cancer Assistance Services of Halton Hills adapted to the pandemic, like many of our other clients, by conducting a virtual event where registrants could run, cycle, or walk; and fundraise for CAShh at the same time. This opened the event to even more registrants who wouldn’t normally take part in the cycling, and they were able to raise over $17,000.
One of the key features that CCN was able to support as a registration partner, outside of event registration and waiver collection, was the inclusion of a charity page during the registration process. On this page, CAShh could tailor their messaging and use it as a promotional tool. Registrants were presented with two options to donate when signing up for Tour the Hills: they could donate themselves during registration and/or share their personalized fundraising page with their peers to donate. This personalized donation page is created automatically within the registration.
CCN also provides built-in social media sharing to allow registrants to share pledge pages within their social networks. These simple and streamlined processes made it easy for people to give and raise more funds for a good cause.
Another benefit for registrants and donors using platforms powered by Interpodia, is that the event can provide CRA, IRS, and HMRC compliant sequential tax receipts to donors, which can be used for tax purposes.
Adapting to the New Normal
For the 2021 event, CAShh managed to hold an in-person event through thoughtful planning and safety measures, which meant reigned back activities and amenities for spectators. Despite the challenge of uncertainty in its leadup, there was a great turnout of 142 riders, and they managed to raise over $82,000- an incredible feat! Along with pent-up demand from the cyclists from a year without events, the use of the right digital marketing firm paid off through their improved outreach outside of Halton Hills. When speaking to Julie Liddle, Director of Operations for CASHhh, she said the greatest challenges for the event were the check-in process for registrants and volunteers and trying to make it as safe as possible with minimal contact between registrants. Lessons learned for the next year include having a separate registration table for teams, and on the volunteer side, defining the event roles more clearly with the specific tasks required to support the event. CCN was able to assist in the switch to a virtual event, and one feature that helped boost engagement was the fundraising leaderboard. The digital leaderboard provides real-time totals of all the donations made to registrants’ pledge pages and can create a great sense of competition among individuals and teams for who can raise the most.
When asked what the biggest surprise for this year’s event was, Julie said ”The biggest surprise of the events this year is the turnout and the number of people that came from outside of Halton Hills. The number of funds raised by individuals was also a very exciting and unexpected feat for the organization. It shows that even with the pandemic there are a lot of people who are willing to give to charity.”
Planning for next year has already begun, with marketing beginning in March 2022. Leaving more time to increase outreach and hopefully increase fundraising. Next year they plan on mixing up the 75kn and 100km to peak rider interest. The team at CAShh is hopeful, like all of us, that they will be able to return to having exhibitors, music and food at next year’s event.
Q& A with Event Director, Julie Liddle
What were you looking for in a solution when you approached CCN?
When we decided to create this event, I started looking for a backend provider for event registration so we wouldn’t have to develop anything in-house, we needed to outsource the registration and payment processing to someone who could also manage individual and team charity fundraising infrastructure at the same time!
What is your favorite part of using CCN?
The CCN platform is not just great functionality, it helps make my job easier and speed up administration that would normally take hours. My favorite features are the ease of setup, the main dashboard which displays a summary of important metrics, and the reporting features for registration and accounting.
How has our solution helped since its implementation?
Interpodia made it so easy for me to administer this event! It makes administration as an event director so simple, and really requires 1 resource to manage so we have more money to spend on our charity’s services. It also simplifies the financial side of things.
What have you been most impressed with while working with Interpodia?
The responsiveness of the support team, including the founders of the business. For example, if I forgot how to do an offline donation, the customer service team would jump in quickly and show me how to do it. The team is really open to feedback, they really listened to me and made a few changes when it was needed, they were great to deal with.
Would you recommend using CCN?
I would highly recommend working with CCN to anyone, based on the fact that they are so user-friendly, have a great front end, and a very supportive group.
We really want to see charities do well as sports club activities and events return to their former glory. ImagineCanada.ca has reported that while demand sharply increased and maintains high, over half of charities are reporting a decline in revenues since the onset of the pandemic, with an average decline of 43%.
This is a great time as a sport organization or event organizer to take stock of your programs and see how you can integrate a charity partner into your events, clubs or activities. Why you may ask? Our recent article explores all the benefits of integrating a charity partner, from increased awareness to improved registrant engagement, to a renewed sense of camaraderie.
If you are interested in learning how to integrate a charity partner, reach out to us for a free consultation here.