Giving the Gift of Time

Like many people, I sometimes complain about how social media can bring out the worst in people.  But social media also brings out the very best in us.  I’ve seen it Danny Brown‘s remarkable 12for12K campaign, in the two Twestivals I’ve attended in Vancouver – and in the latest charitable event that’s happening this Thursday, September 24th at the Roundhouse in Yaletown – the second Vancouver Timeraiser.

Timeraiser was started in 2002 by a group of friends who wanted to find meaningful, relevant volunteer opportunities in their home community.  Seven years and 10 Timeraisers later, the initiative has grown into an annual event that operates in six cities across Canada.

It’s a charity with a twist, using a silent art auction to raise not money, but something equally as valuable.  Time.  That precious commodity we all have so little of, and is so desperately needed by cultural, social and health agencies that are chronically short of volunteers.

Participants meet with representatives from more than 25 diverse agencies – including Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the Canadian Mental Health Association, Operation Eyesight, Special Olympics and the Urban Native Youth Association – and match their skills to the needs of the organizations.  Once attendees determine where they want to get involved, they bid anywhere from 20-125 volunteer hours on artwork by some of Vancouver’s most talented emerging artists.  Winning bidders then have 12 months to complete their pledge before they receive the artwork as a reminder of their goodwill.

It’s a unique concept, and it’s captured the imagination of many across the country.  So far, Timeraisers have prompted 3,600 Canadians to volunteer, generated more than 45,000 volunteer hours for some 250 different charities, and invested $300,000 in the careers of cutting-edge artists.

Admission is $20.  I’m going to attend.  I haven’t volunteered in years.  It’s about time I did.  After all, I belong here now:-)

How about you?   For more info, or to register, visit the Timeraiser site here.

One thought on “Giving the Gift of Time

  1. Hi Cathy,

    How did the Timeraiser Vancouver go for you?

    Our non-profit was showcased in the 2009 edition and we got so many volunteers from this initiative. I am in love with the Timeraiser idea since its first year in Vancouver.

    Take care,

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