Insights, APEX Spotlight, EventsPOSTED February 7, 2020

Rising Stars to the rescue

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rising stars

At Apex, we try and give back some of our time, whether it is for professional development, events or to join different committees. Kevin Behar joined a volunteer committee called the Rising Stars, which was created by Make-A-Wish® Canada. See how the committee came up with a new event to help raise money to grant wishes for children with critical illnesses.

So, you probably don’t know this but in 2019 I was vice-chair of the Rising Stars committee – a young professional volunteer group in support of Make-A-Wish Canada. Our goal was to engage young professionals in Toronto to create a new and meaningful event for Make-A-Wish and to raise funds and awareness to help grant life-changing wishes.

Now if you are not familiar with Make-A-Wish’s mission, in short, they grant wishes to children with critical illnesses to bring them hope, strength, and joy during a really difficult time. Last year they granted over granted over 700 wishes in 2019.

Late 2018, I was approached to be a part of a new young professional volunteer committee for Make-A-Wish. The team at Make-A-Wish wasn’t just asking anyone to join, so I was quite honoured to be selected as the vice-chair and help form, shape and lead this new committee!

Led by a wish kid alumni, the committee started out with four dedicated and passionate members. As word got out to the community and more people learned about this amazing opportunity, we had over 20 dedicated committee members on board rather quickly. Members were referred to the committee in a variety of different ways including word of mouth and in large part, by Make-A-Wish’s senior leadership volunteer committee called the Corporate Cabinet,  which is a group of pace setting, leadership volunteers, comprised of skilled, influential leaders across all major sectors who lend their time and talent to help raise funds and awareness for Make-A-Wish. Not to mention, Linda Andross, one of our Managing Partners, is a part of the Corporate Cabinet.

How did we make it work with everyone having a job, extracurriculars, and whatever else we have in life?

Knowing the creation of a committee was a big task, the Executive Committee, comprised of six leadership members, including myself and two staff from Make-A-Wish, created different sub-committees to help organize the members. This structure helped give the members have a clearer idea of what they would be doing to make our eventa huge success. The sub-committees were focused around Public Relations, Creative, Logistics, and Sponsorship. From there, volunteer’s self selected the sub-committee that best matched their skill set and expertise and met once a month. These monthly meetings were a great opportunity for the whole committee to come together to see what needed to be done and how everyone could help.  

Tasks included planning the actual event, finding a venue, prospecting and securing sponsors, selling tickets, creating compelling marketing assets including a website and creating a marketing plan to promote the event.

Tall task for a bunch of first timers?
Did the event succeed?
Keep reading!

The Rising Stars Committee came together to put on A Night Under the Stars and hosted it at Berkeley Church. Our goal initially was to raise between $10K to $25K for Make-A-Wish in year one. Well…we raised over $60,000 in revenue and had more than 300 people attended the inaugural event! The event was pitched to several different media outlets and we created our own Facebook page and Instagram account, which helped amplify A Night Under the Stars. We’re pretty proud of our results considering it was our first event as a bunch of young professionals (who had never worked together before) pulled off through volunteering our time and energy, unified by a common goal to raise funds to help these kids experience their one-true wish.

As I finish this up, I want to thank all the sponsors and those who gave us in-kind donations as we would not have been able to do this without them. Of course, our title sponsor was Northern Financial Group – and then we had the Collette Foundation, Cresa, CSN Collision Centres, TD, No Fixed Address, Jelly Belly, Tito’s Vodka, Steam Whistle Brewing, Moosehead, Levenswater Gin, Thornbury Beer & Cider, Hey Y’All, Shiny Apple Cider, Prairie Girl Bakery, Kernels Popcorn, Dutch Boys Chocolate, Give and Go, Grape Brands, Panago Pizza, Pantry, Smoke’s Poutine, Subway, 10Tation Food, and Paladin Security. And for me personally, I want to thank Linda Andross and APEX for affording me this chance and for buying a huge block of tickets!

What’s next? We keep using this momentum and keep planning this year’s event.

Want to know what it is? I can’t give up that information, but keep checking back to our Rising Stars for our new event planned for this year!

Kevin Behar is a Consultant at APEX PR.

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