We can’t say enough about our Community Space. This is the central hub where folks can come by for a hot meal, hot shower, fresh clothes, and to build relationships with people to grow their support network.
This space is invaluable to the folks who access its services every day. And, this is why our biggest fundraiser of the year, our Coldest Night of the Year walkathon, sees money raised going directly back into the operations and programs in the Community Space. For a lot of folks, this space is so much more than a warm, indoor place to meet daily necessities – it can also be the first step towards finding their unique pathways out of poverty.
Relationships are everything in the Community Space.
While things like meals and showers might be what first brings people through the doors, they soon learn what other programs might help them along. We offer programs like housing, employment, and mental health, to name a few, which help uncover what barriers people are facing. As staff work to build relationships with people to help find their strengths, folks can start recognizing how best to address these root causes.
No two experiences with houselessness are alike. Building positive relationships can help people recognize their strengths and resiliency – ultimately helping them find their path out of poverty. And, when they’re ready to take those first steps in their journey, Bissell Centre staff help find the resources they need to live a good quality of life.
Every journey is unique – and everyone gives back differently.
Doug has been coming to the Community Space for a few years now. In his own words, it’s his home away from home. The relationships he’s built are like family to him. And like any good family, he finds ways to give back.
The main way Doug gives back to the Community Space is by volunteering in the Community Closet, helping folks find new clothes. Other times, Doug walks around the encampments nearby to see if anyone needs any help. Any way that Doug can help, he wants to offer it to the community that’s given him so much.
“If it weren’t for Bissell Centre, I think we’d all be lost,” says Doug. “They’re helping me out, so I want to help them out too.”
How you can help too.
This year’s Coldest Night of the Year fundraising walk sees all proceeds raised going directly back to the Community Space to support its invaluable operations and programs. Start a team, raise some money, and bring out the whole family for a walk downtown on February 24, 2024. Thank you to all our event sponsors, including our Lead Sponsor Capital Power for providing the single largest sponsorship contribution we have ever received.
Originally published February 7, 2023
Updated January 15, 2024
Coldest Night of the Year is coming up quick – and no doubt this year has a lot of fundraising events in store. So whether you’re joining our February 24 Walk for Bissell or if you’ll be raising funds through an event of your own, there are a couple of things to keep in mind when you’re looking to raise money to make a difference in your community.
Check out these top seven fundraising tips and be sure to share your own tips on social media.
Work Smarter, Not Harder
Many hands make light work. Recruit as many people onto your team as you can. More people can help you reach your team’s fundraising goal faster!
You won’t get a donation if you don’t ask for it. Sometimes the biggest donations come from the most unexpected places. Go beyond friends and family to ask co-workers, teachers, favourite businesses, your dentist, your lawyer, your boss or even your vet. Don’t be scared! Send them an email with your link and you’ll be surprised how many will happily contribute to your campaign.
Write a short message and personalize it before sending it directly to each person via email, text, or direct message. People are much more likely to respond to something addressed to them. But this is only one touchpoint that can help you convince your friends, family, coworkers, and larger network to contribute to your cause.
Post On Social Media
Post on all your platforms often to reach as many people as possible. Don’t forget to include a link directly to your fundraising page. Use photos from previous events or even a photo of you participating in a campaign. Ask others to share with their followers to increase your reach further. And make sure to tag everyone relevant in the post and include any special hashtags for the event – in this case it’s #WalkforBissell.
Share Your Why
People are more likely to show their support when they understand why this cause is important to you. Tell the story of how you got involved with your cause and why you care about it so much. It helps people understand why they should care too.
Did they say they would donate, but the event is only a few days away and you haven’t seen a donation in their name? Politely ask them again. They won’t be annoyed – they likely just forgot.
Say Thank You
Thank every person individually who donates to you – and as soon as possible. After the event, share details of how much you raised and post photos of you participating. Write a message you can send to all your donors to update them on how the event went, how much money was raised, and most of all, why their contribution was so important.
Have any other fundraising tips to recommend? Any huge fundraising victories you want to share? Let’s keep the conversation on social media. Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Instagram and Twitter, and we hope to see you when we walk through downtown Edmonton on February 24, 2024!
Originally published on January 20, 2023
Updated January 15, 2024
Spending a night outside in Edmonton’s harsh winters can take its toll on people. In 2021, it’s estimated that 222 people experiencing houselessness in Edmonton died – many from avoidable deaths such as from exposure. That is a 70 per cent increase from the year before. Between 2021 and 2022, there were 786 reported cases of extreme frostbite, with 91 leading to amputations.
For countless Edmontonians, there is a very real prospect that they may experience houselessness. The Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser walk through downtown gives a small glimpse into what experiencing houselessness can be like.
This Year’s Walk for Bissell
Our goal in 2024 is to raise upwards of $200,000, after last year’s successful walk where we raised $190,000. Walkers are coming together on February 24, 2024, for either the two or five kilometre walk through downtown Edmonton – with teams raising funds since December and continuing to raise funds until one month after the walk.
Not only is this a fun way to bring awareness to a serious issue in our city, but you can also see directly how those funds raised make a difference to the community. This is the sixth year that Bissell Centre is taking part in Coldest Night of the Year.
The funds raised for the downtown Coldest Night of the Year walk go directly back to Bissell Centre’s programs, ensuring that our city’s most vulnerable have the services they need to live with a better quality of life.
A History of Helping Those Experiencing Houselessness
Coldest Night of the Year was established in 2011 when three Ontario Ministries wanted to bring attention to what folks who are experiencing houselessness need to endure over Canada’s harsh winters. They started with a goal to raise $40,000 – by the end of the walk, they had raised well over $111,000.
This fundraiser was quickly adopted across Canada and the US, with 166 different locations hosting their own walks with funds going back to local community organizations. In 2022, more than $12 million was raised by more than 31,000 individual walkers in Canada and the US.
You can still contribute to this amazing fundraiser. Donate to a team (or start your own!), donate to someone walking, or support us directly at Bissell Centre by donating to the Walk with Bissell team. Check out our local event site and contribute today. With your help, we can reach our $200,000 goal and continue serving those most vulnerable in our city.