Volunteering to Support Fundraising Toolkit

When it comes to fundraising for CNIB, the possibilities are endless! From marathon running to garage sales and everything in between, supporting CNIB has never been easier. Whatever you choose to do, you’ll be making a lasting impact in the lives of Canadians who are blind or partially sighted and supporting CNIB as it helps Canadians see beyond vision loss.

This toolkit is available as a WORD document at the bottom of the page. We have done this to make the material as accessible as possible - and to allow people from different organizations to be able to adapt and tailor the toolkit for their needs. If you do so, please provide an acknowledgement that CNIB created the original document.

We’d like to thank everyone who made it possible for us to offer this toolkit in accessible, alternative formats - our braille room volunteers for creating braille toolkits, our library volunteers for producing audio copies and Jim Parkin for formatting large print versions.

To request an accessible (braille, audio, large print) copy, please email ontario.comms@cnib.ca.

Fundraising Ideas

There are lots of ways to raise money at your fundraising event – including entry fees, pledges, sponsorships, auctions, matching donations and more. Check out the list below for a few fundraising ideas, and be sure to let us know if you need more help. Don’t hesitate to call the CNIB Contact Centre at 1-800-563-2642 or email us at info@cnib.ca.

Fundraise for Us Participant Guide: Find out which fundraising "eventures" are best suited to your skills and personality. We’ve got ideas for everyone!

Dining in the Dark: Based on a restaurant concept popularized in Paris and New York, Dining in the Dark is an event where your guests experience a meal without the benefit of sight. Invite friends over for a delicious meal they’ll enjoy while wearing eye masks.

It’s a memorable way to raise money for CNIB and boost awareness for the challenges faced by people living with vision loss at the same time.

The link above is for creating a Dining-in-the-Dark event in your home.

Another option is to partner with a local restaurant. If you know a small restaurant owner of a mid-range to luxury restaurant, you might prefer to hold your event there. We can help you learn how to set this up.

ON East – Penny.Bagnell@cnib.ca
GTA, ON North, ON West – Monika.Fox@cnib.ca

Join Team CNIB: Thinking about running a race or tackling a triathlon? Why not support CNIB at the same time? Join Team CNIB, and every race you run becomes an exciting opportunity to raise funds and awareness for a great cause – and add a meaningful new component to your active lifestyle.

Fundraise in Memory or Honour of a Loved One: Fundraising in honour of someone you’ve lost can be a rewarding way to pay tribute to your loved one, make a difference in the lives of Canadians with vision loss, and bring comfort in times of grief.

Participate in CNIB Night Steps Event in your Area: Family, friends and pets are welcome at CNIB Night Steps, a fundraising walk under the stars. Funds raised will help CNIB ensure more individuals who are blind or partially sighted have an opportunity to experience CNIB’s Lake Joseph Centre, an accessible lakefront facility in the heart of Muskoka. Pledges will also bring the joy of reading to adults and children living with vision loss, and every gift will empower members of our community with the skills, confidence and opportunities they need to fully participate in life.

For a sneak peek at CNIB Night Steps, watch the CNIB Night Steps: Join us under the stars video.

Participate in CNIB Night Steps My Way Event: Can't find a Night Steps event in your area? Dates of current Night Steps events don't work for you? No problem! Night Steps My Way is for you! We are so excited that you are interested in taking on this great challenge. Like all other Night Steps events we challenge each participant to raise a minimum of $100, but unlike other events, you choose when and where you would like to complete your walk. From a 5-km around the block by yourself, to putting together a big team to walk around a local park, it is up to you! But, we are here to support you.

ON East – Penny.Bagnell@cnib.ca
GTA, ON North, ON West – Monika.Fox@cnib.ca

The link below will allow you to create a customizable, free, online fundraising page. Personalize it to reflect you and your event, then start promoting your activity to your friends and family, and generate funds for CNIB.

Create a new event.
Who says organizing a fundraising event needs to be complicated? Just follow these simple steps to event planning success:

Promoting your fundraiser
Building awareness of your fundraising event will make it a lot more successful. Here are our top five tips for promoting your event – whether it’s a golf tournament, garage sale, dance, dinner party or anything in between!

Create posters and flyers
Create a poster or flyer that lists all the details of your event – who, what, why, when and where – and display them in your community before and during the event. After you Register Your Event we can send you our logo for your materials.

Use online promotion
Use your own email lists or try to source email lists (like from your gym or workplace) to inform and invite participants. Go online and search for community blogs and e-calendars where you can list your event, and set up a group on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. And don't forget to create a CNIB online fundraising page to help you promote.

Take advantage of any other events happening in your community. If your fundraising event is scheduled to take place soon after another event in your area, ask the event organizers for permission to display materials to promote your own event.

Get sponsored
Partner with local companies, shops and restaurants in your community to help reach out to more people. Promotion can be done on their website, in-store by displaying flyers and posters, and even through their customer newsletters and mailings. Sponsor companies can also donate equipment, services, prizes, food and beverages for your event.

Tell the media
Working with the media is a great way to spread the word. Contact your local CNIB office or media contact and we’ll be happy to provide you with templates for press releases to help get you started.
Register your event
Create your event on our Fundraise for Us page.

Find a place and secure your date
Decide on your venue before you do anything else. If you need to book a school gym, community centre or restaurant, you’ll want to plan ahead. Make sure you hold your event at a time when potential guests are available. Ensure your date doesn’t coincide with a holiday or big game.

Rally the troops
You may need a hand organizing and promoting your event. Get help by recruiting volunteers from your network of family, friends and colleagues. Ask if they can offer goods or services at a discount or for free.

Figure out finances
Set a fundraising goal along with a realistic budget. Try to keep expenses as low as possible, so a higher percentage of the money you raise can go to the people who need it.

Plan to succeed
Create a to-do list and assign tasks to make sure everything gets done. Find out if you need insurance or permits and make sure you show us a copy of your permits.

Network, network, network
Tell everyone you know about what you’re doing – friends, family, colleagues, people at the gym, parents at your child’s school, Facebook friends, Twitter followers. They’ll tell people too, and word will spread fast.

Have a blast
Enjoy your event! This is when all your planning pays off. Don’t forget to take photos!

Tally the total
After your event, add up the funds raised and submit them to your CNIB contact within 45 days. Please allow four weeks from that date for tax receipts to be issued.

Say thanks
Here's the most important part: acknowledge everyone who participated in or supported your activity and let them know how much you appreciate their help. They will be proud to hear how much money was raised!

Submit your funds
You can submit the funds you’ve raised to your local CNIB office or our national office at:

Community Giving
1929 Bayview Avenue
Toronto, ON M4G 3E8

We want to know how your event went – send us your pictures to info@cnib.ca and tell us what your goal was and the grand total of funds you raised. Then start planning your next "eventure"!
Follow the tips below and your fundraiser is guaranteed to be a big success!

Aim high!
Set a target slightly above the minimum amount you need or can be satisfied with. Then forget the minimum and aim for that high target!

Ask for support instead of money
Support, after all, is what you’re after. Money is just a means of making that happen. Approach your friends, family and coworkers with that in mind. Let them know that their money will go towards support for Canadians who are blind or partially sighted.

Spread the word
Use email, Facebook and Twitter to open a conversation about your objective and create a CNIB online fundraising page to keep that conversation going with progress updates.

Be persistent and positive
If your requests for support go unanswered, send out a friendly reminder phone call or email. Being persistent and positive even when you’re not getting the results you want can help bump up your fundraising and inspire others!

Get creative
Do you have a hidden talent you can use? Think outside the box. Ask your company to match employee donations dollar for dollar; hold a bake sale to raise funds; or ask your friends and colleagues to join your team and do some fundraising of their own!

Keep it safe
It’s all about common sense. You want your event to have an impact and be talked about for days, so ensure the safety of your guests by following the measures applicable to your activity.

Let your supporters know the good they're doing
They're funding services to ensure people who are blind or partially sighted have the confidence, skills and opportunities to fully participate in life. It's a powerful message! Refer to the Where Your Money Goes page for more information.
Get involved with CNIB, and show your community that you’re not just any company – you’re a company that cares. By supporting CNIB, you can unify your team, boost morale, have some fun, and make a difference in your community at the same time.

As an Employer

When it comes to getting your company involved with CNIB, the only limits are your imagination.

Marketing with a message
Working with CNIB to develop a cause-related marketing campaign on a national or regional basis can:
  • Enable you to achieve your corporate social responsibility goals.
  • Align your brand with one of Canada’s oldest and most trusted community charities.
  • Engage your customers in the cause and your organization.
  • Bring your staff together.
  • Help Canadians who are blind or partially sighted of all ages.
Sponsorship opportunities
CNIB offers a range of sponsorship opportunities to suit any size company – everything from marketing materials, to educational packages, vision aids and events.

Sponsorships at CNIB can bring countless rewards, including: 
  • Generating positive, widespread PR for your company.
  • Helping you appeal to your target audience.
  • Inspiring your staff.
  • Demonstrating your commitment to your community.
  • Increasing consumer awareness of your brand.
Corporate gifts
Making a corporate gift is not only a powerful way to support Canadians who are blind or partially sighted, but it also brings fantastic tax benefits. Here are just a few ways that you and your employees can give to CNIB: 
  • Donate as a company: By making a corporate donation to CNIB, you’ll help people who are blind or partially sighted of all ages, and you’ll also receive tax relief by deducting the amount donated from pre-tax profits at the end of the fiscal year.
  • Payroll giving: Through payroll giving, your employees can give a small but powerful donation to CNIB through each pay cheque they receive, or every other pay cheque. Even a gift of $5 can make a huge difference.
  • Donate a day of pay: By starting a donate-a-day-of-pay program at your company, your staff can rally together to support CNIB on a day of your choosing. You can even make an event of it and use the day as a team-building opportunity, complete with educational and awareness workshops from our specialists.
Gifts in kind
Making a gift in kind, including donations or your products or services, is another great way that you can support CNIB through your company. It allows you to not only make a cost-effective gift, but to give in a way that’s relevant to your organization, using resources you already have.

CNIB is always in need of gifts in kind including:
  • Technology and office equipment
  • Services for events, such as catering, PR, organizing and entertainment
  • Contracting, renovations and building maintenance services
  • Professional development training and resources.
These are just some of the things CNIB needs on a regular basis in order to keep our organization running smoothly so we can continue to support Canadians who are blind or partially sighted. Your gift in kind can make an incredible difference for our organization.

As an Employee

There are many ways to support CNIB right from within your workplace, and the CNIB team is always here to help.

Fundraise at work
Fundraising for a cause you care about at work is not only a great way to make a difference in the lives of others, but it’s also a great way to bring your team together and make 9-to-5 a lot more fun!

Holding a fundraiser in your workplace can be as simple as collecting a toonie from each of your colleagues, or as elaborate as holding a crazy-dress workplace fashion show for CNIB.

Here are a few ideas for great workplace fundraisers:
  • Personal services auction – Ask your colleagues to donate their time and skills for a personal services auction to raise money for CNIB. They could offer to babysit, mow the lawn, fix a leaky tap, paint a room, help in the garden or any number of other services.
  • ‘Spot the baby’ wall – Ask your colleagues to bring in a baby picture, then put them up on a wall and have your colleagues make a small donation to guess who’s who.
  • Dare the boss – See if your boss is up for having a little fun for a great cause. Are they willing to wear a silly outfit to work? To shave their head? To sing a goofy song in front of the whole staff? Ask your colleagues to fundraise for CNIB and have your boss carry out a crazy dare if they reach the target amount – all in good fun of course!
  • Inter-department sports match – Let your colleagues let out their competitive sides by setting up an inter-department sports match – whether it’s hockey, football, basketball or any sport you choose. Have spectators make a donation to watch the big game or charge a fee to enter.
  • Late-for-meetings box – Set up a box and have your colleagues donate a small amount (like a loonie or toonie) every time they’re late for a meeting.
Even more ideas:
  • Raffle or 50/50 draw
  • Lunchtime bingo
  • Dunk tank
  • Used book sale
  • Coffee morning
  • Car wash
  • Toonie drive
  • Baked good sale
  • Speaker lunch
Below, you’ll find answers to the most common questions we’re asked about fundraising for CNIB. If you can’t find the information you’re looking for here, please don’t hesitate to call the CNIB Helpline at 1-800-563-2642 or email us at info@cnib.ca.

If I’m holding a fundraiser for CNIB, what do I need to know about tax receipts?

There are a few things you’ll need to know about tax receipts before you hold your fundraiser, the most important of which is whether or not your event’s supporters will be eligible to receive them. It’s important to note, however, that it’s your decision whether or not to issue tax receipts to your supporters – even if they are eligible. Either way, you just need to make sure you tell your supporters beforehand if they’ll be receiving a tax receipt.

I never received my tax receipt for an event I attended. Can you reissue it?

We're sorry you didn't receive your tax receipt. Please email info@cnib.ca and include your full name, telephone number, mailing address, gift amount and what event you were involved with. We will look into it and get in touch shortly.

I think you made a mistake on my tax receipt and I need a new one.

Please accept our apologies for that mistake. Please email info@cnib.ca and include your full name, telephone number, mailing address and gift amount. We will look into it and get in touch shortly.

Will you recognize me in any way for hosting a fundraising event?

CNIB recognizes groups and individuals hosting fundraising events in a few different ways, like “thank you” letters, certificates, and public recognition (such as acknowledging your support on our website) for those who contribute larger sums. Though we are incredibly grateful for every person who generously devotes their time and energy to raise funds for CNIB, please understand that it’s not financially possible for us to offer “thank you” materials of this kind to everyone who supports us.

Will CNIB pay for my upfront event expenses? 

Unfortunately, as a charity, CNIB is not in a position to pay for the cost of an individual’s event expenses – even if the funds will be returned after the event is over. We also can’t reimburse you for your event expenses after-the-fact. We would suggest that you make a detailed list of all your event expenses as you go, then reimburse yourself for those expenses from the money you fundraise.

I want to hold a gambling event/raffle. Is there anything I need to know about gambling laws for an event like this?

Yes, gaming and lottery fundraising events (like bingos, 50/50 draws, raffles or games of chance) often have special considerations that require permits. Please visit the Canadian Gaming Association website for more information. CNIB will not endorse/support or accept donations from events that are not able to be licensed.

Legally, all raffles must be registered with your local municipality. After that, there is a processing time of approximately eight to 10 weeks to receive a raffle license and your prize cannot change afterwards. CNIB will not apply for a raffle license unless the net proceeds to the organization will meet or exceed $50,000. We recommend that instead, you hold a promotional draw. You can run a draw without acquiring a license, but you must offer the tickets for free, asking instead for a donation for the ticket.

I have an event idea but need help pulling it together. Can you help me?

By visiting our Getting Started page, you’ll find a range of resources to help you organize a fun and successful fundraiser, from event ideas, to tips on planning and promoting your event.

Once you’ve chosen what kind of event you want to plan, visit our event registration page to register your event so that we can assist you further.

Do I have to register my fundraising event with you?

Yes, we strongly encourage everyone who holds a fundraising event for CNIB to create an event. That way we can help answer questions you may have about finances and tax receipting, and guide you in organizing your event – or just cheer you on along the way. (Please note that the amount of assistance we’ll be able to offer you will depend on the capacity of our team and the size of your event, but we’ll do our absolute best to help!)

Can you send information about my event to your donors?

Unfortunately, we are not able to send information about individual events to our donors.

Can you help me find sponsors for my event?

We will be happy to work with you to brainstorm ideas about what sponsors may be worth reaching out to, or give you tips on how to be successful in getting sponsors on board, but we can’t directly approach businesses or corporations for you.

Can you promote my event?

We would love to add your event to our Event Listings page. But unfortunately, we are not in a position to provide promotional materials or media outreach for your event.

Can I put your logo on my event materials?

After you register your event and it’s approved, we can provide you with our logo and brand guidelines.

I would like to fundraise at work. How can I get started?

Visit our Get Your Company Involved page to learn about the many ways you can support CNIB with fundraisers in your workplace, whether you're an employee or an employer.

After my event is over, how and when do I submit my funds to CNIB?

Please submit the funds you’ve raised within 45 days of the event taking place. Please note that under Canada Revenue Agency Canada guidelines, CNIB must have received donations by the last business day of December (or donations must be postmarked prior to December 31) in order for your supporters to be eligible for income tax receipting in that calendar year.

You can submit the funds you’ve raised to your local CNIB office or our national office at:

Community Giving
1929 Bayview Avenue
Toronto, ON M4G 3E8

Learn more about tax receipts on our All About Tax Receipts page.

For more information, please contact:

ON East – Penny.Bagnell@cnib.ca
GTA, ON North, ON West – Monika.Fox@cnib.ca