If you’re an avid reader of our Customer Spotlights, you might remember Civilian Screen Printing from May. They were featured then for KW-Awesome, a fundraising campaign that aimed to help provide some much-needed relief for small businesses affected by the pandemic.

Their Online Fundraiser raised $17k for those businesses. But that’s not what we’re here to celebrate today. Because today, Civilian Screen Printing is involved with another fundraising initiative.

An initiative that’s just as needed, and just as worthy. An initiative that’s just as determined, and just as crucial to the wellbeing of the Waterloo Region community.

And an initiative that we’re sure will leave just as great an impact.

Without further ado, let’s dive into the fundraising campaign that’s sweeping through one Canadian town — and that’s, using cutting-edge technology and a whole lot of creativity, promising to boost its annual results.

The Background

Waterloo Region resident Sharon Gilroy-Dreher made a simple request to her Facebook network seven years ago: buy a pair of socks and help me make a difference.

It was October of 2013, and the request was made as a way to commemorate what would’ve been Sharon’s mother’s 80th birthday. 492 pairs of socks later, Sharon was able to give Out of the Cold Shelters a donation that came with a mighty impact — helping those who experienced or were at-risk of experiencing homelessness keep their feet warm, or their toes toasty, come winter.

The next year, Sharon repeated the request — and now, seven years later, it’s evolved into a full-fledged, high-impact annual campaign. One that the whole Waterloo Region community is always eager to participate in.

Last year, more than 100 businesses, teams, and schools took charge, organizing their own individual sock drives for the Toasty Toes campaign and causing the biggest waves yet. The result? More than 126,000 pairs of new socks handed to those in need over the past six years.

Mighty impact indeed.

Toasty Toes was ready to start up again with a jolt in 2020 — but then Covid-19 rendered its usual sock drives, which operated in-person, implausible. So Sharon and the whole community were left having to think on their feet.

That’s when Civilian Screen Printing stepped up to the plate.

The Fundraising Effort

Deciding to raise money instead of physical pairs of socks this year, Toasty Toes was all set to consider fundraising processes that could be executed digitally, making remote participation possible. Lucky for them, Civilian Screen Printing had a fully-stacked roster of remote-friendly capabilities at the ready — and, with their prior experience running an Online Fundraiser during the pandemic, they knew just how to wield it for maximum impact.

With the print shop and the Toasty Toes team in agreement about how to make this year’s campaign as successful as possible, Civilian Screen Printing got to work, setting up a custom Online Fundraising Store that people near and far could access.

Online Fundraising Store
Toasty Toes Online Fundraising Store Powered by InkSoft

It was simple, it was clear, and it was personalized. #TOASTYTOES2020 filled the header up top, the countdown for how long the campaign would be running for was listed underneath, and then there were the product options.

Seven in all, each available in black or white, and each boasting some form of Toasty Toes branding, the apparel, and accessories available were diverse enough to appeal to every type of buyer — and basic enough to appeal to every type of buyer.

T-shirts, hoodies, hats — they were all there. All available for order in an Online Fundraising Store, with proceeds raised going directly to the sock-buyers (the agencies that would help those experiencing or at-risk of experiencing homelessness get the socks they need).

The Online Fundraising Store is up and running at present (and will stay open for a campaign-record-breaking two months), meaning that community members and beyond have their pick of how they’d like to show up for this worthy cause. Virtually, of course. They can choose to donate directly to the Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation, or they can choose to purchase an item — or two, or three — from the Toasty Toes 2020 Online Store.

Two options for donations mean that 2020’s campaign is gearing up to raise even more funds — and warm even more toes — than the sock drives of years past. And that quick-thinking organizational pivot was made possible by creativity, determination, and the seamless technology of Online Stores.

Features to Emulate

In addition to offering the community multiple ways to show support, Sharon and the whole Toasty Toes team drew on three strong fundraising features to make 2020 a knockout campaign year.

Digital Marketing

In an effort to reach as many people as possible, both inside the community and outside of it, the team enacted social media pages and hashtags for the campaign. These digital marketing strategies, which include a full Twitter account, help to provide potential donors with the necessary information, links, and updates they need to make supporting the cause easy. Beyond just simplifying the process, these strategies also work to remind community members of the campaign, since it’ll be active for two months and apply urgency to incite more action.

Heartfelt Video

Using the platform of the Toasty Toes Twitter account, the campaign organizers were able to upload a video that hoped to catch the community’s attention — and generate an even wider response. Relying on a short but emphatic video of Sharon explaining the campaign, the cause, and this year’s changes, the goal was to pull more people in by connecting as people, rather than just as run-of-the-mill fundraiser messaging. Since the entirety of the initiative is happening virtually this year, this video helps to sustain the person-to-person element that might’ve otherwise been missing — as well as to remind viewers that their donation is important and impactful, even if they aren’t physically throwing a pair of socks into a collection bin.

E-Commerce Technology

By working with Civilian Screen Printing, the 2020 Toasty Toes campaign was also able to leverage the power of Online Fundraising Stores, offering their audience a smooth, quick, and highly shareable way to participate. Having the right technology is integral to driving optimal results — especially this year when virtual operations are all operations. With 24/7 access, a painless checkout experience, and a clear (but customizable) way to support the cause, the Toasty Toes 2020 Online Fundraising Store is providing the organizers — and their community — an easy way to level up and inspire greater impact amid the new normal. (Plus, with add-on features like the home page countdown clock, the technology is filled with tactics to help boost sales.)

So there it is: Civilian Screen Printing and the Toasty Toes 2020 campaign. We couldn’t be more impressed by this Canadian screen printer’s creativity, determination, and community-mindedness, and we can’t wait to see the fundraising results. In the meantime, we’re sending the whole campaign the best of luck — and we hope that you’ve learned something from this Customer Success Story.

To get your hands on the unrivaled capabilities of Online Fundraising Stores — and make your team an in-demand partner for organizations, schools, and businesses everywhere — take a tour of our technology here.

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