Timeraiser comes to Edmonton

Timeraiser is a unique event that supports both artists and non-profit organizations. You can think of it as a volunteer fair with a twist. Here’s the back story:

Timeraiser was conceptualized in 2002 in response to a group of friends wondering how it could be easier to find meaningful, relevant volunteer opportunities. Now, 7 years and 10 Timeraisers later, it is amazing that this grass-roots initiative has flourished into a well-known, annual event that operates in 6 cities across Canada.

It’s a great opportunity to learn more about local non-profit agencies and the volunteer opportunities they have available. What’s the twist? The event is also a silent art auction! To bid on art, you pledge volunteer hours instead of money. It’s an interesting way to get people involved in their local community. You can learn more about how Timeraiser works here.

Edmonton’s first Timeraiser is taking place on October 17th. Here are the details:

WHO: Everyone!
WHAT: 1st Edmonton Timeraiser
WHEN: Saturday, October 17, 2009 at 7:00 PM
WHERE: TransAlta Arts Barns, 10330 84 Avenue (map)
WHY: To raise 4000 community hours for local organizations!
Click here to register!

I got in touch with organizers Theresa Wetzel and Amanda Grainger to find out more. I wondered how Edmonton’s event came to be. Here’s what they said:

“The Edmonton Timeraiser came about from interest that was generated from the success we have had with the Calgary Timeraiser over the past four years. Our corporate partners, volunteers, and agencies were encouraging us to expand the program to Edmonton because they knew it would be a perfect fit for the city. So we started out by approaching the United Way Alberta Capital Region, Volunteer Edmonton, and Enbridge to see if we could rally their support to help bring the program to Edmonton. Instantly they were interested in getting on board and the Edmonton Timeraiser got off the ground without a hitch.”

The goal of the event is to provide people who aren’t already involved with volunteering a fun and easy place to start. Before individuals can bid on art, they first spend some time matching their skills to an agency’s needs. There are 22 agencies currently signed up to take part, and attendees are encouraged to shortlist the agencies they’d like to connect with ahead of time. Given that Edmonton has a fairly strong culture of volunteerism already, I asked Theresa how she saw that impacting the event. She said that Edmonton’s Timeraiser had the highest number of agencies that submitted applications and that “Edmontonians seem very engaged civic minded people who have a passion for art and volunteering”.

In addition to supporting local non-profits, Timeraiser supports local artists by purchasing artwork at fair market value. There will be 22 works of art up for auction. “We are happy to report we invested over $12,000 in the careers of Edmonton artists and in total since 2004 we have raised $300,000 in the careers of Canadian artists.” You can see some of the artwork here.

Organizers are hoping for about 200 participants pledging hours, with the goal of raising 4000 volunteer hours in total (the minimum pledge is 20 hours). Tickets for the event are on sale now for just $20.

Don’t miss this great event! Follow along and chat about it on Twitter using #timeraiser.

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