Take a night off for a good cause

By Geoff Lee

April 20, 2017 12:00 AM

Call it creative panhandling 2.0 for a worthy cause and a charitable tax receipt. 
The Thorpe Recovery Centre is asking people to donate $100 to support a Treatment Fund managed by the Lloydminster Region Health Foundation.
In exchange, buyers get a ticket to take a personal night off on May 25.
The Night Off campaign advises dinner will not be provided; there will not be an auction, doors will not open at 6 p.m. and this is not a gala —this is your night off.
The non-event fundraiser kicked off April 10 with a mix of confusion and snickers according to Sara Cawsey, Thorpe’s business development assistant.
“I was asked last week who hit their head to come up with that idea,” she said noting there is a history of non-event fundraisers in North America that have worked well.
The key to their success she said is “being a little sassy and to show the benefit of not having to go out” for the night.
Cawsey said with Night Off, there are cost savings for people not having to purchase outfits or a babysitter or a cab, and spending a night out with extra costs.
She said the sky is the limit as to what ticket buyers can do on their Night Off.
“They can have a nap; they can have a little dinner party with their family or just go about their daily business,” she joked.
“It’s a different concept.”
Cawsey said the Thorpe Centre knows there are a lot of events in Lloydminster that are really great, but consume a lot of time and resources to pull off.
“We were trying to find something that was new and stood out a little bit without having to do another big gala,” she said.
Tickets for Night Off are available from Harvest to Home Market, Cliff Rose for Clothes and the Thorpe Recovery Centre itself.
A ticket also buys piece of mind knowing 100 per cent of the price goes directly to the Treatment Fund, founded in partnership with the Health Foundation last August.
Last year, the lack of funding left over 1,900 persons waiting six or more weeks for addictions treatment.
The Treatment Fund will provide financial assistance to individuals seeking the services of the Thorpe Recovery Centre, reducing the wait time.
“Our fundraising goal is 400 tickets, but obviously ‘seating is not limited’, so if we can break past that we’d be over the moon,” said Cawsey.
It can cost up to $17,000 to treat one person for addiction during a 42-day stay at the Thorpe Centre.
Cawsey said right now with the economy, it’s really hard for people to get treatment.
“We do a very small amount of beds funded through the Alberta and Saskatchewan government, but it’s not enough to help the need,” said Cawsey.
“Right now, we’re only able to help one in five people who call for help, so our hope is we can get more people in.”
The Night Off campaign is catchy and saves the Thorpe Centre the time and cost of soliciting corporate sponsorships during the economic downturn.
The Thorpe Centre has a shoestring budget to promote Night Off using printed posters, social media and e-mails to spread the message with support from NewCap radio and Imagepress.
“So, we’re still able to have a really big impact without a whole lot of expenses,” said Cawsey who hopes the message will go viral on the Internet.
“It’s a charity event with a different kind of spin on it, but it’s an event,” she admitted.

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