Canadian agencies raised nearly $65,000 for the national charitable organization nabs during its annual nabs Month in May, exceeding its target goal of $60,000 and prompting executive director Jay Bertram to say the goal is to double the amount raised next year.
Toronto agency No Fixed Address led all shops by raising $15,000 for the national charity, which provides counseling and training support for Canadian marketing and agency professionals. It was followed by Publicis and FCB Canada.
Approximately 30 agencies and an estimated 2,000 agency employees participated in a nabs Month event this year, says Bertram.
Fundraising events included McCann’s Trivia Night, DDB’s “Guac Off,” Cossette’s grilled cheese lunch (left) and Fuse’s “Pastapalooza” (below).
“To us how much people raised wasn’t as important as the fact that we got the awareness of nabs out there,” Bertram says. “Just based on the support and involvement across the country, we think we can double that next year. We’re going to try to do $120,000 and reach 4,000 different employees.”
Proceeds from nabs month fund a variety of initiatives, including the RIPE program (which helps people 45 and older transition into the next phase of their career), and a help line for marketing professionals in crisis—which Bertram says is experiencing a 20% increase in use every year.
He says that nabs continues to transition from being an event-driven to a marketing-driven organization.
“We want to get our message out by talking to agencies and companies and get them understanding and building awareness and appreciation for nabs, rather than us running golf events and other things,” he says.
Bertram says he personally visited about 40 different agencies and PR shops in Toronto to talk about nabs Month and its importance. Demand for nabs’ services has more than doubled in the past five years, with the organization helping approximately 3,000 industry professionals and their families last year.
The charity also raised approximately $8,000 through the second annual nabs Art Auction, which took place May 23 at The Great Hall in Toronto.
Nabs had previously conducted the bulk of its fundraising efforts in the fall, but Bertram moved the event to spring to maximize agency participation. “We found that going out hat in hand [in the fall] was not good timing,” he says. “We’ve chosen to go out early in the year to tell the story of why our charity needs the funds.”