The Kinette Club of Calgary got creative and hosted a comedy night, in collaboration with Yuk Yuk’s, as a way to raise money for the Hal Rogers Endowment Fund (HREF). The HREF provides bursaries to students across Canada who have demonstrated financial need while pursuing post-secondary education. Following the success of the event, the Kinette Club of Calgary was awarded the Ambassadors of Learning Award.
In late-2017, the Past Chair of the HREF Board of Trustees, Eli Rizk, interviewed Joanna Low of the Calgary Kinettes to learn what went into planning the successful comedy night.
Eli: “How many years has your club donated to the Hal Rogers Endowment Fund?”
Joanna: “Supporting the HREF has always been part of the Club’s budgeted donations in addition to giving to Cystic Fibrosis Canada and the Kin Canada National Disaster Relief Fund. It was shortly after I joined Kin three years ago that we decided as a Club that we really should be doing more for the HREF. A lot of us have kids who are in post-secondary and we have many students who volunteer with us through service projects in our community. Students are giving back where they can and we felt that we can do more to support the HREF and make a difference for more students.”
Eli: “Who came up with the idea of a comedy club event for HREF?”
Joanna: “It all came together through a number of different people. Allyson Palaschuk was a big cheerleader for the event. We worked together to tag-team different parts of it; one member took on the Silent Auction, another took on advertising, another the finances and everyone helped with ticket sales. While we spearheaded the event, we had great support from the other Clubs in the city (Kinsmen Club of Calgary, Stampede City Kinsmen, Stampede City Kinettes, and the University of Calgary Kin Campus Club). Other Clubs donated to the event or donated tickets for people to attend. We shared in the work and we shared in the proceeds. The event increased awareness about Kin Canada Clubs in our area and how Kin members help communities across Canada.
Eli: “What work went into organizing the comedy night?”
Joanna: “We first worked out a partnership agreement with Yuk Yuk’s that allowed us to set the ticket price and make it a private event. We set ticket prices at $20 to make it more accessible for everyone. Only $2 of each ticket went to the venue and the rest went to the HREF. We also organized a Silent Auction, sold 50/50 tickets throughout the night and hired an emcee for the event. Yuk Yuk’s kept the profit from alcohol and food purchases. Since we hosted our event on a day that is typically slower for them, our arrangement was a win-win.
To promote the event, we had a strong presence on social media. We utilized the Facebook Events feature and Twitter. We printed posters and shared graphics online to spread the word. We did not advertise in the newspaper or on the radio and focused on social media and word of mouth marketing instead.”
Eli: “How much was raised and how many people participated?”
Joanna: “We sold 175 tickets in total, raising $2,950 for HREF in addition to funds raised by the University of Calgary Campus Club through admission, the silent auction, and 50/50 sales.
We structured the event in such a way that there was no risk to the Club in losing money. If we hadn’t have sold out, Yuk Yuk’s was going to sell the other tickets to the public at their standard price.”
Eli: “What does HREF mean to you personally?”
Joanna: “HREF to me personally means opportunity for our future, and for our youth. We have to invest in those individuals and in our world. And that’s a really key part of it. We have to give them a chance to do the things that they can do. I’m thrilled to be part of it.”
Eli: “What tips do you have for others who are thinking of hosting a Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Night?”
Joanna: “Don’t let fear of not raising enough money stop you from doing the event. By taking on those projects and just building the awareness, we can help contribute in a meaningful way beyond our budgeted donations. If we all do a little bit, we will notice a significant increase in a time when people need it more than ever. We can increase the funds, that what’s we really need to see.”
For more ideas on how you can raise money for causes in your community, check out the Projects Database. You can also submit ideas to help others with their fundraising initiatives.
To see how your donations to HREF make a difference in the lives of post-secondary students, check out Jason's story below.