Rio 2016 marked the culmination of the Future Olympians Fund, a four-year major giving campaign which raised more than $2 million and saw more than 50 donors and guests hosted in Rio. To celebrate the conclusion of the program, the COF partnered with Gold Medal Plates and Deloitte to execute a Canadian-inspired concert at Canada Olympic House with the musical stylings of Jim Cuddy, Ed Robertson and Barney Bentall.
The Games were indeed a major opportunity for the COF to foster growing relationships with many partners during 2016.
In partnership with Deloitte, the COF launched ‘Live like a Champ’, a corporate challenge and employee giving campaign that saw Deloitte’s employees and partners raise $160,000 and commit to an Olympic lifestyle throughout the Games window. P&G, through Shoppers Drug Mart, ran an in-store promotion that raised $102,450 through a customer donation of Optimum points. The COF hopes to extend these campaigns and collaborate on similar activations in the lead up to and during PyeongChang 2018.
During the Games window at home, the Canadian Olympic Foundation was the catalyst for two new marketing partner programs that launched in 2016. Both Hudson’s Bay and RBC were eager for a program that created direct-to-athlete impact through their investment.
And the COF delivered:
RBC Training Ground is a series of sport combines designed to identify athletes with high performance potential and to create talent transfer opportunities within the Canadian sport system. In year one, RBC Training Ground evaluated 400 young, elite athletes across the country and following a subsequent series of tests named 25 athletes to the newly minted ‘RBC Future Olympians Program’ who have received funding to enroll in a National Sport Federation next generation program.
The HBC Athlete Bursary Program awards 50 Canadian athletes $10,000 each annually. Beginning in 2016, it’s a $2.5 million investment that provides bursary recipients with sustainable funding over the next five years.
Most of our storytelling throughout 2016 focused on amplifying the brand by promoting COF partner-related initiatives like these. And our combined efforts resulted in a 137 per cent increase in web traffic and 168 per cent growth in online newsletter subscribers.
Third-party events continued to drive fundraising in 2016. FANFIT grew from one event to two and raised over $13,000. Gold Medal Plates raised more than $1 million through its 10-event dinner series and live auction, bringing its total investment to date up to nearly $13 million.
Despite the launch of exciting new partner programs and donor stewardship initiatives, 2016 was not without its challenges for the COF as our staff complement shrunk by 25 per cent. Though doing more with less remains our goal, the COF looks forward to working with the board of directors on a refined strategic direction and a further focus on supporting the next generation of Canada athletes in 2017.