There’s still time for a brand to take ownership of one of the remaining two fundraising expeditions in support of the True Patriot Love Foundation. But not much.
The foundation raises money to support Canadian Forces members, veterans and their families, and one of its fundraising vehicles, staged in 2012, 2014, 2016 and this year, has been the corporate expedition. With Scotiabank as overarching sponsor since the beginning, expeditions matching corporate funders (at $12,000 apiece this year) with soldiers and veterans have travelled to the Himalayas, the Magnetic North Pole, Antarctica and, this year, re-creations of three voyages from our nation’s history in honour of the country’s sesquicentennial.
One of those three, replicating part of Alexander Mackenzie’s first land crossing of North America by someone of European descent, has attracted an eponymous sponsor – Mackenzie Investments. The other two, commemorating John Cabot’s exploration of the coast of Newfoundland and George Douglas’ exploration of the country’s remote northwest, are still available and will proceed even if no expedition sponsor is found.
The three expeditions are under Scotiabank’s umbrella sponsorship and are titled the True Patriot Love Scotiabank Expedition: Best of Canada. Jaime Wilson, Chief Development Officer, says the idea was to create an opportunity for companies seeking to mark the 150th anniversary of Confederation.
In staging three expeditions, the foundation may have overreached. None of the three has sold out its full complement of 20 corporate participants. “If we only had one, we’d probably have 40 people,” says Wilson.
The marketplace is crowded with Canada 150 opportunities. Sales are the responsibility of a small team – Wilson and one assistant – and the foundation relies heavily on referrals from expedition participants, who are drawn from corporate C-suites and senior executive ranks.
That’s what drew in Mackenzie, explains David Faassen, the company’s Senior Vice President, Marketing. A new board member had been on an earlier expedition. Mackenzie had been looking for a vehicle to mark its 50th anniversary this year, making the opportunity to sponsor a “Mackenzie” expedition worth a close look.
Wilson positions the expedition as an alternative to the fundraising gala or golf tournament. The foundation will mount a PR campaign around the expeditions and can support activations in communities along an expedition’s path, but the expeditions do lack the strong publicly-facing component that sponsors often seek. A video crew will accompany the team of up to 20 corporate participants and 10 veterans. Previous expeditions have led to a photo essay and a documentary, but there is no promise to corporate sponsors about content and distribution.
That’s fine with Faassen, who lumps this expedition into Mackenzie’s active community investment portfolio. Sponsorship gives Mackenzie one free pass on the expedition (a $12,000 value), which Faassen, a former reservist, will take. Like all corporate participants, Faassen is still responsible for raising an additional $50,000 for the foundation, and Mackenzie will be staging events to raise those funds. Mackenzie will also leverage it internally through social channels, chronicling Faassen’s participation beginning with the April 27 to 30 expedition training camp.
Faassen says Mackenzie will also draw in its network of 40,000 independent financial advisors with a call for advisors who have served in the military or who serve the military community. Faassen says Mackenzie will profile them in its own channels. That program is just now getting underway, he says.