Donor tips from a broke chick: Timeraiser

Let’s start this way: I went to my first Timeraiser on the weekend, and it was awesome.

It’s an art auction, but instead of bidding with dollars, you bid volunteer hours.

Tickets were $20 ($10 if, like myself, you got an early bird ticket). There was a cash bar and waiters made the rounds with trays of free food. At the end of the evening there was a concert by the Neil Youn’Uns. As a broke donor, I felt like I was getting some real value for money (yes, I mentally balance the cost of admission, drinks, food, and extras when attending events).

The artists are paid for their art, skilled and enthusiastic folks get rewarding volunteer experiences, and organizations benefit from their passion. It’s a win-win-win situation you don’t see very often.

As an overqualified, underpaid, and passionate member of the nonprofit community, it is tremendous to feel valued for what I can offer outside of my wallet.

At the event, works of art and organization were laid out in one of the Distillery District‘s stunning spaces.

Side note: Go to the Distillery District and glory at what can be accomplished with adaptive reuse of heritage spaces instead of bulldozing architectural history!

Young professionals milled around, learning about the different organizations and ogling artworks. Bidding sheets quickly filled up for practically every piece. The maximum bid was 100 hours. Once that amount was reached, anyone could bid 100 hours but their name was placed in an envelope and the winning bid would be selected at random. Each bidder can only win one piece.

The art isn’t tied to any organization – which was news to me when I arrived. You bid on the art, and if you won, you donated your hours to the organization of your choice. This made more sense than what I had assumed – that each organization had its work of art on which you bid. What if you loved the art but not the organization? And vice versa?

I entered the maximum bid for five different pieces – and was thrilled to win one of them!

I commented to friends there how I was much more liberal in giving away my time than giving away my money. Then again, it has been said that time is money. And Timeraiser is so great in that it recognizes the value in someone’s time and energy.

So now I have a year to complete 100 hours of volunteer work with one of the organizations (I’ll be helping the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario) and this time next year, I’ll return to Timeraiser to collect my art.

Keep an eye out for tickets for next year. They are sure to sell out again.

What do you think of Timeraiser? Did you go? Plan to go next year? Know of other awesome events that celebrate and foster volunteerism?

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