How I got the Official Support of two big Charities – Part 2

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Contact, contact, we have contact!

So i had the initial call with Wendy Bennett, the Secretary of The Mike Weir Foundation (TMWF) in early January 2013. She asked me all about The Challenge especially the logistics for completing such a crazy challenge i.e. how was i going to play that many rounds over such a large distance in such a short space of time etc. She explained that both TMWF and Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) were both very enthusiastic about the concept; they loved the idea! They did however have some questions and concerns about it i.e. putting their support behind someone they had never met or heard of before – “completely understandable”, i said. She thanked me for answering all her questions and promised to get back to me after she had shared all the information learned with all parties involved.

We spoke again soon afterwards and Wendy explained that John Hartman (the Chief Operating Officer of CMN Canada) would like to meet me in person, would i therefore be able to fly to Calgary in February and meet him as he would be attending a conference there? Well i couldn’t say ‘No’ to that could i?

Calgary here i come!

Now flying to Calgary from Vancouver (about 1 hour flight) is no big deal for a Canadian, but keep in mind that i am from England where traditionally we only get on planes to go on a weeks holiday to Europe! So getting on a plane to go for a meeting (possibly just for the day) required a huge shift in mindset for me. I wanted The Challenge to be a huge success so of course i said, “Yes i’ll be there!” So i got on the computer and booked my flight for my first ever visit to Calgary.

As luck would have it, the conference in Calgary that John was attending was the Remax of Western Canada annual conference. I happened to mention the trip to my friend Michelle Raymond a realtor with Remax who said “I’m going to that conference to receive an award, you should stay and attend the dinner”. So it ended up being a 3 day trip where i got to meet lots of incredible agents from across Western Canada; Remax of Western Canada is a massive supporter of CMN and has raised over $44 million through initiatives such as their Miracle Home program

Meeting the COO of Children’s Miracle Network

So it was arranged that i would meet John Hartman for a breakfast meeting at the Hyatt in downtown Calgary. I waited in the lobby and having looked him up on LinkedIn, i recognized him straight away as he entered the lobby, he has one of those beaming smiles that instantly puts you at ease. We had a excellent meeting talking about The Challenge, i shared all the work i had done so far and we discussed ideas we both had for making it successful etc.

I had made it clear right at the start that i had decided to delay the start date until summer 2014 (not 2013 as originally planned) as things were taking longer than i had anticipated. I had only made this decision days before the meeting and i felt so much more comfortable with it; i think this was actually a big concern that some on TWMF board had had. So we parted ways after breakfast with the promise i would put together a document (a Master Plan) from all the planning i had already done, so that it could be shared and discussed by the key players at the two charities involved. As soon as i got home i spent a couple of days putting together the plan and sent it off to John.

Fantastic support from Children’s Miracle Network

So a few weeks later in March, John Hartman arranged a conference call as he wanted to introduce me to Perry Esler the Vice President of Programs & Events for CMN Canada. We had a great call and it was re-iterated how excited CMN and TMWF were about The Challenge. It was agreed that Perry would be my CMN contact going forward, someone who i could stay in touch with throughout the planning process and bounce ideas off on a regular basis. I am very grateful for Perry’s help this year, his knowledge and experience have been a massive asset as The Challenge continues to evolve.

I want to say a BIG thank you to Perry who was instrumental in helping to co-ordinate the creation of a Memorandum of Understanding (in April 2013) between, CMN and TMWF. Having a document that makes the relationship ‘official’ is a massive boost for The Challenge, giving¬†potential Sponsors and Donors confidence that The Challenge is a legitimate fundraising endevour.

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