Timeraiser: Time Well Spent
THE EXCHANGE OF GOODS AND SERVICES FOR THE BETTERMENT OF ALL HAS A LONG AND RICH HISTORY AND, ALTHOUGH IT HAS TAKEN MANY SHAPES AND DEGREES OF COMPLEXITY OVER TIME, IT IS MOSTLY HOW THE WORLD OF TRADE FUNCTIONS TODAY. IN 2004, A RATHER UNIQUE QUANTUM LEAP IN TRADING OCCURRED. WELCOME TO TIMERAISER.
Timeraiser started in Toronto 13 years ago when a group of friends who knew each other through various social-profit communities came up with a startling new idea to find volunteers. “Let’s have an art auction, but let’s make it different. It’ll be a fundraiser where people leave their cheque books at home. Instead, they will pay for the art by spending time helping others.”
It has been such a successful idea that over a million hours have been banked and used across Canada. Local artists are asked to submit their work for consideration for the auction. Sponsors then pay for the art at fair market price and the art is then put up for auction. Bidding is done by volunteer hours, which are then paid forward over the next year. Once the hours are paid up, the art becomes the property of the volunteer. It is a striking and fun concept.
Timeraiser’s success occurs on many levels. Local artists benefit in two ways. They are paid a fair wage for their work, which is a rarity, and then that work is seen by an audience that is caring, influential and capable of supporting the local art market with their purchasing ability. In addition, there is a feedthrough to the local art market. That happens later If you see your favourite artist’s work at the auction and you are unsuccessful in your bid, your curiosity might be aroused enough to see what else the artist has for sale. Indeed the Volunteer-bidders who miss out on their favourite work of the evening often go back to the artist afterwards to see what else is available.
The sponsors benefit in two ways as well. Timeraiser functions are tangible and immediate, and fund managers are able to report their successes early and easily. It is also a double win for those companies wishing to support the community, as Timeraiser events support the arts as well as the social-profit organizations, encouraging more people to get involved.
The biggest winners though are the organizations that need volunteers. They have an opportunity to lay out their needs and explain the rationale behind their work to an audience of enthusiasts. The people who come to Timeraiser are already motivated to get involved and there is a lot of interest and many opportunities.
Auction night is the biggest and easiest way to match volunteers with their keenest passions. Quite often this means that once a volunteer-buyer’s hours are paid off, a bond has formed between the work of the social-profit group and the volunteer. At the very least, the body of people in the community who understand the needs of the social-profit sector increases substantially. On the flip side, well, some matches are made for life, and Timeraiser events encourage such matches as well as increasing their possibility.
The original Timeraiser was advertised as “part volunteer fair, part silent art auction and part night on the town”. The 2017 Wood Buffalo event, the sixth edition, will be the biggest volunteer event ever. In addition to celebrating the 150th birthday of Canada, the Wood Buffalo Timeraiser auction will be hosted by FuseSocial, Arts Council Wood Buffalo and the MacDonald Island Community Art Gallery presented by the Kirschner Family Corporation. This expertise is crucial to maintaining the high standards that have been set in the past. In 2016, 44 local artworks were purchased for $18,000. These were then ‘purchased’ by a commitment to participate that added 3,330 hours of value to the community.
The 2017 function hopes to build on the successes of previous years. The event celebrates the community’s giving nature as well as its artistic and cultural community, and this year they added another exciting component. In addition to the call for local 2D and 3D artists, there was a separate call for new art from new talent. Aimed at locals between the ages of 7 and 17, this competition will allow young artists to experience the thrill of competition and exhibition, as well as give them a fair chance to get paid for their work.
The exhibits will be on display at the MacDonald Island Art Gallery from:
April the 3rd to May the 18th, and the grand event, the Timeraiser auction itself, takes place on Thursday, April the 27th, 2017. Information on how to book tickets for the auction can be found at fusesocial.ca, or by calling 780-791-9333 extension 8211.