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On Monday, the Canadian Diabetes Association became Diabetes Canada, saying the name change is part its latest campaign to end diabetes and to help people living with the disease to live free of stigma, discrimination and complications.
The type of competition has also expanded. Charities that directly fundraise online to patients, such as GoFundMe Canada, are part of the trend, said Bruce MacDonald, president and CEO of Imagine Canada. It works with the country’s 86,000 registered charities and nearly 95,000 not-for-profit organizations to strengthen charities and their operations.
So far, Canadian GoFundMe campaigns have raised $ 140 million from 1.8 million donations. In 2016 alone, GoFundMe campaign organizers in Canada raised more than $ 66 million, with medical and healing-related campaigns the most popular category.
Judith John, a health marketing consultant and a patient advocate who has worked in senior communications roles at some of Toronto’s largest hospitals, said there can be a misperception about how money should be spent.
“When you give to a big organization, sometimes it can feel like that money’s lost, except it provides an infrastructure that is critically important,” John said.
Commenting on the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s recent rebranding to Heart & Stroke, John said it offered a chance to reintroduce the charity’s research efforts to Canadians of all ages in a way that is more meaningful, without the word “foundation,” which she called “meaningless.”
“I think there’s a basic suspicion now of institutions. When I grew up, you believed in the school system, you believed in government, you believed in big organizations,” John said. “Now there is definitely a much more wide cynicism about it.”
For Diabetes Canada, Blickstead said, the new ad campaign launched during the Grammys to focus on making a difference.
“We know that young people today are more episodic in their giving, that they will focus on an important story,” Bickstead said. “That is one of the reasons we are trying to make our stories as impactful as possible to tell the story about the person with diabetes to make sure that people understand we have challenges right here in Canada every day that we need their help to solve.”