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Where The Money Goes

Find audited financial statements for Blue Sea Philanthropy (the registered Canadian charity who operates the Coldest Night of the Year) here:

Between 70% and 80% of all donations, business sponsorships and registration fees collected during the Coldest Night of the Year are allocated to each local participating charity depending on final campaign results. The rest is used to operate the event.

Approved charities work with Blue Sea Philanthropy, a Canadian charitable foundation, to develop, operate and promote the Coldest Night of the Year in their communities as Location Partners, in order to raise money for their local, charitable work.

Blue Sea provides all of the operational, financial and promotional infrastructure, (web, fundraising and printed), along with hands-on training and coaching during the event. Each participating charity provides on-site leadership, hosting, and of course, the required work of cultivating teams of walkers who register and raise money.

  • Please note that Blue Sea Philanthropy will make every effort to honour designations made by donors; however, BSP reserves the right to apply the funds to another purpose if, in the sole judgment of the board of directors of BSP, the original designation becomes, in effect, unnecessary, incapable of fulfillment, or inconsistent with the charitable needs of the community or area served.
How Much Will My Charity Get?

It depends! Each Coldest Night of the Year partner is free to recruit multiple teams to walk for them, so the more teams and walkers they recruit, the more money they'll raise!

During registration, team captains select the charity for whom they wish to walk and raise money. 45 days after the event is over, the aggregate total of all teams walking for each local charity, (plus any financial sponsorship from business or collected registration fees) are totalled and paid out depending on how successful each partner is.

Partner Grant Payout Schedule:

  • 65% for partners who raise $0-$25,000
  • 70% for partners who raise $25,000-$40,000
  • 75% for partners who raise $40,000 - $100,000**
  • 80% for partners who raise $100,000+

Note: all first-year locations receive a guaranteed 70% (or higher) payout rate.

  • In 2015, the average Coldest Night of the Year location partner raised just over $37,700.
Where Does The Rest Of The Money Go?

Blue Sea Philanthropy exists to help other charities thrive financially. One of the ways we do this is by providing this national, multi-site event for 100+ charitable partners. An event of this scale and calibre requires a significant investment of time and money to operate with excellence. That's where the rest of the money goes.

Below is a detailed list of where we invest the remaining funds (approximately 25%, depending on the final fundraising totals of partners and their payout scale):

Staff & Leadership

Blue Sea Philanthropy works year-round on growing and leading the Coldest Night of the Year to the benefit of our partners. Our focus is on leadership, innovation, and creating value for all our partners. We have the equivalent of 9 full time staff on salary.

Coaching and Mentoring

While each WALK partner takes on the dominant operational role, we are embedded as co-leaders throughout the event, providing training and coaching. Highlights of that oversight include:

  • Setup and launch training
  • Weekly host partner conference calls
  • Weekly group connect/update emails from the WALK Team
  • One-on-one location coaching and support
  • Newly updated WALK guide manual
  • Access to all WALK team members in support

Location Support

The WALK provides host partners and all participants with full customer service support:

  • Secondary cell phone numbers for off-hour access to senior team members
  • All inquiries answered by end of business day and within hours during peak campaign periods
  • Logistical, managerial, financial, training and coaching for all host partners, both prior to and on WALK Day
  • $5 million Liability Insurance for permits, rest stops, etc.
  • Sponsorship acknowledgement, website integration, and financial tracking.

Online Management System

The WALK features a proprietary location management system called WALK Admin that provides all host partners with a robust location management system in support of all operational and marketing efforts. System features include:

  • WALK Guide: An online instruction manual that acts as digital coach and instructor
  • Web Content Editing: Edit location-specific website content including contact, description, times, volunteer, maps, and more
  • Maps: Beautiful customized online maps with turn-by-turn directions, as well as easy-to- follow printable versions, all created in-house
  • Volunteer System: Web based registration and management of all volunteers
  • Business Sponsor Program: Secure, track, and feature community sponsors on the web
  • Insurance Coverage: Procure liability insurance coverage for start finish location, rest stops, etc. using our exclusive system
  • Statistics: Measure and track key location partner metrics
  • Participants: Track and follow teams, walkers, and fundraising results.
  • Partners: ALL partners have access to a customized WALK Admin experience which allows them access to their participants, campaign guide, key stats, and (where provided) email to team captains.

Fundraising System

The WALK is powered by a world-class, Canadian-made online fundraising system. This fully WALK-branded user system permits:

  • Intuitive, reliable online registration of teams and walkers
  • Personal fundraising pages that let participants creatively connect and communicate with potential donors
  • Fully secure financial gateway that provides e-receipts for credit card donations within minutes of giving
  • Collection of cash and cheque donor information
  • Campaign messaging and tracking

Website and Campaign

The Coldest Night of the Year is well known for its professional, fun, and always-attractive campaign website, It's fast, secure, and easy to navigate, allowing pain-free registration for teams, walkers, and volunteers, and trouble-free giving for donors. Features include:

  • Intuitive layout for fast registration and giving
  • Proprietary Search function that allows donors, volunteers, and participants to find anyone or anything fast
  • Fun and Helpful Tools for participants including fundraising templates, training videos, graphic package, pictures, logos, power point templates, forms, Facebook images etc
  • A fresh two-minute WALK Promo Video that always moves, motivates, and creates great campaign buzz
  • WALK TV featuring the promo video, partner-produced videos, fundraising tips, walker and team videos, and more.
  • Live Data Pipeline with up-to-the-minute fundraising activity and stats
  • Smart Scoreboard to track walkers, teams, partners, and locations
  • Clear, obvious campaign fundraising goal thermometer
  • Individual Partner campaign pages for approved WALK Partners: These pages feature all supporting teams, their totals, partner fundraising thermometer, partner specific content edited from WALK Admin
  • Active and entertaining Facebook and social media campaign

Marketing Materials

The WALK creates a new thematic brand for each campaign season. While the WALK logo and snowflake icons are foundational to our brand, we work hard to embellish those fundamentals by dreaming up sharp new ideas to get people really excited about participating. We're always looking to generate buzz and enthusiasm with a fresh and inspiring arrangement of colours, themes, and focus. We produce:

  • Posters: Location specific, full sized, full colour
  • Brochures: Bite-size bookmark style full-colour brochures that are perfect for church bulletins and mailings
  • Partner Brochure Templates: Easily customizable docs that each partner can edit and print in support of their campaign
  • WALK Swag: Additional marketing swag to support the campaign
  • Our Famous WALK Toque: A reward for all participants who raise their minimum fundraising level (by age) or pay the $25 registration fee. These one-of-a-kind winter hats are updated annually and made available to all locations.

Campaign Communication

From start to finish, the WALK provides active campaign communication through various vehicles including:

  • Participant emails (registration, news, instructions)
  • Team Captain emails (prompts, news, coaching)
  • Donor Emails (automatic e-receipts), mailed receipts
  • Partner Emails (application, weekly news, coaching)
  • Location Emails (news, coaching, volunteer support, service)

Event Supplies

The WALK provides each location with new or re-supplied inventory and/or budget for:

  • Registration Supplies - Locations receive a registration kit with:
  • Calculators and training binder, registration materials like pens and markers, all required cash management documents
  • Volunteer lanyards and Event Director clipboard
  • Key pre-printed instructions
  • Miscellaneous additional items (as required)
  • Route Supplies
  • Route Signs: Full-colour 18 x 18 arrows, direction, warning, and announcements.
  • Safety Vests: For route marshals and outside staff
  • Vehicle Flags: Support vehicle identification flags

Donors & Receipting

The Coldest Night of the Year will have upwards of 40,000 individual donations made during each campaign, depending on the final number of locations, partners, and participants. Blue Sea Philanthropy is responsible for the charitable oversight for all donations, and provides:

  • Secure online giving portal for credit card and Paypal transactions
  • E-Receipting for all credit card/Paypal donations of $20 or more. Most e-receipts are received within a minute of the transaction, depending on volume.
  • Post-event processing: During March, a team of paid part-time staff verify every cash or cheque donation and fully receipt donations of $20 or more by either post or email (where provided)
  • Year-Round Donor Service: All donors can make phone or email inquiries regarding their gifts at any time using our email or toll-free number.

If you have any questions about the Coldest Night of the Year, please email

If you have any questions about the Coldest Night of the Year or Blue Sea Philanthropy, please email