Walmart fundraising campaign: Improving disaster readiness one dollar at a time

By Jack McCaskill, communications volunteer in Alberta

“Would you like to donate $1 to the Canadian Red Cross?”

Since 2003, Walmart staff have been asking customers this question as part of its annual giving campaign in partnership with the Canadian Red Cross.
Walmart Associate Ghulam Awan standing, in mask and Walmart vest, with a poster thanking Canadian Red Cross, outside a Walmart store.This summer, Walmart and the Red Cross have worked together to raise $4.2 million across Canada through customer donations, Walmart internal fundraising, and a corporate match of $820,000 from Walmart Canada’s corporate office.
Over the last decade, Albertans have faced multiple disasters. In response, community members have stepped up to provide support through the Walmart campaign. Slave Lake, for example, is a community that grappled with wildfires 10 years ago and, unsurprisingly, is home to a Walmart that is already 300 per cent above its fundraising goal this year.
“There is a connection, they understand it, and they are motivated,” says Andres Gutierrez, Senior Manager of Community Engagement and one of the Red Cross staff leading this year’s campaign.
In addition, Walmart staff like Ghulam Awan continue to help stores across Alberta reach their fundraising goals. The fundraising star consistently brought in $200 to $300 in donations each shift, raising over $2,000 himself!

“I volunteered with the Red Cross in Pakistan when I was in school,” Ghulam explains (pictured above  holding a poster). “I am thankful to Walmart who has given me the chance to raise funds toward the Red Cross.” He says he loves to help the Red Cross “any time, any year.”
Cars decorated with red and white balloons in a parade outside a Walmart SupercentreTo support Walmart’s fundraising efforts, each year the Red Cross puts a call out for Walmart Ambassadors who volunteer to help a Walmart location reach its fundraising goal.
“It is a great opportunity to be involved in the community and to be involved in Red Cross fundraising that is instrumental in being able to support the work we do,” says Annie Weishaar, a Red Cross community engagement manager, when speaking about the ambassador program. “It would be amazing if more people wanted to volunteer and be part of next year’s campaign,” she continues.
Beyond the generous donations of Walmart customers, a large portion of the funds raised by this campaign come from Walmart staff themselves. Whether through a push-up contest, a cook-off, or even a henna tattooing fundraiser, they have found creative and fun ways to support their community through this important initiative.


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