With 2020 in full swing, many consumers are looking to continue those healthy lifestyle changes they committed to on New Year's Eve. Whether it's cutting out sugar or hitting the gym more, individuals tend to emphasize their health goals during the early winter months. The Canadian Cancer Society sees this as the perfect opportunity to educate the public on the lifestyle benefits of temporarily going alcohol-free, as most consumers aren't aware of the link between drinking and many cancers. Dry Feb is an annual initiative that challenges consumers to go alcohol-free in support of The Canadian Cancer Society. The funds are raised to fuel groundbreaking research that supports those affected by cancer, while the fundraising efforts and buzz continue to educate consumers on the lifestyle benefits of going alcohol-free. Trend Hunter had the opportunity to chat with Tracey Tang, a representative from CSS, to learn more about creative fundraising efforts, the innovative technology used, and overcoming the marketing obstacles of a fundraising event that asks consumers to give up drinking.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your role with the Canadian Cancer Society (CSS)?
My name is Tracey Tang and I’m responsible for online fundraising at the Canadian Cancer Society which includes the Dry Feb fundraiser. I’m really excited about this program because I’ve been personally affected by cancer. I am a thyroid cancer survivor (almost 1-year cancer free) and I am very proud to work for CCS and help Canadians learn about all the valuable resources on prevention and how easy it is to get involved through our online Dry Feb fundraising challenge this year!
What can you tell me about the Dry Feb fundraiser?
Dry Feb is a national online fundraiser that challenges Canadians to go alcohol-free for the month of February while raising funds for the Canadian Cancer Society. Drinking any type of alcohol increases your risk of head and neck, breast, stomach, pancreatic, colorectal and liver cancers. Plus having a month off alcohol has other great health benefits, such as sleeping better, having more energy and of course, no hangovers! So, you're not only helping others, you're helping yourself. It's a win-win
Why was February selected as the month for this fundraiser?
Giving up alcohol can be challenging so we chose the shortest month of the year to do it. Plus, having the campaign in February also helps us reset as the new year begins to get healthier.
Can you speak to some of the risks that are involved with alcohol consumption?
The sobering news is that any type or amount of alcohol increases your risk of at least 7 different types of cancer, including head and neck, breast, stomach, pancreatic, colorectal and liver cancers. In fact, in 2015 an estimated 3,300 new cancer cases diagnosed in Canada were due to alcohol consumption. At the Canadian Cancer Society, we encourage people to make informed decisions about their health and recommend that if you choose to drink alcohol, women have less than one drink per day and men have less than two drinks per day.
What other initiatives do you have in the works?
We have just kicked off the Daffodil Campaign to recruit and train volunteers to help support daffodil pins and flower sales in select local communities and other local fundraisers across the country during the month of April.
What’s the biggest challenge in your industry and how do you overcome it?
Not everyone is fully aware of all the groundbreaking research we support and the national support system like rides to treatment, lodging while receiving treatment away from home, or peer support. Thanks to you for helping us to share this message especially since we know nearly 1 in 2 Canadians will be affected by cancer in their lifetime.
I can imagine that convincing people to cut back on drinking isn’t the easiest of tasks. Can you speak to some of the ways you have to get creative in your educational campaigns?
We completely understand the challenge of giving up alcohol for a month and want our Dry Feb participants to feel supported. That’s why we’ve incorporated health-related content on the Dry Feb website to help people understand the many health benefits of giving up alcohol. We also have mocktail recipes, tips to live a more active lifestyle and promote having a more balanced diet.
Can you explain how you use innovation and creativity in your role?
I love this question. I get challenged to be creative on a daily basis to help Canadians learn about our programs and services and how to get involved online. That includes brainstorming new online fundraising and engagement ideas, or how to apply different strategies to improve our donors’ experience like the contests available to participants who meet their fundraising goal on DryFeb.ca –
the opportunities are endless.