After months of planning and organizing, we loaded two vehicles with stock and shelving and headed off to Calgary on April 25th. Many long hours and forgotten meals later we’re happy to announce we had a wonderful convention.
When we say we’re a charity booth at a convention, and that all profits from our booth go to our chosen charities, we really mean it. Much of our stock is provided on consignment from other Browncoat groups and craftspeople (they rock!). Our hats are knit by volunteers. Our booth is manned by volunteers who pay their own gas, hotel, and food bills while at the convention. The booth fees and banner costs are covered by our amazing sponsors (Christie Communications, CHAS, Jay C Noden Professional Corp, & Happy Harbor Comics). We do use some of the funds raised to pay for autographs for items used in our charity auctions throughout the year. Once we pay our outstanding stock bills, the remainder is provided to our charity partners.
This year the Alberta Browncoats Society raised $3167 for charity at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo (CCEE). The funds will be distributed to our charity partners as follows:
We could not have stocked our booth without the help and support of the following organizations:
A little convention history…
We’ve been hosting a charity booth at the Calgary Expo since 2011. In our first year, our society’s Chair and a Director decided to try manning a charity convention booth as a “proof of concept”. They personally paid for all stock and fees associated with the convention. Our stock was so tiny that we shared a single booth with two amazing Alberta based small businesses: Geek Badge and Dragon Chow Dice Bags. All three of us crammed ourselves into a 10×10 booth, placed our tables in a U shape and hoped for the best. At the end of the convention, we’d raised $1000 for charity and believed the convention to be a success. The funds raised at the convention were added to the Can’t Stop The Serenity (CSTS) event charity totals for 2011.
We weren’t the geniuses you see before you back then, so we didn’t think of doing important things like saving some funds to reimburse the stock costs or booth fees to our members!
In spring of 2012, we shared a bigger booth space with Geek Badge and Dragon Chow at CCEE. Thanks to a few amazing Browncoat groups (see list above), we arranged for some stock to sell at the booth on consignment. Our knitting team had grown and we managed to bring 200 hats with us. Of course those hats sold out quickly! We’d learned our lesson from 2011 and paid our 2013 booth fees before making our charitable donation. After we paid for our stock, we rolled the profits into our 2012 CSTS event donation.
In fall of 2012, the Edmonton Comic and Entertainment Expo (ECEE) launched. We quickly arranged for a booth and stock and threw ourselves into manning a booth in our hometown. We’ve learned a lot about manning a convention booth along the way and one of the most important things is that you need to be able to pay for your booth (in subsequent years), stock, and still have a great donation at the end of the convention. We also realized that we need to separate our convention based charity donations from our CSTS event. The CSTS event needs to stand on it’s own two feet – even if that means that the annual donation from the event is smaller than in previous years. Otherwise, we can’t afford to continue running our charity booths at conventions. At the end of our first Edmonton Expo, we’d raised $500 for YESS.
And the rest, as they say, is history…