It was late 2016 when we had the idea of organizing a Duck Race in the Gouda canal. A Duck Race is the kind of zany event perfect for fundraising, where lottery tickets representing rubber ducks are sold for a chance at prizes for the winning ducks. The Duck Race could serve as a vehicle for bringing participants, JCI Gouda and the charitable organization closer together and generating publicity. It also served as a good learning experience for us as a chamber, just as everything we do at JCI.
For our charity organization, we chose the LINDA.foundation, which is also a JCI Netherlands partner. The Duck Race was organized by Nicole and Karin, who became members of JCI Gouda last year. After a rocky start, the entire chamber began selling ducks through personal networks and promotions on (social) media. There were also many ducks sold to the Gouda business community as sponsor packages, and to members of the Gouda Hotel & Restaurant Association (Goudse Horeca) with teams of 10 ducks racing against each other in a special Gouda “Horeca Race”. The Gouda business community also provided most of the prizes.
On the day of the race, we set out a course at the Kleischuur restaurant on the Gouda canal. The Kleischuur was extremely helpful during the event, which also brought them a lot of good publicity. Getting the required permits was also relatively easy since the event was planned during the Gouda Museum Harbor Days. Some of the duck ‘owners’ came to see how their ducks would do in the race.
We asked the volunteer fire department to spray water to move the ducks along for the race. The presence of their fire truck and the spectacle of 2000 rubber ducks in the canal proved a popular attraction, with passing parents and children stopping to see what was going on. The master of ceremony for the entire event, thanking our sponsors and partners, was Jasper Kuin, a well-known event organizer in Gouda. Helena van Hes of the LINDA.foundation was also on hand to tell everyone what the money was being raised for.
The first Duck Race in Gouda
The Duck Race brought JCI Gouda plenty of (media) attention, with an article in the national newspaper AD and a live report on the radio. The LINDA.foundation turned out to be an ideal publicity partner also, using their professional (social) media to call attention to our Duck Race. Many more Gouda businesses and residents now know (again) who JCI Gouda are.
It was wonderful to see how this event took off within JCI Gouda, and in the Gouda business community. The enthusiasm brought by Nicole and Karin mobilized the entire chamber and helped generate the impression in the business community that everyone was participating, so not joining in was simply not an option.
For the members of JCI Gouda, it was an excellent learning experience. And for the LINDA.foundation, the event raised 4300 euros that will go to helping eight families in Gouda. For each 500 euros raised for a family, they receive a total benefit of 600 euros in the form of gift certificates.
As for the Sustainable Development Goals, the Duck Race was a nice contribution to SDG #1: End poverty in all its forms, everywhere. The SDG #17: Partnerships for the goals was applicable as well, thanks to the successful cooperation among multiple organizations.