This past weekend, we kicked off the 2023 duck season in Ocala, Florida. Our Florida racers have had to face some weather challenges over the last few years, Hurricane Ian being the last one in 2022. Although not nearly as bad, the Marion Rotary Duck Derby had to make some last minute calls before the weekend due to rain and the cancellation of the Cattle Drive & Cowboy Roundup the derby was in conjunction with.
But we all know ducks don’t mind a little rain, so the show or should we say derby must go on! By the time the ducks were ready to race Saturday morning, all 5,000 ducks had been adopted benefitting the Discovery Center and other local charities.
We have to commend the hard work of the Marion County Rotary Club, Discovery Center and the other city entities involved who helped make it happen with all the last minute changes! Let’s hope sunshine will make an appearance next year!
Getting your staff, boards, and volunteers organized in correct roles is
crucial. To be efficient in the planning and execution of your fundraising event, GAME
suggests the following for the committee roles. We recommend a minimum of 2-3 people per committee.
In many instances, an organization may select to combine two or three committees. It
is imperative that all committees understand they must work together and
communicate for the benefit of the rubber duck race. Often there will be some
crossover between two committees to finalize a particular aspect of the race.
The Head Duck will oversee all aspects of the duck race and will make all
decisions as it pertains to the structure, layout, and operations. The Head Duck
will communicate the needs of each committee to ensure a cooperative environment
in which the responsibilities and needs of each committee are being met.
- Oversees all duck race committees.
- Capable of delegation and follow-up.
- The management and business leader.
- Serves as the liaison between their organization and the GAME team.
- Able to assemble quality committees, execute plans and meet deadlines.
- Skilled at recruiting and cultivating people best suited for the various key responsibilities.
- Requires a strong working knowledge of sponsorship acquisition.
- Oversees all sponsorship acquisition and is the main contact for sponsors .
- Responsible for creating presentations for the media to solicit sponsors.
- Capable of establishing sponsorship levels and the components involved.
- A background or understanding of marketing, advertising and promotion.
- Capable of contacting, negotiating, and closing media & sponsor deals.
- Must have a sales background and sales experience.
- Secures adoption event dates and locations.
- Manages adoption event staff and volunteers.
- Able to motivate teams to sell, distribute and collect adoptions.
- Able to recruit and cultivate volunteers to work at adoption events.
- Collects adoption papers from adoption events and sponsor locations.
- Prior experience in database management and marketing is vital.
- An advanced understanding of computer software and technology.
- Able to coordinate and train volunteers who will perform data entry.
- Works with GAME to setup and manage the online adoption website.
- Interface with the adoption committee chair, provides data of sales for meetings.
- Able to plan for week of event and race day sales, assigning tag ranges to teams and identifying race winners.
- Experience with event production and assistance from volunteers and staff.
- Hands on person who is mechanically inclined, possessing strong organizational skills and execution.
- Able to execute a tagging party, provide manpower and a facility for transportation and storage of ducks.
- Responsible for the race day event, including operations, manpower, venue coordination, race site and management, equipment, communication, racecourse design, test, trap, and post-race responsibilities.
- Responsible for post-race clean up, cleaning and organizing the ducks and getting them ready to ship the to the next race city.
Marketing & Social Media Chair
- Plans and implements the digital marketing campaign for the duck race.
- Creates new and engaging content to post on social media on a regular basis leading up to the event.
- Acknowledges and tags sponsors in social media posts as part of their sponsorship package.
- Communicates with GAME regarding their Facebook ad campaign and social media content.
- In charge of posting to all social media accounts during duck season leading up to the duck race.
Organizing Your Volunteers
Once you have organized your committees and identified the best chair for each committee, you will want to look at recruiting a few motivated volunteers to assist each chair. Make sure to identify the strengths of each person to ensure they are qualified and have the time to commit to the role. Once you have recruited volunteers, you should identify which committee is best for each person’s skill set.
The holidays are right around the corner and although most racers aren’t in duck season, many have found ways to incorporate ducks during the holiday season. Showcasing ducks here and there during different holidays are a great way to keep ducks and your organization on top of mind when it comes to sponsorships and the community. Check out how racers are doing just that this season!
- Holiday Parade
2. Adoption/Race Information Booth
3. Duck Christmas Tree
4. Elf on the Shelf Accomplice
5. Stocking Additions
Duck season may be coming to a close, but the holidays are a great opportunity to show your duck partners your appreciation! We encourage you to reach out to sponsors, duck adopters, and potential donors for Thanksgiving in a fun and festive way. Below are a few ideas to help you get started.
Happy Thanksgiving from your GAME family. We hope you have a great holiday!
Holiday weekends are always something we look forward to. They’re full of local events and spending time with family and friends. This past Labor Day weekend, we had 3 races including our largest race of the season as we come close to the close of summer (here in Arizona, not so much).
First up was the Gwinnett Duck Derby hosted by the Rotary Club of Sugarloaf on September 1st. 6,200 ducks were adopted in continued efforts to support local charities. Some current and past beneficiaries have been: the Special Needs Schools of Gwinnett, Lawrenceville Boys & Girls Club, Annandale Village, Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation, Rainbow Village, Gwinnett County Library Foundation, Gwinnett Tech, Because One Matters, Nothing But the Truth Food Ministry and several title 1 schools in Gwinnett County. First place winner took home $2,500 which was announced virtually the day of the race.
Next up was 2nd year veteran racer, The Great Rubber Duck Race in Charleston, WV. The event took place on Saturday, September 3rd raising money for the United Way of Central West Virgina, who support the community through education, health and financial stability. Over 3,000 ducks were adopted and one lucky winner took home $3,000 cash along with additional prizes for 2nd-10th place and dead last duck.
Last but definitely not least was the Rubber Duck Regatta in Cincinnati on Sunday. For the 28th year, Freestore Food Bank broke record numbers by getting approximately 230,000 ducks adopted (final numbers haven’t been confirmed). The ducks hit the water again after a couple of years going virtual due to the pandemic to raise money to provide a reliable source of nutritional food for more than 90,000 kids in the tri-state area. First place duck took home a new 2022 Honda CRV-EX.
Each weekend the GAME team is blown away by the efforts of each nonprofit we have the privilege of working with. Whether it’s 2,500 ducks or 200,000 ducks that get adopted, we love seeing the impact year over year every racers makes in their community. We’ve got quite a few more races coming up before we close the 2022 season- check out Duck Races to see who’s up next!
It’s important to start reaching out to sponsors early, which is why at GAME we suggest a 7-9 month timeline for our racers. We encourage racers to secure as many sponsors as possible to cover the costs of the duck race. You can get creative with what types of businesses you reach out to, and remember that anything that adds value to your event is worth your time. Below are just a few types of sponsors that you can target. If you need more ideas, be sure to reach out to your GAME team!
Over the year’s, Pace Center for Girls has been notorious for having some of the most creative duckorated ducks. Each year, local businesses will buy into the VID (Very Important Duck) package where they receive a corporate duck as part of their sponsorship. They then have the ability to dress, paint and decorate their duck any way they want in hopes to regin in the most votes for the People’s Choice Awards for Best Dressed Duck. Winning duck takes home a trophy and of course bragging rights.
Here are some of our favorites that we’ve come across over the years.
We created the Virtual Gift Bag as way for racers to add more value for their sponsors for virtual duck races, but it can be used in conjunction with non-virtual duck races as well. The Virtual Gift Bag is something you can offer to all your sponsors, top tier sponsors or select sponsors of your choice. This feature allows for extra advertising for sponsors, increased traffic to their website and potential new customers.
The Virtual Gift Bag benefits racers as well sponsors. Now sponsors have an added incentive to sponsor your duck race, and you could receive more traffic to your Equack site as duck adopters return to claim offers. If you have questions or would like to learn how to implement the Virtual Gift Bag on your Equack site, contact Katie at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hey GAME friends, Krystal, your Social Media and Marketing Manager here! As the Steel City Duck Derby approaches this Saturday, I couldn’t help but look back on my trip to Pittsburgh for their workshop last summer. It was my first in person workshop since COVID and I couldn’t have been more excited. There’s something about in person workshops and interacting with our partners that you just can’t get with a virtual workshop. Not to say they weren’t effective but, I’m a social butterfly. I love getting to meet our new partners, seeing their organization first hand, brainstorming alongside with them and exploring their city.
My hosts from Partners for Quality did not disappoint in taking me to local spots and showing me what Pittsburgh was all about, while discussing all things ducks. I tried local beer (restaurant ended up becoming one of their sponsors), had a Primanti Bro’s sandwhich (apparently it’s a staple go to in Pittsburgh) and we even got to see some ducks checking out the raceway first hand. Seeing it all come together for their team in the last 8 months has been awesome to see and we’re excited for their kickoff event at Allegheny Commons Park on Saturday.
To find out more about their race and how they are working to raise money to continue to provide administrative management for their family of agencies, who serve individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, go to: Steel City Duck Derby