Derby Duck Fundraiser

. Our Rubber Duck Racer Spotlight on Charlotte, NC this month features our nonprofit partner, Kindermourn who has been racing for 13 years.  We will spotlight different nonprofit partners during the year so our racer community can learn from each other and grow their race.

Organization Name:  Kindermourn

Years Racing with GAME: 2017 will make 13 years!

Head Duck: It takes a flock to plan our duck race. The entire Kindermourn staff jumps in to help.

Rubber Duck Racer Spotlight on Charlotte, NC
Race venue at U.S. National Whitewater Center

Tell us a little bit about your organization and why you are racing ducks:

Kindermourn is a nonprofit that helps families who are experiencing unthinkable loss in their lives.  We provide hope and healing to bereaved parents dealing with the loss of a child. We also work with grieving children and teens who have lost a sibling, parent or other loved one.

What is your favorite part of planning a Rubber Duck Race?

Our favorite part about planning the duck race has to be the teams that form every year to race in honor/memory of a lost loved on.  The energy these families bring in the midst of grief is inspiring and heartwarming.  We know the duck race brings a different light to their grief in a way that allows them to give back to Kindermourn while never forgetting the one that left them too soon.

Do you have any duck race tips you would share with a first time racer?

Our duck race is unique in that our rubber duck races have become a symbol of hope and healing for our families.  Like grief, the journey to the end is often rough and unpredictable.  Yet, regardless of circumstances, these little rubber ducks remain afloat!  People need to feel connected to your cause and see the impact of what you do.  Your duck race should be the same way.  Find a way to blend your mission with your fundraising objectives and you will have a successful race!

Pat Jones at Kindermourn entering duck adoptions.

How do you keep your race fresh and new year after year?

Our duck race has become a sort of “tradition” with our Kindermourn families and in our community.  People can’t wait for the duck race each year so we are’t inclined to change too much from year to year.  Each year, though, we do create new bright yellow signs and we love to see them popped up in yards all over town!  Our racer t-shirts are also very popular each year and have become an added source of revenue for our race.  Along with social media, we also pop out a lot of creative and motivational emails with new tag lines to generate our team’s excitement!

Rubber Duck Racer Spotlight on Charlotte, NC Billboard
Bright yellow yard signs are a great visual promoting the duck race.

What is something that some people might not know about your organization and or Duck Race?

People probably don’t know that we are a tiny organization that puts on one killer duck race!  Our staff at Kindermourn is under 10 but the need for our services in the community grows each year.  This year was a record sellout at 30,000 ducks. We could have kept it going if we could have gotten more ducks in time for our race.  The community support for Kindermourn is unparalleled, as well.  We have a crane company that donates a crane to lift a custom steel fabricated (specially for us!) basket full of ducks at a venue that is the site of the U.S. Olympic Kayak trials.  Thousands of people come to watch our race and this year was one of the best….30,000 ducks, over 20,000 spectators of all ages cheering on our little yellow champions, and record fundraising at $200,000!

What are some organizational goals you are trying to achieve with your Duck Race?

Our organizational goals for the duck race remain the same each year – to sustain our programs and the growing need for Kindermourn services. This duck race is our single signature fundraiser for the year and accounts for 25% of our operating budget.  The monies raised from this race directly fund our in house individual and group counseling for parents and children. Proceeds also help our outreach school counseling program, provided for free, for at-risk children and teens within our local school system.  This program provides grief awareness and group counseling in a safe, familiar school setting for students dealing with loss or other issues that affect their school performance who would otherwise not have access to our services.

What is your favorite phrase or quote?  

One of our favorites this year was “They believed that they could…and they did.”  We used the picture of a grouping of real ducks on a ledge with one taking a leap over into the water.  We loved that image as it really was a reflection of our momentum this year.  Another favorite quote of ours is this: “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches on the soul, and sings the tune without words, and never stops it all…” – Emily Dickinson

Our favorite duck image we used for our race this year.

What is your favorite Ducktionary phrase?

Our favorite is “Keep Calm and Quack On!”  That’s what we did this year and it worked! We quack ourselves up around here!

Derby Duck Fundraiser