The Problem We're Solving

For years the non-profit industry has faced increased demand and decreased resources. Most charities struggle to meet the needs of their constituents and as a result their buildings often takes a back seat. Soon these halls, parks, homeless shelters, food banks, youth drop-in centers, etc. are diminished and in need of renewal.

Current methods of financing, funding, delivering and maintaining this infrastructure are insufficient and inadequate. Charities who do undertake the work often don’t have the experience or expertise to oversee the project wisely as it is outside of their traditional mandate.

The enormity of the problem is reflected in stats for the recreational sector of BC:

The above figures reflect only the recreational sector.  Little or no infrastructure inventory has been done for social service groups such as food banks, daycares, shelters, etc.  Although the entire scope of the problem is undetermined, it is safe to assume that problem is larger and broader than the recreational sector, which is traditionally better funded.

Diminished buildings inhibit an organization’s ability to serve their constituents. Staff activities can be impeded. Workplace conditions can be unsafe. Lack of aesthetics contribute to a sense of depression and despondency for staff and clients alike. Operational costs increase.

Studies show that community assets that show signs of disorder and decay result in a growing sense of isolation and anxiety, as well as increased crime, especially among youth.  People often feel disconnected and disempowered to affect change, and therefore don’t participate in community initiatives. 

"The presence of non-profits in terms of public infrastructure is often most explicit through the physical assets where they go about their mission-based business. These are often sports and recreational facilities, arts and cultural spaces, and community gathering places that provide opportunities for civic engagement. These assets would not likely have been developed without the impetus of non-profit organizations."

- , VanCity Community Foundation

Traditional Solutions

Most often charities apply for funding from government and/or foundations, and then combine these funds with public donation campaigns to raise monies for needed renovations. Unfortunately these applications and campaigns are hard to achieve.

In Canada less than 4% of grants are eligible for renewing infrastructure, which is a small drop in the bucket of this mounting problem.

Traditional fundraising for infrastructure renewal and maintenance is common, yet often unsuccessful. It is hampered by the public's perception that non-profits should have overhead rates of 20% or less.  This means that people tend not to donate money unless it is directly allocated to program delivery and/or services.

In addition there are “contests” that non-profits can participate in (such as Kraft Hockeyville and the Aviva Community Fund). But a very small percentage of participants ever receive any funds. In fact, most who enter such “contests” end up demoralized and with diminished capacity as a result of  months of wasting time and energy.

Finally, if a charity is able to raise the necessary funds for a renovation they then contract a construction firm to do the work. This equates to a one-to-one ratio, i.e. for every dollar raised they get one dollar worth of renovations.

What if charities could take every dollar raised for renovations and have it leveraged so as to get four or five dollars worth of renovations? This is the solution HeroWork offers.

“Keeping up is not just a matter of replacing aging facilities. It is a commitment to family and community life that lies at the very core of the society we cherish.”

- Kevin Pike, Former Director of Parks & Community Services

Our Solution

HeroWork’s turns a standard renovation into a spectacular community event in which participants have a life affirming and often transformative experience.

There is an opening ceremony, called the Convoy of Heroes, followed by the demolition. Lunch and dinner is catered for volunteers with live entertainment. The short timelines, close quarters, and cooperative atmosphere bind people together. There is constant excitement and camaraderie. The Big Reveal is streamed live to the volunteers. Plus, we use social media to tell the story of the people and businesses who rise up to make it happen.

Radical Renos ripple out goodwill into the community through the example of what can be done when people work together with common vision and good planing.

HeroWork Radical Renovations measurable results:2015-02-06_12-31-10

    • A refurbished and sustainable building that is safe, beautiful, and up to code. The difference between the “before” and the “after” is astonishing.
    • The recipient charity is more able to deliver their mandate through improved workflow, decreased utilities costs, lower ongoing maintenance costs, and potentially expanded delivery of services
    • An increased awareness of the recipient charity’s purpose and mission.
    • The successful mobilization of community.
    • Deeper support of community-oriented companies and organizations through our Contractor Directory and marketing initiatives.

Intangible results are:

    • Renewed sense of belonging and community for participants.
    • Increased leadership capacity in community.
    • Showcase local role models.

"There are an increasing number of success stories where non-profits, who have members with novel ideas, have transformed their visions into places where people gather, work, play, share, earn, serve, and support others. These spaces are embraced by citizens who feel a sense of ownership, pride and promise, and this builds strong communities."

- , VanCity Community Foundation

Three Teams, One Result

To organize and deliver this kind of event three different team work in together:

  1. The Renovation Team
  2. The Event Management Team
  3. The Communications and Sponsorship Team

Each team is led by at least one project manager, who orchestrates team leaders, who in turn orchestrate group leaders. These group leaders each manage small groups of volunteers and assistants.

For example the renovation PM is in charge of team leaders in each trade: electrical, painting, design, plumbing, carpentry, landscape, etc.. Each of these trades will have group leaders who are in charge of a smaller component. To illustrate, there may be one professional plumber (or company) coordinating the entire plumbing component, but he/she might have 5 other plumbing companies in charge of a smaller component, like a single bathroom or a kitchen. Each works together to achieve the overall goal and meet our deadlines.

The Power of Story

HeroWork embraces modern storytelling avenues that include video, blog, social media, and broadcast TV. We used these avenues to increase brand awareness, strengthen our tribe, promote our sponsors, and spread our message as well as the message of the recipient non-profits.

Joanie McCorry

          HeroWork is such a gift to the Mustard Seed.  Paul, you are the Pied Piper of good, generosity, and making a difference! Thank you for leading all of us in this extreme makeover! I don’t think any of us will ever forget this week…

Joanie McCorry Photographer
Laurie MacKenzie
          The aspect of HeroWork that had the greatest impact on me was the community that was built among the volunteers. This sense of community penetrated everything – every nail, every light socket, every new wall was built with pride of community.
Laurie MacKenzie Onsite Organizer