We can be proud of the fact that we can come together as an organization and contribute to the sense of community while making a difference.
I like to think of the dealership community as something greater than a collection of businesses. In fact, I think we’re a large family. While there’s no doubt that there’s a healthy level of competition amongst dealers, there’s also a sense of community.
And it’s this idea of community that truly shines when we work together for a cause that’s greater than the day-to-day management of our individual businesses. It shines when we combine our resources to help those who need our assistance the most.
Take for example the annual TADA Rock the Road Raffle for Prostate Cancer Canada. Every year our members step up to the plate to supply a vehicle that is raffled off to raise funds and awareness in the battle against cancer.
“We have a long relationship with the TADA,” says Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of Prostate Cancer Canada, and a good friend of mine. “We’ve had five sellout car lotteries. For the past four years the TADA has given us a free car to raffle off at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto. This last year alone the raffle raised $400,000. So all in all, the TADA has helped us raise over $1.3 million and counting.”
“Plaid for Dad”
Besides the annual raffle, TADA members have also embraced the “Plaid for Dad” campaign, which also raises funds to fight prostate cancer. Rossi explains how this idea came about. “We all know that some companies have a tradition of ‘Dress Down Fridays,’ so three years ago, at Prostate Cancer Canada we came up with a twist on that idea. We challenged all Canadians to wear plaid on the final Friday before Father’s Day. Thus the name, Plaid for Dad.”
Although the Plaid for Dad campaign raises funds to fight cancer, it also raises awareness, educating men about the disease and what they need to do in order to diagnose it as early as possible. A worthy cause, indeed!
And as is the case with the annual raffle, I’m delighted to report that dealers have embraced the idea behind Plaid for Dad, and many work hard, year after year, to contribute as much as possible towards the cause.
Spreading the word
“The campaign started with just a few companies three years ago,” Rossi explains. “Last year, 600 companies from coast to coast participated, and this year that number jumped to over 1,200 companies. It has really taken off, and once again many of the TADA members have stepped up to the plate to help out.”
Rossi says that two TADA members in particular have shot to the top of the leader board. “The top auto dealer in the country, for Plaid for Dad, is the Performance Auto Group. They raised just under $5,000 for #23 place overall nationally. The Star Motors Group of Ottawa raised roughly $4,000. So these two TADA members are at the top of the pack this year.”
How did the Performance Auto Group come out on top in 2017? “I think we were able to get employees excited because the cause means a lot to many of them,” explains Ashley Ward, Marketing Coordinator for the Performance Auto Group. “We put up posters in our dealerships, sent internal messages and emails to all staff to participate, and I think the idea that they could wear plaid to symbolize our involvement was fun for everyone.”
Ward says that they were able to raise such a significant amount by encouraging all employees to donate what they could. “The Plaid for Dad organizers were fantastic in helping to get our online donation page set up really quickly, and we directed our employees to donate online. On the donation page our employees could leave messages of encouragement, and I think that helped as well.”
As many are aware, the Plaid for Dad campaign isn’t limited to Ontario. It’s national. So you may be wondering who raised the most for the campaign this year overall.
“Top spot went to the Canadian Trucking Alliance with almost $50,000 raised,” Rossi says. “Many of their members have actually wrapped their trucks in plaid, and they’ve been criss-crossing the country. One father/son group from Stratford, Ontario, bought a new van in Edmonton, and decided to get it wrapped in plaid. Then they travelled from Edmonton to Stratford, stopping in towns and cities along the way, visiting with mayors, and spreading the word about Plaid for Dad.”
While none of our members are likely to travel across the country in a vehicle wrapped in plaid, it’s encouraging so see so many stepping forward to lend a hand, year after year, when the need arises. May we all continue to foster this giving spirit as we do what we can to make a difference.