Help HoHoTO meet new sponsors

A huge part of our ability to help the Daily Bread Food Bank comes from the donations made by sponsors of HoHoTO.  We’re eternally grateful to the generous and savvy sponsors who’ve chosen to support us in the past.  So far, sponsors have come to HoHoTO in one of two ways – they’ve either reached out to us directly (thank you!) or we’ve found sponsors from our own networks of clients, colleagues and friends.

But here we are in the middle of an *awesome* community that is more plugged-in and connected than ever before, so we’d like to reach out to you and ask you for your help.

Can you help HoHoTO meet some new sponsors? We’d love to hear your ideas for folk we should reach out to for support. A name and contact info is really all we need, we’re happy to do the persuading ourselves.

Of course, if you’re willing to convince people for us, that would be even more awesome. So – why should companies support HoHoTO? Simple: a commitment to HoHoTO directly connects their brand with one of the hottest and most influential events in the local social media calendar. Think about it: the HoHoTO audience is a Who’s Who of the local tech, media, digital marketing, social media and PR communities. Supporting HoHoTO ensures a clear connection between our sponsors and some of the most connected, wired and influential tech users, creators and consumers in the GTA and beyond. Of course, supporting local food banks is a truly important cause – if you can do that AND connect to this community in one go, what’s not to like?

And if you support HoHoTO, we support you. When you come on board as a sponsor, it becomes the personal mission of our team to ensure that everyone at the event (and thousands more following the blog posts, tweetstream and mainstream media coverage) will get to know just how terrific you are.

This year, the need for food bank funds is greater than ever. Please be generous with your creativity and ideas. We know there are people in our community who will support us – we just need to find them.

Please send your info and ideas to us at

Thanks for your support!

On tickets, taxes and how HoHoTO works

One of the big questions this year is: how come my HoHoTO tix and sponsor packages now have HST on them?

It’s a pain, we know, but we’re afraid we have no choice. Last year’s HoHoTO brought in $40,000. We hope and expect to raise even more this year. That puts us over the $30K small vendor tax allowance so we are not tax exempt.

But wait: isn’t HoHoTO a charity-focused event? Well, yes, but it’s complicated:

  • Every cent we take in (after some small expenses) goes directly to the Daily Bread Food Bank;
  • Daily Bread is a registered charity;
  • But HoHoTO is not.

By definition, HoHoTO is actually a revenue-generating event that is selling a product or service. We know this sounds wrong, but we don’t make the tax rules and we’re advised that HST must apply to all that we do. We wish that wasn’t the case too.

Couldn’t we just register to become a charity or incorporate as a non-profit? Sure, we could do that. And incur the registration costs, the admin overhead, the need to file all kinds of financials and other paperwork; inevitably to end up running a whole big operation just to navigate the shark-infested bureaucratic waters of the non-profit world.

We could do that. And every step of the process would, we know, suck more money away from the Food Bank.

Everything we do is designed to ensure the hungry people of Toronto get as much money and food as we can possibly generate, with the lowest possible overhead. We beg, borrow, cajole, and do everything we legally can to make sure our expenses are as tiny as they can be.

Want the numbers? At the first event in 2008 we managed to raise $25,000. Our expenses included drink tickets for sponsorships, venue security and technicians, plus PayPal fees and some printing costs. The wonderful people at the Mod Club waived the usual venue fees, including all the waitstaff who volunteered their time. All said, our expenses were less than $5,000.

HoHoTO 2009 raised $50,000 and we still kept the expenses under $5K. Of course, this means that we actually have to bring in around $55K gross for $50K net, savvy?

We think that’s pretty darn good for a 650-person party and, frankly, we’re not interested in adding any complexity that might increase the cost overhead.

HoHoTO works because of the absence of structure. We’re not an entity – we’re a bunch of people. We’re a community. We’re not a foundation. We’re not a charity. And we’re not, sadly, tax exempt.

We are, however, the best Holiday party you’ve ever been to and a great way to help feed a whole lot of desperately poor people.

HoHoTO Tickets Now On Sale!

HoHoTO 2010 is here! Time to polish off those credit cards and PayPal accounts and start feeding Toronto’s hungry.

There’s a story behind the ticket pricing this year, one we’re sure you’ll understand.

Our goal, as always, is to make as much as we can for the Daily Bread Food Bank – and to ensure a lot of people have a ton of fun while the money rolls in. You drink, they eat – it’s a simple equation.

Here’s how this works.

There’s a limited block of tickets available at the same minimum ticket price as last year (before the addition of HST). These tickets are meant for students (19 and older) or others who really, truly can’t afford more than twenty bucks. If that’s not you, please choose one of the other price levels.

The main pricing structure was inspired by a statistic that really hit home for us. According to the Daily Bread’s “Fighting Hunger: Who’s Hungry. 2010 Profile of Hunger in the GTA” (PDF), the median monthly household income for food bank users in the Toronto area is a mere $1,000.

The same report explained that the average monthly rent (market only) is $750 and the average monthly utilities bill is around $120.

Just let that sink in for a moment. According to our math, that leaves a lot of our fellow Hogtown inhabitants with a scant $130 per month or about $32.50 per week to live on.

Could you live on $32.50 a week?

That’s where we started for the ticket prices this year. We honoured a block at last year’s price of $20 (+HST). Then, we used a rounded version of this figure for a $35 (+HST) ticket that helps the Daily Bread Food Bank feed a household for a week*. You’ll see that the rest of the tickets relate back to this figure including a special block that are $130 (+HST)–the remaining funds that some are left with for the month.

If you’re able to spend a little more, you help feed a Toronto-area household a little longer. The money you give us directly impacts the lives of your fellow Torontonians. Please, please give as much as you possibly can.

To buy your HoHoTO ticket now, click that big red button over there on the right or just click here. And tell all your friends!

Help us help the world suck a little less again this Holiday season. Help us drink for hunger.

*Our numbers are approximate and are intended to give you a tangible sense of the good you’re doing by supporting HoHoTO & the Daily Bread Food Bank.