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The Art of Volunteering

Timeraiser offers you the opportunity to bid on art with time instead of money.

As I hear a passionate speech being delivered by Anil Patel, the founder of Timeraiser, I check out the crowd that has amassed for the Timeraiser launch party at Subeez. Artists, volunteers and supporters of Vancouver’s 2nd Timeraiser event are standing amidst pieces of beautiful artwork, listening to Patel’s words of gratitude for their involvement. Described as “part volunteer fair, part silent art auction, part night on the town”, the event plays host to up-and-coming local artists by purchasing their art work at fair-market value in order to auction it off in exchange for volunteer hours. This year, Timeraiser injected $15,000 into the Canadian art scene with its purchases for Vancouver’s event alone.

Patel, a young East-coaster with a Masters degree from York in Environmental Studies, is personally introducing himself to each and every guest at the event. When it came my turn to say hello, I asked him what made him come up with the amazing idea of trading art for volunteer hours in the community. He tells me with a frank honesty that he and his friends conjured up the idea of Timeraiser while attending another charity event that had left them dissatisfied. Patel explains that Timeraiser offers transparency and gives individuals the opportunity to give back to the community with something other than money, allowing them to see the effects of their involvement.

With events hosted throughout Canada (Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Edmonton, Ottawa and Hamilton), Timeraiser has generated 38,000 volunteer hours since its inception, and invested over $200,000 in emerging Canadian Artists. This year’s event in Vancouver is aiming to generate 5,000 volunteer hours. The event takes place on September 24th, and is likely to draw an eclectic crowd of young professionals vying for local artwork and looking to offer their skill-sets to agencies that need them. The evening schedule is designed to allow attendees to meet and greet the agencies before the bidding commences, ensuring that attendees can learn more about the volunteer opportunities and how they'll fit into their schedules before pledging. Attendees can mix and match, completing their pledged hours at a number of different agencies. Tickets to the event are available online only, at $20. It's recommended that attendees pledge 20 hours of volunteer work, but the amount of hours can be changed before, during and even after the event.

To attend Vancouver's 2nd annual Timeraiser, visit

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