CIBC Run for the Cure Energizes Fundraisers with Avatars

Canadian Cancer Society responded to new conditions imposed by the pandemic

Project Description

Canadian Cancer Society faced the challenge of preserving the positive experience associated with their well known partnership event the CIBC Run for the Cure. They converted to a successful virtual fundraising event, relying on trusted Blackbaud solutions and evolving the experience by offering their participants custom avatar tools provided by Charity Dynamics. More than a third of participants adopted the new Boundless Motion™ avatars


When Canadian Cancer Society decided in the early months of the pandemic to transform the 2020 CIBC Run for the Cure into a virtual event, they had a little more than four months to make the shift—half the time they usually have for planning. They wanted to push the creative envelope of what was possible, and what an event can look like.


  • Canadian Cancer Society expanded their use of Boundless Solutions™ to increase engagement virtually
  • Used customizable Boundless Motion™ avatars that participants could use in place of their main photo on fundraising pages, desktop and mobile apps, and in related social media.
  • The avatars drove engagement by offering a fun opportunity for expression and by gamifying participation.
  • Participants could recreate themselves or get more imaginative with their avatars, and had a diverse range of options available that included appearance and clothing
  • Avatars also had accessibility options, such as a wheelchair or a guide.
  • As fundraisers reached milestones, they could earn further customizations, for example, adding fun accessories, such as hats and tutus, as participants often wore at previous CIBC Run for the Cure events.
  • Slogans and branding on avatar apparel were available in English and French.


  • 36% of Run participants created and customized their own Boundless Motion avatar.
  • With the avatar option available, the fundraiser activation rate—reflecting those participants who engaged in peer-to-peer fundraising in addition to registering for the run or walk—was up 38% from the year before.
  • Participants who created a custom avatar raised 4.5 times more than those who didn’t, and those who created a custom avatar AND used the mobile app raised 5.8 times more than those who did neither.
  • Active fundraisers who also created an avatar raised an additional $404 on average. Active fundraisers who created an avatar AND used the app raised an additional $523 on average.
  • The overall average raised per fundraiser grew by 22%.