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Elf Squad Community Christmas Project

Elf Squad is a not-for-profit community project, that unites Geelong business owners to help local families in need at Christmas. 

Elf Squad provides sacks of donated Toys, Regional Gourmet Treats and Technology to families identified by local charities, grass-roots and community organisations as being in need of “An ‘Elfing Hand”.

Elf Squad is a 100% voluntary operation, organised by a core group of leaders and members of local business groups in Geelong, including CoClub CoWorking Collective, Business in Heels Geelong, Entrepreneurs Geelong, Technology Geelong, Creative Geelong, Small Business Smart Business, Eastern Geelong Business Network, Geelong Small Business Network, independent coWorking spaces in the region, including Arro HQ, Impact Workshop and Runway Geelong.

Elf Squad organises the following activities, to generate donations: 

- Corporate and Public Sector Toy Drives, via collections at staff Christmas parties & premises;

- Small Business Toy Drives, via collections at business events, and in coworking spaces;

- General Public Toy Collections, via Elf Squad bins at selected retail locations;

- Regional Gourmet Treats Campaigns, where business owners donate a nominated Regional Gourmet Treat to Elf Squad every time they make a sale in November and December. We hope this campaign will drive small business sales, and boost the regional economy;

- Technology Campaigns, where tech sector organisations donate a % of sales to our Digital-Inclusion Project, which we're running with Technology Geelong. In 2017 - 2018, these funds will be used to purchase annual internet service and digital devices for families who need it. 

Elf Squad runs the following events to drive participation and donations:

- Annual Elf Squad Campaign Launch - this year on 1/12/17 at Creative Geelong

- Annual Elf Squad Gift Drive with Business in Heels Geelong - this year on 30/11/17 at Arro HQ

- Annual Elf Squad Christmas Party Fund-Raiser - this year it's doubling as an after-party for Pivot Summit, on Friday 8/12/17 - on the same site as Pivot Summit, Arro HQ at Federal Mills

- Annual Elf Squad Wrap 'n' Sack Fest - a two-day programme, where we gather our team, members, volunteers, donors, supporters and their families at a big warehouse in North Geelong, to hand-make cards, hand-print wrapping paper, hand-decorate sacks, and fill them with hand-chosen, beautifully wrapped toys, treats and tech - for hand-delivery to families the week before Christmas. This year, Corporate Day is on Fri 15/12 & Family Day is Sat 16/12/17 - all at Elf Squad HQ, at Federal Mills

- Annual Elf Squad Post-Christmas Wrap Party in February - where we gather our members and supporters to celebrate the year's results, thanks them for their help, and recruit the next year's Elf Squad Leader team;

- Annual Elf Squad Christmas in July Fund-Raiser - an event to raise funds and profile, and recruit Elf Squad volunteers for the next Christmas campaign

- Annual Elf Day - on 27/10 - the Birthday of Elf Squad Founder Stephanie Beitzel - when the Elves return to Geelong for another successful season of 'Elfing the Community at Christmas.

Elf Squad was founded in 2017 by Geelong entrepreneur Stephanie Beitzel, as a community project to demonstrate and drive contribution in her own business CoClub - the Regional CoWorking Collective, and organiser of The Big Geelong CoWorking Day.  Following the success of that event, Stephanie Beitzel was recruited as CEO for Technology Geelong (formerly ICT Geelong), the peak body, membership organsiation and network for Geelong technology agenda, driving digital transformation in Greater Geelong.

Rather than cancel Elf Squad to make room for this very demanding new role, Stephanie integrated the region's Tech and Digital-Inclusion agenda into Elf Squad's offering, to fully leverage the networks and profile of her CEO role. She has also invested significant time and energy building up a core team of brand new Elf Squad volunteers, to boost capacity in order to still deliver the project's programmes as planned.

Elf Squad is not yet a registered charity. To date, Elf Squad‘s activity has mainly focused on donation of time and goods, setting up a separate not-for-profit entity has not been a priority.

However, since Elf Squad Founder Stephanie Beitzel stepped into a more high-profile role of CEO of Technology Geelong, supporter interest has shot up, with individuals and organisations aexpressing interest in sponsoring or donating cash to Elf Squad.

So our team is considering options on how best to proceed from a registration point of view. Until this is in place, any sponsorship and event proceeds are being directed to partner charities to facilitate the purchase of services for Elf Squad recipients, such as low-cost internet services. And any operational overheads and running costs, which are being kept to a minimum, are being absorbed by Stephanie Beitzel, and her sole-trader business.

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