Last December, we were excited and honoured to be one of three charities chosen by Country Walkers for their 35th Anniversary celebration.
Country Walkers is a worldwide tour operator based in Vermont. In honour of their 35th anniversary, they decided to donate a total of $35,000 to three charities and Alma was one of the lucky recipients based on a social media campaign, asking people to vote for their preferred project.
A huge thank you to everyone who helped spread the word – Alma ended up in first place, with 46% of the votes!
I asked Amy O’Brien, Country Walkers’ Product Manage,r a few questions about the company and the campaign.
Alma: Tell me a little bit about Country Walkers’ corporate social responsibility program…what motivates the company to give back?
CW: As avid travelers and passionate hikers, we have a personal, vested interest in protecting the earth. We are committed to supporting local communities both at home and abroad, through partnerships with locally owned hotels and restaurants, patronage of artisans and craftsmen, and the direct funding of charitable projects. Similarly, we’re dedicated to sustainability both at our home office, where we constantly strive to reduce paper consumption and energy use, and on the trail, where we make use of low-emission vehicles, walking itineraries, and knowledgeable naturalist guides to minimize our environmental impact.
Alma: How did the idea for the campaign come about?
CW: In early 2014, we decided that we’d like to make a sizable donation to charities we support as part of our 35th anniversary celebration—settling on $35,000 to reflect our number of years of operation. However, we wanted to make sure that the money went to charities that accurately reflect our guests’ interests and favored causes. To ensure this, we decided to select three charitable organizations, each embodying a different cause: education, conservation, and human health. Our next step was to reach out to guides, charitable organizations, and local partners to identify individual projects to support. When we finally landed on three, we offered them up to our guests via a landing page and let them vote on a cause. We split the money between organizations based on the percentages that voted for each.
Alma: Were there any surprises in the campaign?
We were surprised by the level of response! We had almost 2000 people vote for one of the three charities. It confirmed for us that the type of person who travels with Country Walkers genuinely cares about the destinations they visit. It’s gratifying to see that our commitment to responsible tourism is appreciated by our guests.
By Meagan Ross, Executive Director