TeleMiracle is the latest fundraiser forced to reinvent itself due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The annual telethon raises money for the Kinsmen Foundation, which in turn provides funding to people requiring special needs equipment to maintain or improve their quality of life, travel assistance for those who need to leave their community to access life-saving treatment and to institutions and health foundations to purchase special or new and innovative equipment to improve care.
This year will be the 45th annual event, and, for the first time, it will be done without an audience.
According to a post on the telethon’s website, there will be no in-person performances this year, nor will there be a live audience.
All performances will be pre-recorded. If performers are unable to create a high-quality video for the show, recording sessions will be arranged in January.
TeleMiracle is looking for auditions from a variety of acts from a variety of communities to perform at either the countdown show or the main telethon.
The telethon will still be broadcast for 20 hours on CTV, just like it is every year.
“Because COVID-19 has caused financial hardships for many people in Saskatchewan, we anticipate that this will have an impact on the amount of donations we receive this year,” TeleMiracle writes on its website.
“It will also increase the need for funding, as we become the funder of last resort for a larger number of our province’s residents. For these reasons, fundraising will be more important than ever. Even though performances will be pre-recorded this year, we’re still counting on those selected to be part of the Sask. Talent to help us go higher.”
Auditions for the show are allowed over video. TeleMiracle will also be holding in-person auditions in Regina on Oct. 17 and in Saskatoon on Oct. 24. Safety and extra cleaning measures will be in place to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. Everyone is being asked to wear a mask, except for when they’re actually performing, and to arrive at the venue earlier to allow time for screening and registration.
More details on auditions and registration can be found at TeleMiracle.com.
COVID-19 also forced TeleMiracle to accelerate the development of their new website.
The transition to digital was always a part of TeleMiracle’s plans, but the pandemic accelerated them.
“This summer, we started working with the amazing team at Yas, here in Saskatoon (yastech.ca),” TeleMiracle wrote.
“Our TeleMiracle Administrative Assistant, Brigitte April, has been providing them with the content. Zack Meredith and the Yas team designed and built the site from the ground up. They are fantastic to work with and we are thrilled with the results so far.”
The website will feature a new system for online donations that will make things easier, improving the process for fundraising pages, adding content for teachers to get students involved, a revamp of the corporate sponsorship program, a link to the livestreams directly on the TeleMiracle website, a new blog section and, soon, an online application for funding from the Kinsmen Foundation.
The website also has a new virtual museum with photos and other items from the archives, as well as more information about the Kinsmen foundation, TeleMiracle itself and Kin Canada.