How an employee turned a social media idea into a charitable donation

International Dog Day was August 26, 2022 — but this year, it was also the seed of an idea. By November, that seed grew into a donation of over $4,000 to a local dog rescue.

Any social media user will tell you animal pictures go a long way online. So this year, Manitoba Hydro’s social media team thought it might be nice to celebrate “Hydro Hounds” — showing off employee dogs on the company’s social media accounts — on International Dog Day. A call for photo submissions went out in our internal communications platform and employees answered with a flood of pictures.

A Facebook post featuring four Manitoba Hydro employees and their dogs. The caption of the post says, “If you’re having a ruff day, take a look at our employees and their dogs. Happy International Dog Day!” Below the text is a link to “even more dog photos” collected in an album on Flickr; below the photos, Facebook statistics show the post reached 18,520 people and garnered 1,386 engagements.

“We received over 250 photos, which is way more than we could post,” said Luke Rempel, Manitoba Hydro’s Social Media Analyst. “Then someone suggested we make a calendar and sell it for charity.”

That’s when it became a multi-department effort. Manitoba Hydro’s Corporate Communications and Marketing teams worked on designing the calendars to fit as many dogs in as possible, while the Community Investment team looked for a dog-focused charity to donate to. Out of the blue, Kyle Mailhot, a Messaging Support Specialist in the Operations department, volunteered an idea and his time.

“When we were developing the calendar, Kyle happened to reach out to our Community Investment team and asked about a fundraising opportunity for Manitoba Underdogs Rescue,” said Rempel. “Then they told him about this calendar we were making and he volunteered to coordinate the sales. It worked out really well.”

Mailhot sold $3,000 worth of calendars, coordinated a charity raffle for sports tickets, and arranged to have a “Dog Therapy Day” at our headquarters in downtown Winnipeg. Throughout the day on November 10, employees could come to the main gallery to pet, hold, and adopt dogs from Manitoba Underdogs Rescue. Eight employees applied to adopt dogs that day.

A wide angle photo of six people in a building, standing under a Manitoba Hydro branded tent, each smiling and holding a dog. A medium close-up shot of a woman holding a dog, looking down at it and smiling. Blurred in the background behind her, a man is standing under a tent at a table in front of a man looking down at the table. A medium-wide angle shot of three women facing the camera and standing around a fourth woman. The fourth woman, whose back is to the camera, is holding a puppy that is licking her face. All four women appear to be laughing.

By applying for two other Community Investment grant opportunities, Kyle netted Manitoba Underdogs an additional $1,150 in corporate gifts, for a total of $4,150 in donations.

All in all, over $4,100 dollars, 200 hundred calendars, eight adoption applications, and a lot of wagging tails — we think that’s a pretty good outcome for a Facebook post.