Team Captain Tips

Thank you Team Captains! You're the boots that keep CNOY moving. You play a vital role in the event, and we're grateful for your leadership.

How to Begin

First Things First

Captains make it happen! While 80% of being a captain is just being a decisive and encouraging friend, here's the rest of it:

  • Set a good fundraising goal: Usually the captain sets the fundraising goal for the team. A $2000 goal is a good start, but it depends on your team and your expectations of them - talk to your teammates and build your own goal! Most fundraisers bring in around $200-$300, but some raise much more. What's important is to settle on a goal and talk about it often in your communication. Don't worry, you can edit your goal up at any time.
  • Talk About The Toque: When you go the extra mile and fundraise ($150 for adults, $75 for youth under 17 or under) we’ll celebrate your efforts with an oh-so-comfy CNOY Winter Toque. You gotta have that toque!
  • Brainstorm teammates: As you begin, consider all the potential teammates you could ask to join your team. Write their names down without a lot of self-editing, and keep brainstorming. Talk to your team to get more ideas, and encourage them to bring in teammates too.
  • Communication: Decide how you'll stay in contact with your team, both during the campaign and on the event day. Group texts, short emails, and the odd phone call over the campaign period will help keep you and your team encouraged and focused. Welcome new members joyfully, and celebrate good fundraising pushes! Finally, when event day comes you'll want to make sure your team has your cell number handy to stay connected.
  • Confirm your date: If your team decides to 'go virtual' and avoid the In-Person event, pick your event date early. Of course, we strongly encourage you to pick February 24, 2024, CNOY's national event day! But if your team has a scheduling conflict, feel free to select any date in February that works best for you.
Recruitment Ideas

You probably don't need any help thinking about who you could ask to join your team. But if you are coming up empty for names, this list could boost your recruitment:

  • Spouse/partner: Of course they'll join your team. Tell them it's a date! Surprise them with the news they're gonna have a night on the town... with hundreds of other people wearing CNOY winter toques. They'll never forget the moment you asked...
  • Kids: Why not... what a learning opportunity! The issues of people experiencing homelessness, hurt, and hunger are so important to expand their understanding of the world, and a great way for kids to help appreciate the things they have.
  • Siblings: You've got a couple on your nice list, right? Great - now put them on your recruitment list.
  • Mom or Dad: It seems so long ago, but before you were born they used to have lives and did fun stuff. Maybe it's time you started easing them back into it! Ask them, appreciate them, and make some family memories.
  • Work people: Week after week, they keep thinking about how wonderful you are - you might as well invite them to join your team and prove all their assumptions correct!
  • Neighbors: You shoveled their driveway all last winter, and mow a little extra all summer. They kind of owe you - invite them. :)
  • Friends: Wait, why is the option way down here? Obviously, your friends should be joining you, and in fact, are just waiting for you to ask right now. They'd love to hang out with you because you're the most bestest bestie for life friend in the whole wide world.
  • Boss: She'd be soooo impressed with your initiative and pluck, then even more impressed when she finds out you didn't invite her to impress her...
  • Pastor: Tell them they can still rock their vestments (or go wild with their funkiest tie) if they want.
  • Classmates: Save them from a Saturday of Netflix, top ramen, and rolling eyes - they'll be happier if you help them do something meaningful instead.
  • Church or small group: These folks are great fun and might love to walk for a few hours on a Saturday. Ooh, and you gotta get a potluck in there somehow - church people will do anything for egg salad sandwiches and spiceless chili.
  • Pretty much everyone else: Pilates instructor, yoga friend, the guy beside you on the bus every morning (Joe something), your favorite barista who always remembers your order, your accountant, your lawyer (if they love justice, they'll love this!), your doctor, dentist, or do-gooder-friend-at-the-club - the list is endless.

Enjoy your brainstorming!

Money, Safety + Waivers

Handling Money

All cash and check donations need to be collected and sent directly to CNOY Head Office by participants.

  • Credit Card: The Best Option! Simple, secure, automatically tax receipted for gifts of $20+. Visit the Donate page, share your personal page link, or have your donor call the CNOY Head Office.
  • Checks: The Old Faithful - made out to Coldest Night of the Year with your name on the Memo line. Mail them to the CNOY Head Office along with your completed pledge sheet.
  • Cash: You have 2 options:
  • 1. Login to FundHub, click Enter $$ and Checks, create pledges for your cash donations, pay them off with your personal credit card, and keep the cash. OR...
  • 2. Write a check (made out to Coldest Night of the Year) for the total amount of cash you’ve collected. Mail it to the CNOY Head Office with your completed pledge sheet.

Safety First!

  • Youth and children should always be supervised.
  • Remind your team that in case of an accident or injury, they should immediately call 911 for emergency support.
  • If an accident does occur, please contact the CNOY Head Office by phone or email.

Watch for Waivers

Everyone on your team must register online before CNOY Day.

  • Adults: When you register online, you automatically accept an electronic waiver, which is all that is needed for adults.
  • Youth/Children: If you have youth or children under 18 on your team, they’ll need to submit a waiver from their parent/guardian.
  • An online form will be emailed to all parents/guardians in advance of CNOY Day
  • Waivers will also be available at check-in
Bonus Tips

Arrival + Check-in

Make sure your team knows when and where you’ll all be on CNOY Day. Set a firm arrival time and make sure every team member knows what is required of them (bring your phone, extra warm coats, etc.). If possible, set a time to leave on your walk together, even if you’re walking different distances. Your main goal is to keep people connected and cared for, so make sure everyone is happy before heading out on CNOY Day.

Share Your Cell Number

Make sure your team has your cell number on CNOY Day – print off a sheet for everyone with instructions. This will let your team connect/call/locate/harass you all day as required... which is good! You don’t want any of them loitering around the starting line all day like lost puppies.

Take a Team Photo

Snap lots of pictures before and after you start walking. (You could frame the best image and send it to your teammates with a handwritten ‘thank you’ note.)

Cheer Your Team + Reward Them

Gather your team and celebrate your hard work and team effort after CNOY is over. That could mean a snack, a reunion BBQ, or that thing where you jump in the air and high five. Cheer your teammates as they come in, keep in contact with each team member, thank them for their help, and tell them you want them back next year!

How do i become a team captain?

Visit and click the big Register button. Then, after selecting your location and signing the waiver, you can select a registration type, click on Create a Team and follow the instructions from there.

How do I choose my charity?

Team captains can select their charity during the registration process - the funds raised in your location go toward helping your local charity.

Got questions about the Coldest Night of the Year USA? | 1.877.743.3413