Fundraising and Prizes

We are so fortunate in the National Capital Region to be able to swim in, paddle on and enjoy the beauty of our river. If you love the Ottawa River and want to help protect and promote the health of our watershed, please consider fundraising in support of Ottawa Riverkeeper.

We’ve got some great prizes this year for our top fundraisers and we make it easy for you to set up your own fundraising page. You can set a fundraising goal, email your friends and family to ask for donations with the help of some sample wording from us (see below), and track gifts as they come in. The more you fundraise, the more you can win in awesome prizes! Plus you’ll be helping keep our Ottawa River swimmable, drinkable and fishable!
On this page:

1. Collecting Pledges and Donations
2. Fundraising Tips and Tricks
3. Sample Letter

Collecting Pledges and Donations:

ONLINE: You can collect funds through our online fundraising portal once you have signed up to participate and create your fundraising dashboard. All funds collected online will be transferred right to Ottawa Riverkeeper.

IN PERSON by downloading this form: All donations you collect in person can be dropped off at race kit pick up, or when you check in on race day morning at the check in table.

Thank you so much for helping fund important programs like Pollution Hotline and our work on the proposed Chalk River nuclear disposal site. People like you make this work possible!.


  • 4km: 1st, 2nd, 3rd wet suit and non-wet suit swimmers in male and female categories, top two fundraisers, plus door prizes.
  • 1.5 km: 1st, 2nd, 3rd male and female overall, top two fundraisers, plus door prizes. (Youth, adult and Senior categories depending on numbers)
  • 750 m: 1st, 2nd, 3rd male and female overall, top two fundraisers, plus door prizes. (Youth, adult and Senior categories depending on numbers)


When you join a team you can be a part of team fundraising (with an individual profile and fundraising goal) and be a part of the team challenges.

Special recognition to the team with the most participants and for the top three teams with highest fundraising overall. 

Please note that when you register in a team, IT IS NOT A RELAY – every team member must swim the full distance the team has registered in. If your team wants to swim different distances, designate one captain for each distance; we will total your teams’ fundraising contributions for race day.

Fundraising Tips & Tricks

Shy about asking? No problem! Why not start by advertising what you’re up to? Add a note to your email signature with a link to the donations page (I’m signed up for the Riverkeeper 4K Interprovincial swim on August 12th! Learn more here.) You could also post about it on social media, add some fun photos of yourself training and getting ready for the event.

Make it personal. Tell your friends and potential supporters why you care about a clean and healthy river. The more detail and the more personal the better!

“Using pictures really caught people’s attention. For the shot of me ‘practicing’ for the swim in a wetsuit in my shower, I think I got about $800 in donations after posting that one!” – Patrick Nadeau, Executive Director at Ottawa Riverkeeper

Get the ball rolling with a personal donation. Be the first to make a donation and show how important it is to protect our rivers!Friends and family are more likely to make a donation
if they see you’ve already started it off. It shows a personal investment and it’s also great for everyone to see that you’re already on your way to reaching your fundraising goal.

Ask for a specific amount. If you ask for donations of $20 you are more likely to get that amount than smaller gifts of just $5 or $10 (although those are great too!). This will also help you reach your goal more quickly.

Use some quirky or funny photos in your social media posts. A funny staged photo or a “throwback Thursday” shot of yourself as an adorable toddler in a speedo can work wonders at getting interest and ultimately donations from your friends and family.

Don’t forget to use email. Sharing posts and asking for donations on Facebook and Twitter is great, but an email ask is still the most likely way to garner gifts from friends, family and colleagues.

Here’s some sample text you can use to get you started:

Hi everyone!

In case you didn’t know, I’m participating in the Riverkeeper 4K [or 1.5K or 750m] swim this August 12th and I’m fundraising in support of Ottawa Riverkeeper.

Ottawa Riverkeeper is a local, grassroots charity and an independent voice for the Ottawa River. Ottawa Riverkeeper works to protect, promote and improve the health of the Ottawa River and its tributaries.

I’m passionate about our River and the great work that Riverkeeper does because…I love swimming in our river/my family and I love hanging out at our local beaches every summer/I’ve been paddling in our river since I was a kid…

Would you please consider a donation of $20 or whatever amount feels right for you to help keep our Ottawa River clean and healthy so we can all enjoy swimming, paddling and enjoying its waters for years to come? You can donate here [insert the link to your fundraising page] and receive a tax receipt right away by email.

Thanks for your support!


P.S. My goal is to raise $500 [or $1,000 or more!] and every dollar helps! Right now I’m half way to my goal [or I’ve reached just 25% of my goal or 75%] and your gift will help get me closer. Here is the link again to donate online [insert the link to your fundraising page] and help protect our river.


If you have any questions about your fundraising, the event, or about Ottawa Riverkeeper, please feel free to get in touch with Chloe Hillier, Director of Fund Development and she’ll be happy to help you out. You can reach her at or by phone at
613-321-1120 ext. 1003.