Raising The Roof shows how its hats help

For the past 16 years, charity Raising the Roof has sold toques to raise money to combat youth homelessness. While people were familiar with the program, they only had a vague understanding of what the donations were being used for.

So Leo Burnett decided to repackage the toque in bags with messages that state how purchasing a hat will help a homeless person. Fifty different packages were created, each with its own distinct benefit. For example, bags included copy that read, "This hat will help a homeless boy regain his self-esteem" and "This hat will help a homeless family find permanent housing."

To launch the drive, an outdoor store was placed at Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto where, in addition to buying a hat, people could become mentors for a homeless youth. Stickers with messages congratulating those that bought a toque were posted in places where homeless people typically find refuge, such as bus shelters.

At the beginning of the drive, Raising the Roof ordered 40,000 hats to be sold over a 12-month period. The organization sold all 40,000 hats in less than three months, as well as the leftover inventory from the previous year.