Well, today is National Teddy Bear Day (not to be confused with another day in November which was created by a teddy bear company) and I wanted to take the time to educate the masses on how the name came about. Because, we all need more knowledge in our lives, right?
But before I start, I did a lot of research to see if this is a pseudo-valid holiday, and have found other dates that websites have touted as “National Teddy Bear Day.” The sites that note that, though, seem to be from teddy bear manufacturers, so it seems as though that it could be a marketing ploy of said companies. I have found several sites though that have marked September 9 as National Teddy Bear Day.
In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt went on a bear-hunting excursion in Mississippi. It was actually a hunting competition, and by the end of the day, Pres. Roosevelt had not shot a bear. His team had tied a baby bear down and encouraged the President to shoot at it, but he had refused, stating that it was unsportsmanlike.
Somehow, the topic caught media wind, and it became the headline of a political cartoon. Morris Michtom saw this and invented a stuffed bear, labeled it “Teddy’s Bear” and put it in his shop window. Realizing its increasing popularity and worried he might get in trouble for using that name, he sent the original bear to the White House as a gift and asked to use the name officially. After getting the greenlight, the bear spiked in popularity and thus the birth of the teddy bear.
Now if only every toy ever made had an endearing story like this behind it. *ahem* Nintendo DS.
So as a nonprofit, how can you utilize this holiday to raise either awareness about your own charity or raise funds? There have been several organizations that host Teddy Bear drives, collecting stuffed bears from people and donating them to the local children’s hospital. That will raise your brand awareness. There are a few companies out there that develop special teddy bears based around a cause or organization, and whatever you sell, you receive a portion of the sales for your charity. Try having a teddy bear sale on the week of this holiday next year, and use this story to help promote sales and awareness.