Get fit and get pedaling as you raise money for your favorite charity with a bicycle fundraiser! Bike-a-thons are a great way to raise cash for a non-profit agency, such as a school group, sports team, or church group. They also promote healthy activity and environmentally friendly commuting in your community.
Here are the steps to take to organize a successful bike-a-thon fundraiser:
Pick a Cycling Location
Think open, flat surfaces with little traffic such as an outdoor or indoor school track, or other large bike-friendly. Paved park walking paths or the outskirts of a recreational center also work well.
Another option is to ask local churches or businesses to use their property during the weekend when cars aren't parked in the area, and traffic would be almost non-existent. You could also petition the city to reserve a safe outdoor space to use for the day. A public bike trail would be ideal for a small group of charity cyclists.
You will need a number of fundraising volunteers for your cycling charity who are willing to patrol the area for safety reasons. How many volunteers you employ will depend on how many cyclists are participating in your bike-a-thon, what the age range is, and where the event is being held.
For instance, does the area have a regular traffic flow that will need to be redirected? In the days before your event, gather your volunteers for a meeting, and distribute tasks so everyone is ready and knows what they are doing on the day of the fundraiser.
Hold your meeting at the event location if you can. This will give you a chance to run through the events of the day in context, and ensure the location is well supervised and safe.
Set the Date
The very best option for any charity event is to choose a date over a weekend. That way, your cyclists and volunteers will be well rested for the physically demanding day ahead. Whenever you schedule your event, be sure that your cyclists and volunteers have at least two weeks to prepare for the fundraiser physically, and to drum up enough sponsors.
Create Some Biking Buzz
Create interest around your bike-a-thon to get participants and supporters out to celebrate your cause. Start by creating some print fundraising flyers and posters. Ask local merchants if you can post them in their stores, at schools, in local offices, and community centers. Try to post your flyers anywhere a lot of people will see them. Don't leave your marketing to print alone.
Set up a blog or website to promote your event, start a Facebook page, or send out direct e-mails to friends, family, coworkers, and colleagues asking them to support your bike-a-thon fundraiser and share the news.
Gather Donations from Sponsors
Your bike-a-thon will generate money from participants if you ask them to pay a fee in order to register. But your cycling fundraiser will largely depend on sponsors to raise the most money. Your cyclists will be responsible for going out and getting their own sponsors.
But you can make the day more interesting and get a few more participants and supporters out for your charity by asking local businesses to donate items to give as prizes to your top-performing participants. You can also use donated items as raffle items to give your event that extra fundraising boost! Don't be afraid to approach local corporations and even small businesses for larger cash donations.
A great idea is to ask reputable companies to match the final value raised by your charity in exchange for free advertising at your bike-a-thon, and via any printed materials you use to promote your event.
Raising Extra Funds
Lastly, if your event is being held in a public park or community area, and you expect a large turnout, you can raise more funds on the day of your bike-a-thon by setting up a snack stand. Enlist a few extra volunteers to act as mobile snack merchants, carrying snacks and cold drinks to sell to the spectators and participants.