Lots of us sign up for charity rides. Often, they require payment of a nominal entry fee, a portion of which supports some worthy local organization, and that’s that.
But then there are the big ones, that are tied into national charities, and require not only an entry fee, but that each rider raise x amount of money.
I hate to ask people for money. I couldn’t sell ice in the desert.
But, if I want to ride in my MS 150 in two months, I’ve got to.
In my case, it’s not too bad. The MS Society expects each rider to raise a minimum of $400. Last year, I surprised myself and raised $485. This year, with the economy still in the doldrums, people seem to have tightened their purse strings. But I’m still well on my way to exceeding $400 again.
Other riders set a target higher than the minimum. That’s the case of Ashley, of Massachusetts. She’s entered in the Livestrong Challenge Philly (Philadelphia) in August. The minimum fundraising amount is $250, but her target is $1,000.
How does a person raise that kind of money?
Since most of these big events are organized by big charities, with support staffs, fundraising tips are made available to riders. The MS Society posts a 12-week plan to help you reach your fundraising goal, starting with your participant center. That’s a web page where potential donors can click a link or two and make an online donation to your effort.
But I like the MS Society’s tip for Week Two: Be Strategic with the First Donation! The names and amounts from your donors show up in a scroll on your Participant Center. In my case, my cousin has MS. Her sister made the first donation toward my ride, in the amount of $100. That sets the tone for others who visit the site — they can see that some folks are giving generously.
Then, it’s recommended you email your “second tier” of prospective donors — friends and family. Many of these can be expected to write a check. My second tier is made up of my co-workers, and my boss donated $50. Everyone will see his name in the scroll. Hint, hint.
Other ideas: Email a third tier of prospective donors. These could be people you know who you don’t see as often, but who might surprise you by coming through for you. In my experience, these donations average about $10, but they mount up fast.
You could also raise some additional money yourself, by selling unwanted or unneeded items at a garage sale, or on EBay, or on Craig’s List.
And don’t forget matching gifts from your employer, if they offer that kind of program.
Most people I know who have ridden in these rides were pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to reach their goals before ride day. If you’ve read this far, please consider making a donation to Bike Noob or to Ashley.
And if you’re considering joining a charity ride yourself, they’re all over the place, all year long. I won’t list them here, but Biking Bis has a nice list of them. There’s sure to be something to whet your riding and fundraising appetite.