April 4, 2014
When seeking out event rides to fill up my summer calendar, I've found that it is almost hard to find a ride that isn't built around a cause. Beyond event rides, every year we see more and more cyclists passing through our office with a cause of their own that they are riding for. Riding for a reason can be a great way to attract participants to an event, or add meaning to your experience. If you have a cause in mind that you would like to ride for, or build an event around, there are a great deal of tools available to help you promote the ride and collect donations for the cause. Here are just a few options you can take advantage of:
This is a great tool for both event promoters and individuals. You can either create a standalone fundraiser of your own or create a fundraising event and recruit friends and participants to raise funds on behalf of your cause. Check out Double Up 4 Vision to see an example of this in use for a cycling event. This service integrates nicely with Facebook and Twitter, and it is free to create a fundraiser page. The only catch is that CrowdRise will collect up to 5% of your funds raised as a fee for using their service. I do love their slogan, "If you don't give back no one will like you."
This is one of the largest online campaigning platforms out there. On the plus side, this gives you the potential to reach a massive audience, you just have to make sure your campaign stands out so that it doesn't get lost in the masses. This service allows you to collect donations and pledges, and petition signatures. An example of a touring cyclist putting this service to use is the 4K for Cancer campaign, where a rider is raising funds ahead of his cross country tour from Boston to Portland.
This service allows an event or individual to raise funds for a non-profit listed in Guidestar, which is a directory of IRS registered non-profit organizations. Once you have a project setup, you can begin recruiting others to join in on your cause or donate. For large scale projects, there are a number of reporting tools available to analyze your progress and efficiency. Now for the shameless self-promotion, I present you with my own fundraising effort as an example of this service in motion. Donate here to help me raise $500 for Camp Mak-A-Dream.
Those are just a few examples of giving services available to you. Of course, you shouldn't feel as though you need to ride for a reason. The desire to simply go on a bicycle adventure is reason enough to saddle up and hit the road. Giving back to something can simply add another element to your experience.
TOURING GEAR & TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling's member services department. It appears weekly, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead. Look for Josh's "Fine Tuned" column in Adventure Cyclist magazine as well.