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  1. #1
    Playing with the traffic jetbike's Avatar
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    Sponsorship for charity on a ride?

    I'm planning on going on a 1100km solo tour next year. Initially it was a pure joy-ride, with no other agenda. A leisurely roll north, punctuated by campsites and huge meals. However, upon further discussion with non-riding friends I have noticed that they view this as a near-superhuman feat of endurance.

    This got me thinking that I might be able to get sponsored by these people and donate the money to a charity I support. My question to you is, has anyone ever successfully approached any camping/clothing/bike company and asked them to assist you in a venture such as this? Given that this is no longer a holiday, and is now a charitable act, what do you think my chances of success are? Any strategies I should be mindful of?

    Cheers
    Quote Originally Posted by dayvan cowboy View Post
    100 bucks for nazi clown tires? I'll pass.

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    1) 1100 kms is 100 kms shorter than a 1200 km randonnee. While it may be a near-superhuman feat of endurance to your non-riding friends, to the cycling/sports world, it's not all that monumental.

    http://www.audax.org.au/public/
    http://www.randonneurs.bc.ca/links/links.html
    http://www.ultracycling.com/
    http://www.rusa.org/

    2) If you are going to go the charitable route ... be sure to give every penny you get to the charity. Otherwise it's a scam to get people to pay for your vacation.

    3) If you are going to do it, and give every penny to charity, you should also have a website or blog or something where you can assure people that the money is going to the charity ... perhaps setting up a link where people can donate directly to the charity ... and where people can track your progress on the ride.

    4) If you're going to get stuff from sponsering companies you'll likely have to be very public in your ride ... visiting places where you're seen, website/blog, etc.. There's no point them giving you a jersey and having you ride quiet country roads and stealth camp or something where that jersey is never seen.

  3. #3
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    When I started talking about my plan to cycle in the Himalayas, many friends asked: "Is it for charity??". I was a bit annoyed by that - to me the message was clear, that my trip was regarded as somehow self-indulgent because I wasn't going to be using it as an opportunity to leverage money for a good cause. I really dislike the notion that any of us who have the self-motivation to get off our butts and broaden our horizons, have some kind of responsibility to attach a charitable cause to it.

    In my opinion, if you want to perform a charitable act, just make a donation. No fuss, no fanfare, no free t-shirts, just a donation.

  4. #4
    Playing with the traffic jetbike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    1) 1100 kms is 100 kms shorter than a 1200 km randonnee. While it may be a near-superhuman feat of endurance to your non-riding friends, to the cycling/sports world, it's not all that monumental.
    I realize this. I'm not saying it's a superhuman effort. It's just perceived that way.

    Of course all of the money go where it's supposed to go, what are you insinuating?
    Quote Originally Posted by dayvan cowboy View Post
    100 bucks for nazi clown tires? I'll pass.

  5. #5
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jetbike View Post
    Of course all of the money go where it's supposed to go, what are you insinuating?
    Well, we've had several people here with grand notions of funding their trip with donations. They'd pay for their trip with the donations, and if there was anything left over, they'd give that to charity, or they'd take half the donations for their trip, and give half to charity, or whatever.

  6. #6
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al Downie View Post
    When I started talking about my plan to cycle in the Himalayas, many friends asked: "Is it for charity??". I was a bit annoyed by that - to me the message was clear, that my trip was regarded as somehow self-indulgent because I wasn't going to be using it as an opportunity to leverage money for a good cause. I really dislike the notion that any of us who have the self-motivation to get off our butts and broaden our horizons, have some kind of responsibility to attach a charitable cause to it.

    In my opinion, if you want to perform a charitable act, just make a donation. No fuss, no fanfare, no free t-shirts, just a donation.
    +1!!

    I get the "is it for charity" comment all the time with my randonneuring too, and I also find it annoying for the same reasons you do.

  7. #7
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by jetbike View Post
    I realize this. I'm not saying it's a superhuman effort. It's just perceived that way.

    Of course all of the money go where it's supposed to go, what are you insinuating?
    I don't think she insinuating anything. From time to time we get folks on here who think they can get their bike vacation paid for as part of a "deal" with a non-profit. They often get upset when posters here point out that A.) most bike tourists don't do such things and B.) it's sleazy to do so. I'm not saying getting a paid bike vacation is your goal, but we don't know it isn't until you say so.

    That said, the easiest, and entirely ethical, way to fundraise is to have a page set up by the non-profit group and all the money go directly to them. An example:

    http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/eC...m?user_id=1370

    The tourer, BTW, is a poster on this forum. I donated to the fundraising and escorted Neil on the ride.

  8. #8
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    Bike and gear companies hear a lot, and mean a lot, of pitches where some adventure junkie wants to go on some bike ride, mountian climbing, desert crossing, ect... for charity. It this point, nobody wants to hear about it anymore.

    Not to say charity isn't a bad thing. It's easy enough to blog about your trip, keep in touch with a local community group, raise support for some small cause you already care about.

    But let us be %100 honest here-- people don't really ride bikes across China or travel to the South Pole to stop breast cancer. They do it for the adventure of it, for personal reasons.

  9. #9
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al Downie View Post
    When I started talking about my plan to cycle in the Himalayas, many friends asked: "Is it for charity??". I was a bit annoyed by that - to me the message was clear, that my trip was regarded as somehow self-indulgent because I wasn't going to be using it as an opportunity to leverage money for a good cause. I really dislike the notion that any of us who have the self-motivation to get off our butts and broaden our horizons, have some kind of responsibility to attach a charitable cause to it.
    No, we don't have the responsibility, but some folks may choose to have such a charitable attachment, for any number of reasons. I've posted about the Neils on Wheels "Shake, Rattle and Roll" epilepsy fundraising tour in this thread. One reason Neil F. agreed to make the tour a fundraiser for epilepsy is that he's a person with epilepsy himself. By riding in such a 'public' way he helped make a statement by showing just what a person with epilepsy is capable of.

  10. #10
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    If you want to ride, ride.
    Charity fund raising can become mind-numbing. Hell we get asked by the cashier at the supermarket: "wanna give $$ for cancer?"
    We tell e'm 'no thank you, we both are cancer survivors' (which we are).
    We have donated/ridden to help charities/causes but we don't hit up folks for donations.
    Don't be shocked if manufacturers are not interested in supporting your efforts for free stuff.

  11. #11
    Walmart bike rider gpsblake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Well, we've had several people here with grand notions of funding their trip with donations. They'd pay for their trip with the donations, and if there was anything left over, they'd give that to charity, or they'd take half the donations for their trip, and give half to charity, or whatever.
    +1 - I've seen this done on the Appalachain trail where they will spend the donations they are getting to resupply and feed themsleves and pay for nights at hostels and turn the rest over to charity when they are done. A lot of these charity hikers turn to "yellow-blazing"... ie getting rides around the tougher parts of the trail but still pretending to be a thru-hiker.

  12. #12
    Walmart bike rider gpsblake's Avatar
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    Okay, I'll admit this. I did have a chance for a sponsorship during my SC to TX tour. When my story got put into the Columbia newspaper, I got an email from someone asking me if I would want to sell my story to a large department store and a spot in a Paul Harvey commercial (you figure out which company yet??) just to allow them to mention I was riding their department store bike during my tour. It was tempting but I refused it. I knew if I did make such a deal, I would be under huge pressure to continue my tour and lose the focus of why I was really doing it. The Columbia State newspaper even mentioned that I was doing this tour as a dream, not as for charity.

    Okay, the company was Walmart.

  13. #13
    Neil_B
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    While on the subject, the latest issue (September 2008) of Adventure Cyclist has a cover story on "riding for a cause."

    http://www.adventurecycling.org/features/index.cfm

  14. #14
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by gpsblake View Post
    Okay, I'll admit this. I did have a chance for a sponsorship during my SC to TX tour. When my story got put into the Columbia newspaper, I got an email from someone asking me if I would want to sell my story to a large department store and a spot in a Paul Harvey commercial (you figure out which company yet??) just to allow them to mention I was riding their department store bike during my tour. It was tempting but I refused it. I knew if I did make such a deal, I would be under huge pressure to continue my tour and lose the focus of why I was really doing it. The Columbia State newspaper even mentioned that I was doing this tour as a dream, not as for charity.

    Okay, the company was Walmart.
    While we are confessing, it's been suggested to me a couple of times that I go on tour raising money for scoliosis research. I keep toying with the idea and then saying no. I don't ride to be a spokesman for scoli since I hardly consider myself a role model or inspiring in any way. I bike tour for its own sake.

  15. #15
    Playing with the traffic jetbike's Avatar
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    Okay, firstly, I was going to go on tour and pay for it myself. That much has not changed. The way people are reacting, the infamous 'near-superhuman feat', made me think that people might want to sponsor me.

    I wanted to raise money for Schizophrenia research and advocacy. I am a mental health nurse, and so this is an important issue for me. My expenses are not to be taken out of the money raised.

    I thought that this might be a project companies might want to be associated with and as such I might get some free stuff to assist me in this venture. No harm, no foul.

    No hidden agendas, no subterfuge, no Machiavellian nonsense.

    That's it.
    Quote Originally Posted by dayvan cowboy View Post
    100 bucks for nazi clown tires? I'll pass.

  16. #16
    VWVagabonds.com Losligato's Avatar
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    Providing a link from your website to the charity site is commendable. If the attention your trip generates benefits a good cause, then more power to you!

    Charity riders often talk up the charity aspect of their trip to equipment makers, hotels, campgrounds and individuals in the hopes of getting free stuff or cash donations. While this is certainly not Machiavellian, it is unseemly.

    Many of us have met folks on the road who were doing this without shame, and we have been ashamed for them. The group pedaling between complimentary 4-star hotels in Asia while raising funds for impoverished African orphans springs to mind as an example of how otherwise rational people can go overboard with "it doesn't hurt to ask".

    While you may not ask for complimentary 4-star accommodations, when you think about it, it really is not all that different from requesting a complimentary set of $300 panniers.

    IMO, the reason the idea gets such a negative reception here is that it cheapens the accomplishments of those of us who have done or plan to do a trip as a personal adventure. Implied beneath the surface is the belief that a personal adventure is not enough, even through we all know that a personal adventure is what we are all after. The charity is the smokescreen that makes it more palatable to others, especially future employers... "I spent six months cycling across the U.S. for Cancer Research".

    Finally, many of us have met charity riders for whom it was not about the charity. It was about the free stuff.
    Last edited by Losligato; 10-26-08 at 10:18 PM.
    www.VWVagabonds.com
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  17. #17
    Tilting with windmills txvintage's Avatar
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    My personal opinion is set up a blog and put a link to your favorite charity. Throw in a comment about making a donation and that the link goes directly to the charity, and you are not in the loop as far as funds go.

  18. #18
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by jetbike View Post
    ...I might get some free stuff ...
    Are you asking how to get "free stuff?"

  19. #19
    Senior Member juggleaddict's Avatar
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    if you want to ride for charity, RIDE FOR CHARITY! don't let people on here discourage you.

    i'm doing the atlantic to pacific ride in a year and a half, but it's purely for my self enjoyment, it's just something i want to do.

    my thought is that if you ride for a cause, then it immediately becomes a responsibility, and not an adventure

    that's why i don't juggle for money : )

  20. #20
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jetbike View Post
    I thought that this might be a project companies might want to be associated with and as such I might get some free stuff to assist me in this venture. No harm, no foul.
    You might possibly get a donation toward your charity from the companies you approach. But be sure to contact the charity of your choice before you approach the companies you're thinking of ... to make sure that your request and collection technique meets the charity's standards, and so that the companies you approach can confirm with the charity that you're legit.

    As for you personally, you might get a waterbottle, T-shirt, or pen out of the companies you approach. Companies tend to have a stockpile of such things for such requests.

    If you want more than that, you'd better come up with an idea of what you can do for them ... such as writing up an endorsement for products which they can use in advertizing, or going to certain places on your route (i.e. town fairs or something) where you can promote their products, etc.

  21. #21
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al Downie View Post
    When I started talking about my plan to cycle in the Himalayas, many friends asked: "Is it for charity??". I was a bit annoyed by that - to me the message was clear, that my trip was regarded as somehow self-indulgent because I wasn't going to be using it as an opportunity to leverage money for a good cause. I really dislike the notion that any of us who have the self-motivation to get off our butts and broaden our horizons, have some kind of responsibility to attach a charitable cause to it.

    In my opinion, if you want to perform a charitable act, just make a donation. No fuss, no fanfare, no free t-shirts, just a donation.
    +100 - I couldn't agree more...
    safe riding - Vik
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  22. #22
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    "Given that this is no longer a holiday, and is now a charitable act, what do you think my chances of success are? Any strategies I should be mindful of?"

    Really? Just raising some money from concerned friends, doesn't really affect what happen on the road. I think you could raise some money from people you are talking this up to. Getting a lot of stuff from companies is an extreme long shot, but it depends on the circumstances. Normally a few thousand dollars of gear should be bringing that much targeted publicity. Broad publicity may not result in one more sale for a gear company. If you normally attract a lot of attention in what you do, and some people are just naturals, then people might pitch in to help you. But an 1100 mile trip is no big deal to the kind of people equipment companies sponsor. There is at least one guy with something like 160 000 miles toodling around out there.

    I agree with the whole idea that feeling one needs to justify touring with charity is silly, but anything you can use to advance a cause in an appropriate maner is admirable.

  23. #23
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1 View Post
    If you normally attract a lot of attention in what you do, and some people are just naturals, then people might pitch in to help you. But an 1100 mile trip is no big deal to the kind of people equipment companies sponsor. There is at least one guy with something like 160 000 miles toodling around out there.
    Two colleges (Bucknell and Penn State) recently (2007 I think) rode across the US to raise money. In my estimation the trip was pretty lame. They had van support and were carrying no gear. The bikes rolled 12 hours a day and they called it a race, but it really wasn't from the description I read. They switched riders several times a day and were supposed to do about 30 miles per rider per day. It seemed pretty silly to me since lots of folks ride that far per day at home while working a full time job. Lame as it was, I think they raised a million bucks for scholarships.

    A guy where my brother works supposedly raised $20k for cancer research on his XC tour.

    Personally I don't get it and see it as "donate money because I am going on vacation", but some like those mentioned above have raised a good bit of money.

    On TA tour we met folks who paid for their trips at least in part by "raising money for charity". I personally think that that isn't what touring is about. I would rather people see my tour as something that is fun to do and not something that is to be endured to raise money for charity. If a trip did anything other than entertain me, I think that being an ambassador for cycling is enough.

    Oh and yes I really resent the "are you doing this for charity" comments.

  24. #24
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    Oh and yes I really resent the "are you doing this for charity" comments.
    I choose to think those comments are a chance to enlighten folks and present bike touring as worth doing for its own sake. One more chance to chip away at the car culture.

    It's interesting to me that on my second tour from Pittsburgh to DC, I never was asked the "charity" question. Neil F. and I were asked a few times on the first tour, but that might have been prompted by the signs we had on the bikes. Folks on the GAP and C & O see bike tourists all the time, so bike touring is a 'normal' activity to them.

    In contrast, on our Christmas tour in Eastern PA last year, Neil and I were asked a couple of times what cause we were raising money for. (We weren't.) People don't see many bike tourists in the area, it seems.

  25. #25
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    I choose to think those comments are a chance to enlighten folks and present bike touring as worth doing for its own sake. One more chance to chip away at the car culture.
    Absolutely.

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