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Old 09-22-09, 07:44 PM   #1
mattm3
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Touring to Raise Money

I think it was referenced on here, but I saw a video blog where a guy was commenting that the whole tour to raise money for a good cause thing is being overdone and that it really wasn't that special anymore for someone to take a long tour by bike. The guy thought that it might be difficult to raise money that way nowadays. I thought that was an interesting observation and likely true.

So today I look in the local paper and see that a couple of guys are riding BMX bikes from Pittsburgh to Florida to raise money for... a skate park in some Pittsburgh suburb. Now the trip is also to honor two friends who died, but it seems to me if people are really less likely to donate for a good cause, how do these guys plan to get money for a skate park?

From the picture that was with the article (which you can't see on the web version), it looks like the guys are carrying gear in backpacks (for those of you dying to know). The article also says they have one trailer. They do have a blog you can read for more info.

Open the floor to comments...
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Old 09-22-09, 08:01 PM   #2
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Pfft, when people donate to a cause, they really don't care what method of transport you're using. The only reason the long distance bike (or unicycle or backwards bmx or whatever) thing matters is for getting media attention - and hence getting audiences at talks that you do - and hence getting donations.
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Old 09-22-09, 08:28 PM   #3
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Pfft, when people donate to a cause, they really don't care what method of transport you're using. The only reason the long distance bike (or unicycle or backwards bmx or whatever) thing matters is for getting media attention - and hence getting audiences at talks that you do - and hence getting donations.
The media is looking for stuff that is new and exciting, I think the OP is right, there have been so many people doing tours, whether by bicycle or running or jogging, that it's kinda old hat now, so media attention isn't what it once was.
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Old 09-22-09, 08:51 PM   #4
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People donate money to events like because they feel like the person participating is doing something challenging and going up against seemingly impossible odds. They feel like the person is "earning" the money.

Even though riding a bike x miles might seem like a huge challenge for someone outside the sport, for me it's a vacation. I would never ask someone to donate money to a charity because I was taking a vacation to Disney Land, so why would this vacation be any different?
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Old 09-22-09, 08:55 PM   #5
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people donate money to events like because they feel like the person participating is doing something challenging and going up against seemingly impossible odds. They feel like the person is "earning" the money.

even though riding a bike x miles might seem like a huge challenge for someone outside the sport, for me it's a vacation. I would never ask someone to donate money to a charity because i was taking a vacation to disney land, so why would this vacation be any different?
+1
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Old 09-23-09, 01:55 AM   #6
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Hi,

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People donate money to events like because they feel like the person participating is doing something challenging and going up against seemingly impossible odds. They feel like the person is "earning" the money.

Even though riding a bike x miles might seem like a huge challenge for someone outside the sport, for me it's a vacation. I would never ask someone to donate money to a charity because I was taking a vacation to Disney Land, so why would this vacation be any different?
In general I don't like this fundraising (and sponsoring). But that I also have to say: If you get the attention and some persons donate money for a "good thing" - it's okay.


Thomas
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Old 09-23-09, 07:53 AM   #7
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This question keeps popping up here, and it often makes for an entertaining (if volatile) thread. My take on this is that as long as the money donated goes to the charity/cause, it's fine.
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Old 09-23-09, 08:00 AM   #8
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This question keeps popping up here, and it often makes for an entertaining (if volatile) thread. My take on this is that as long as the money donated goes to the charity/cause, it's fine.
I think that's true. What gets me are the people who have the "I'm riding for charity, so I deserve a free meal/hotel room/bike parts" attitude.
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Old 09-23-09, 07:06 PM   #9
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My take on this is that as long as the money donated goes to the charity/cause, it's fine.
+1

As long as ALL the money donated ... every penny of it .. goes to the charity/cause, it's fine.
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Old 09-23-09, 09:22 PM   #10
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I haven't taken a formal poll, but I'm guessing that half the people I know would think it strange for me to take a tour without a charitable cause, and the other half would think it strange for me to take a tour with a charitable cause. There's no way to please everybody.

I think if you do do it, you should use one of those web sites that funnels the donations directly to the charity. You never touch the money at all.
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Old 09-23-09, 10:45 PM   #11
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>What gets me are the people who have the "I'm riding for charity, so I deserve a free meal/hotel room/bike parts" attitude.

Depending on what you mean by "deserve". What's the harm in asking? Of course if someone rides across the country, raises $50 for charity and gets free hotel stays everywhere, that's stupid. But if someone really needs assistance in order to carry out a massive fundraising effort, why not? It just means the hotel/bike shop/whatever is donating in kind rather than in cash.
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Old 09-24-09, 07:12 PM   #12
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Speaking of riding to raise money, what happened to that family on a quint (with a 2 year old) that was asking for money for a ride to Alaska. Did they ever start?
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Old 09-24-09, 09:40 PM   #13
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+1

As long as ALL the money donated ... every penny of it .. goes to the charity/cause, it's fine.

Well, no charity has 100% efficiency. I think they're considered to be doing well if more that 65 cents of every dollar goes to the cause.
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Old 09-24-09, 10:00 PM   #14
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Well, no charity has 100% efficiency. I think they're considered to be doing well if more that 65 cents of every dollar goes to the cause.
So you'd be OK with giving someone $100 for a charity, knowing that they are spending $35 of it toward personal vacation expenses?

Great!! I'd like to take a nice cycling vacation in New Zealand in a couple months ... any one want to fund my vacation, or ummmm ... give to the charity I will name shortly?
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Old 09-29-09, 12:00 AM   #15
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Who cares? Let the people raise money and bike if they want. The "bike trips aren't that special" argument doesn't apply as long as the ride boosts someone's effort. It's not about the intrinsic specialness about the ride, it's about doing something that works for promotion. If the people were doing these trips and nobody gave money, but they were getting free hotels, then it would be a scam. as it is now, those people are raising money and have a good time. why not? I passed probably 50 or 100 riders on their way to Montreal a couple weeks ago. They whole thing seems worthwhile.

Personally I prefer not to be involved in anything like this. But, I think while it's legitimate to talk about where the money is going and how it's being used, there is NO reason to be against someone using cycling to raise money. That person on the blog video should just relax. Many things in our culture are overdone and not authentic or creative, we can gripe about it all day or we can get on with what's authentic in our own lives.
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Old 09-29-09, 06:49 AM   #16
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It's a tough question, and I don't think there is a clear cut answer. Charities certainly can't operate on nothing, and there are administrative expenses both for the charity and the charity fundraisers.

If someone is raising money for a charity, I certainly don't mind some of the money going towards their expenses -why should they incur all the costs of fund raising? The question is exactly what that "some" really is, and whether it is acceptable? I also think it's not necessarily money going towards someone's personal vacation expenses, but stuff like phone expenses, office supplies, promotional items, transportation, etc. If you embark on a fund raising venture, there are many expenses that you as an individual usually bite the bullet on. It can really add up -and that's even before you push a pedal down.

I'm not saying that there aren't touring cyclists out there who aren't using charities as a way of subsidizing their personal adventures giving too little to the charity, but I suspect they are few and far between. It would also be very easy to say just give directly to a reputable charity -but the problem is it's not that easy to raise funds that way. And yes, I could have given all the money I've personally spent (not reimbursed) on my fund raising directly to the charity I support, but the problem is that there is no way I would have raised the total amount of money I have. Usually to make people open their wallets you have to do some kind of "event" or "promotion".

I should add that any money people have given me I've passed 100% on to the charity I support, and have not taken any portion of it for my own fund raising expenses. But knowing how expensive it can get, I do not begrudge someone using some of the money for fund raising expenses, so long as they are absolutely clear about it up front, and are not excessive (again, one of the problems here is what is excessive? I'd personally say no more than 5% of the total raised by a person should be consumed on expenses, otherwise I think they should rethink how they are raising money and they probably don't have the charity at the foremost of their priorities, but that's just my opinion).

I'd also say that >$0.80 on every dollar going directly to a charity is better guide over $0.65 on every dollar. Preferably >$0.90 to every dollar.

This also reminds me of a story my mum told me: she was listening to some people complain that a charity worker was being paid to promote an event "it's a charity, they shouldn't be getting paid" was the bitter comment. Whereupon my mum asked if they'd do the work instead for free? There were no takers.....

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So you'd be OK with giving someone $100 for a charity, knowing that they are spending $35 of it toward personal vacation expenses?

Great!! I'd like to take a nice cycling vacation in New Zealand in a couple months ... any one want to fund my vacation, or ummmm ... give to the charity I will name shortly?
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Old 09-29-09, 07:55 AM   #17
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If someone is raising money for a charity, I certainly don't mind some of the money going towards their expenses -why should they incur all the costs of fund raising?
I disagree. Even if fundraising is the sole purpose of the trip (and I would guess it rarely is), the fundraising expenses should be considered the bicycle tourist's own contribution. Nobody should profit in any way (not just material profit) from fundraising unless they were directly hired for that purpose by the charity itself.
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Old 09-29-09, 08:59 AM   #18
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Howdy -

Some touring cyclists think that riding to raise money is an easy way to fund a tour. Nothing could be further from the truth. If folks get the idea you are fundraising just to pay for your hobby, they aren't likely to give.

I did a major fundraiser 20 years ago. The amount of time I spent preparing, planning. organizing, doing media stuff - was off the charts. I would have made more money working for minimum wage. But I was able to promote events for people with mental *********** in two dozen different communities across the country. Not only did my local ARC gain wider attention, but there was an opportunity for people across the country to see people with mental *********** in a different way. So the hours and the actual money raised was not paramount - although the money wasn't insignificant.

If you really believe in something and have been active to begin with, then it makes sense to link the two. But if you are just "looking for a cause" I would suggest you take a pass. There are already so many appeals for support that half-baked ones only hinder the organizations they wish to help.

Remember - it is MAJOR work to do an effective fundraiser.

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Old 09-29-09, 09:05 AM   #19
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I think that's true. What gets me are the people who have the "I'm riding for charity, so I deserve a free meal/hotel room/bike parts" attitude.
I and another poster had dealing this summer with two young men who had just such an attitude. One of them told me on the phone they were trying to get free hotel rooms each night so they could watch the Tour de France, using the charitable status of the ride to persuade folks to give them freebies.

They also asked for lodging in my home and never showed up, but that's another story for another thread.
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