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  1. #1
    Senior Member RaiderInBlue47's Avatar
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    Has anyone ever toured for charity before?

    I know that there are several rides that go for charity, but have you ever gotten pledges and donations to a charity for your tour?

    I'm thinking about doing this myself for my first tour. The more I talk about my goal to bike across Tennessee, the more that people think I'm crazy. People ask why, I say for fun, then they give me a look. This got me thinking.

    So I was thinking about what I could do for this trip and I thought about doing a charity thing. I'm thinking of getting together some donations for Make-A-Wish or Habitat for Humanity, so that my tour has a little bit of an actual purpose.

    Anyone here have any personal accounts of riding for charity or through a friend or anything?

  2. #2
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Last edited by 10 Wheels; 06-20-10 at 04:52 PM.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    When I toured from Pittsburgh to DC, it was for the Epilepsy Foundation. That I was accepting donations didn't change the ride in any way.
    Tour Journals, Blog, ride pix

    I'm in the celtic folk fusion band Baroque and Hungry. "Mended", our new full-length studio album, is now available for download.

  4. #4
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
    When I toured from Pittsburgh to DC, it was for the Epilepsy Foundation. That I was accepting donations didn't change the ride in any way.
    Funds from this went directly to the Epilepsy Foundation. Neither neilfein nor myself received any money donated.

    I can't say the same for many such rides. I had a bad experience in 2009 with a couple of kids from the west coast, allegedly riding for some African orphanage. I doubt they raised enough money to cover the expense of their vacation, let alone contribute to their designated charity.

  5. #5
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    FWIW, here's my feeling.

    If you plan to work with an existing and established charity ride, it's a good thing. Something like AIDS Lifecycle or the MS Society rides are well-know, established, fairly large and have services that specifically assist riders with their fund-raising.

    Doing a solo tour and declaring it as "for charity" is, to me, rather sketchy. For example, your intent seems at least in part to gain the acceptance and/or understanding of random people who ask about your touring plans. Why should that matter? You find cycling to be fun; they don't; big deal.

    Even if you have the best of intentions, as a potential donator I have absolutely no idea how you will genuinely allocate the funds; you aren't set up as a charity; you don't have a fund-raising or distribution track record.

    And really, however meaningful the ride is to you, ultimately your bike tour is a vacation. Tying that to a specific cause seems like a bit of a stretch. How does riding a bicycle benefit Habitat for Humanity? Wouldn't it be more useful to contact the organization and volunteer? Or to put a different spin on it: If I was going to Jamaica for a week, and asked you to sponsor my trip for charity, what would your reaction be?

    To put it another way, I say go on tour and have fun, and find some other way to contribute and/or fundraise for a charity.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by RaiderInBlue47 View Post
    I know that there are several rides that go for charity, but have you ever gotten pledges and donations to a charity for your tour?
    I'd say try it but make sure 100% of the donations go to the charity. Note that there might be legal requirements to do this publically. But if you want to hit up some friends who trust you, I doubt there would be any problem.

  7. #7
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    In regards to not knowing how the money will be allocated: The Historian is quite correct. We both paid for our own food, lodging, and so on. Monies raised were in the form of checks written to the Epilepsy Society directly, or though a link that set up either Paypal or credit card payments to the society. The only time I handled money aside from mailing a batch of checks to them was when someone wrote a check out to me (despite instructions otherwise).

    To the OP, if you're going to do a tour for charity, I highly recommend a setup where you send a link onto people interested in contributing. Not touching the money yourself makes people feel a little more comfortable, I think.
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  8. #8
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    +1 on finding people on tour soliciting donations for a "charity" as sketchy. I met Jon and Ashley, who are riding across the US and are doing it partly for themselves and for a charity. When I first started talking to them, they never mentioned that they were riding for a charity. They eventually told me about them keeping a blog and handed me a business card with their website information on it. I had to ask them about the charity they were riding in part for. They said that they were riding for themselves and if they could raise some money for http://pushamerica.org/ then that would be good.

    It seems to me want to do this tour for yourself then do it for yourself. If you want to ride for a charity, have people donate directly to the charity. This way you will not come on as sketchy and people like myself, will donate to the charity because I know its going to them.
    It is not about the destination. It is about the journey getting there.
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  9. #9
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    Funds from this went directly to the Epilepsy Foundation. Neither neilfein nor myself received any money donated.

    I can't say the same for many such rides. I had a bad experience in 2009 with a couple of kids from the west coast, allegedly riding for some African orphanage. I doubt they raised enough money to cover the expense of their vacation, let alone contribute to their designated charity.
    Correction: the orphanage was reportedly in India.

    http://www.pnwlocalnews.com/whidbey/.../40869618.html

    http://www.orphanride.org/

    Last I heard from them, they were persuading hotels in central PA to give them a free room. As Andrew said to me, "we wanted air conditioning and a TV so we could see the Tour de France."

  10. #10
    Deluxe Member mattm3's Avatar
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    +1 on the sketchy idea. If you want to do it for charity, join an organized ride.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member robow's Avatar
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    Now this is one charity or protest ride I could get behind.......

    http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/...de.ksdk?hpt=T2

  12. #12
    Senior Member RaiderInBlue47's Avatar
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    Hmm, hadn't thought of that. I definitely wouldn't give money to a teenager on a bike saying he's giving it all to a charity.

    Perhaps I could do it just as an awareness thing? Like riding my bike across Tennessee to raise awareness for Tibet or to support LGBT marriage or something? I have a lot of personal experience in Tibetan awareness things, I've worked in a bunch of Tibetan awareness rallies and have worked really closely with my school's Students For a Free Tibet club. This would involve no donations, just me handing out buttons, pamphlets, fliers, just stuff along the way. Maybe as a cool touch, I could give every city I visit a Tibetan flag to hang?
    Last edited by RaiderInBlue47; 06-20-10 at 11:03 PM.

  13. #13
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    If you are going to collect donations for a charity ...

    1) Pick a reputable charity.
    2) Talk to the charity of your choice and arrange to set something up on a blog or website where people can donate directly to the charity. That way no money goes into your hands at all ... it goes directly to the charity.
    3) Use the blog or website to talk about your ride and the charity ... and hope it is interesting enough that a few people will go onto your site and donate.
    4) Ride.

    Do not use any of the money for your trip. No one wants to fund your vacation ... especially not in a time of financial uncertainty.

    Incidentally, Habitat For Humanity puts on a cycling tour each year, I believe ... why not just join that?

    I think these might be some of them ... it looks like there are a few rides:
    http://www.habitat500.org/Habitat500/Home.html

    http://www.yale.edu/habitat/about/faq.html

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by RaiderInBlue47 View Post
    I know that there are several rides that go for charity, but have you ever gotten pledges and donations to a charity for your tour?
    Don't see one thing sketchy if the donations are made out/given to the charitable organization itself and are not used to fund the trip, which is what it sounds like you are talking about. Simply ask for checks to be made out to the charitable organization.
    "I've wanted you to succeed, but watching you find excuse after excuse after excuse and then laugh it off as the loveable, quirky, chubby guy is getting old."--Ill.Clyde

  15. #15
    Senior Member Bentley6's Avatar
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    The 2100 mile ride I'll be doing in September is my vacation / 50th birthday celebration / charity ride. It is to benefit the many ministries of an organization that I'll visit when I get to their office at the half way point in my ride at Colorado Springs. They are Bibles For The World. My family sponsors a girl in India thru them. Our church members are either making pledges of so much per mile or a flat rate and then they will send a check directly to BFTW's office with the words "BIKE RIDE" on the memo line. BFTW will keep track of how much money is raised thru the tour. I will see none of it. I will be passing out a few of their flyers along the way at churches that I'll be staying at. I also started a blog to update as I tour and that people can give pledges thru. I figure, why not help some folks as I do one of the the things I love, ride my bike.

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    Me, I don't like the implication that it's somehow unacceptable to go on a cycle tour without some sort of charitable cause attached to it - like it's some kind of self-indulgent, wasted opportunity. I also get really annoyed when people set themselves a personal challenge, for fun, and turn it into a responsibility for all of their friends.

    If you believe strongly enough in a cause to ask your friends to make a financial contribution to it, you should just talk to them, persuade them, but leave them to make a decision privately. Why make your holiday part of the argument?

  17. #17
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al Downie View Post
    Me, I don't like the implication that it's somehow unacceptable to go on a cycle tour without some sort of charitable cause attached to it - like it's some kind of self-indulgent, wasted opportunity.
    Whoever implied such a thing?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    Whoever implied such a thing?
    Like the original poster said: "The more I talk about my goal to bike across Tennessee, the more that people think I'm crazy. People ask why, I say for fun, then they give me a look."

    I lost count of the number of times I was asked "Are you doing it for charity?". Why should they assume that I would be doing it for charity??? People don't generally climb mountains for charity (in fact it's seriously frowned upon), they don't go windsurfing for charity, they don't lie on beaches for charity - why is cycle-touring always associated with charity?

  19. #19
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    The cycling to save the world pitch comes across, to me, as an elitist and condescending justification for international travel. What's wrong with travel for its own sake? Enjoy the challenge/adventure of the trip and meeting and spending money with local people when possible. no guilt trip necessary.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Clarenza's Avatar
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    RaiderInBlue47, if you are supporting a charity to make the trip look better to friends or even to help justify it to yourself, my view is that that's kind of phoney, and it will come across that way. However if the charity is one that you're passionate about, and you have an opportunity to combine fund raising with your passion for touring, people are more likely to get excited by that story and be supportive. The fact that you're not sure whether to support Make-A-Wish or Habitat for Humanity makes me wonder if there's any passion involved. If that's the case, I'd be inclined to say just go touring, have fun, forget the charity angle.

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