Planning any event for a charity can be both challenging and rewarding at the same time. Here are some tips and step to help you get started with organizing a motorcycle ride for charity.
Picking the Charity
Before you start anything you will want to know what charity you are raising money for. Pick something you truly believe in or something close to you heart. Contact the charity to become more acquainted with the people who run the organization. They may have great insight or helpful tips. They may help in promoting the event, and/or have list of willing volunteers and other resources for you. Another good idea is to have a representative of the charity at the event. You should aim to be in contact with the charity during the whole planning process and during the event.
It’s recommended that you plan six months to a year ahead of the desired dates. Depending on your goals, this may be a large event and you may be involving a lot of people. The more time you give yourself the better.
Next, you should think about how you are going to raise the money. The most common way is to use pledge sheets, where people pledge a given amount of money for each mile the biker rides. This is similar to the pledge sheets used in running marathons or walk-a-tons for charity.
Before you can pick the dates of the ride, you need to map out the ride course with a beginning and end venue with checks point in-between. Be flexible and pick a range of dates that will work because not all venues will available on your desired date. Parks and fairgrounds work great as beginning and end venues because generally they are little to no cost. Also, make sure the end venue is big enough for an after party, which should include food, music, and vendors. This will be another opportunity to raise more money by charging vendors a space fee and asking for donations. This can be a place for people to kick back and have some fun. This is also a great time to announce how much money you raised.
Once the venues are in place, create a map to be printed with the route and all stops for riders. Next you should create the pledge sheets, with name, phone, address, and amount of pledge per mile. The maps and pledge sheets should be handed out a few months before the event date.
You going to need a lot of help! The more you delegate to volunteers the better. They can help with finding sponsorship, finding venues, setup and takedown, spreading the word, hanging up flyers, registering participants, recording riders at checkpoints and collecting money. Basically, you are going need a small army of people.
You will want to run your motorcycle charity ride as cheaply as possible so more money can go to the charity. Go around to local business, especially motorcycle-related ones and ask for donations. It doesn’t have to necessarily be just for money; business can donate tables, chairs, pens, paper, clipboards, signs, and water for volunteers and participants. In return, you can give them vendor space at the after party, places to hang banners during the event, or space for their logo on event flyers or pledge sheets.
Promoting the Event
Put flyers up in biker friendly bars, restaurants and business. Contact local newspapers, TV or radio stations to see if they are willing to cover your event. Add the charity ride event to newspaper or Internet event calendars. Post in online motorcycle related forums and message boards. Contact local riding or bike clubs and groups. Contact other groups like churches, local service clubs like Rotary, membership clubs like Elk Lodge, and local VFW.
One final note: this going to be a lot work, but it will be worth it because it’s for charity. And to remember to have fun with it!