We are all familiar with benefit walks and benefit runs, but benefit rides are still rare. However, riding for a cause can be a lot of fun, build camaraderie among riders, and most importantly, raise money for a good cause. So, how about getting your riding friends together to organize a benefit ride?
There is no shortage of causes to ride for. From horse rescues to breast cancer research, there are plenty of non-profit organizations that do good work and are worthy of your support. Usually it all gets started by an event in one of the riders’ lives – it could be an illness such as cancer or multiple sclerosis or a sick child whose parents can’t afford special medical treatment, etc. Riders gather around the cause and set themselves a goal. Pick a date and an amount of money that you want to raise by that particular date. Then sign up for an online fundraising site that you can easily google and get set up. On some sites you can create pages for individual riders and each rider can set his or her own fundraising goal. Riders then send e-mails and Facebook messages about the fundraising activity and the cause they are riding for and ask friends and family to sponsor them for the ride. It helps to have pictures and a little bio or story of each rider on the website.
Start the effort about 4 to 6 months in advance. The ride itself needs to be a challenge so that riders can rise to the occasion by pushing themselves, for instance a 15 or 20 mile ride. Then you need to train, and that is where the fun begins. Organize as many training rides as possible before the event, and the group will grow together. Not everyone will make it to every training ride, and that’s why you need to set up as many rides as you can. Monitor the progress on your fundraising website and keep advertising by repeated messaging.
Don’t forget the media – ask your local newspapers and television stations to come out to a practice ride and especially to be there on the day of the big event. Rest assured, the fundraiser will be an unforgettable event, and who knows, maybe you will start a tradition and do it all over again next year!