Bike-a-thons make great fundraisers for schools and non-profit organizations alike. A bike-a-thon is a peer-to-peer fundraising event that works just like a walk-a-thon, however instead of walking, participants are biking for your cause. Cyclists bike a predetermined course and commit to raising money for your organization. Bike-a-thons work well because almost everyone knows how to ride a bike and they are a great family event, while also offering a venue for avid cyclists to participate. Bikers may collect pledges per completed mile or kilometer or contributors may choose to donate a set amount to the benefiting organization or charity in support of a biker's efforts.
If you are planning a bike-a-thon in support of your church, community organization or your child's school, encourage the whole family to participate. Create fun contests within your own home to see who can raise the most donations or pedal the furthest, and enjoy the fact that you're all getting exercise while raising funds for a good cause. As always, you’re teaching your children with all you do and biking is something everyone can get behind.
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Features of Our Fundraising Software for Bike-a-thons
DoJiggy's peer-to-peer crowdfunding software offers all of the features and functionality you need to succeed. So why not make it easy on yourself? Start with our Bike-a-thon Pledge template which comes complete with these powerful tools and features for your biking event:
- Personal & team fundraising pages
- Social media links for easy sharing
- Responsive Design for mobile donations & pledges
- Various registration options, including participant import
- Leaderboards with top individual and team fundraisers
- Fundraising thermometers for your overall event goal, teams and participants
- Prize management system
- Participant privacy for kids' rides
- Ability to take per unit pledges (ie per mile or lap) or flat-rate donations
- Detailed financial reporting capabilities
- Integrated email management system to email your bikers, team captains and sponsors
How to Organize a Bike-a-thon in 6 Steps
Once your team has decided that a bike-a-thon is the right fundraising event for your organization or charity, how do you get started? Organizing a successful bike-a-thon or bike fundraiser requires a dedicated team and careful planning. Following these steps will get your organization or charity started off on the right path:
- Assemble a Bike-a-thon Committee
- Manage Event Logistics
- Find Bike-a-thon Event Sponsors
- Recruit Bikers Who Love Your Cause and Incentive Them
- Securely Collect Donations
- Rock the Post Bike-a-thon Fundraising Party
1. Assemble a Bike-a-thon Committee
As with most fundraising events, planning a successful bike-a-thon depends on the recruitment and action of a strong leadership team. Ideally your team should be comprised of individuals with diverse skills and talents that share a common interest in the organization's success. Committee members may include Development and organizational staff, Board Members, and volunteers (ie parents for school bike-a-thons). Working smart at this stage of the game requires delegation. Consider assigning a person or team of people to the following project areas:
- Legal and Logistics: this person should be someone responsible for obtaining permits and handling logistics, such as traffic control and insurance.
- Corporate Sponsorship and Donations: someone with experience in sales and building partnerships to solicit sponsorship and manage a sponsor expo area for local businesses and donors.
- Marketing and Public Relations: ideally someone with a communications background to manage your fundraising website, write press releases, pitch story ideas to media, create print and promotional materials and recruit celebrity event participation.
- Hospitality and Communications: this is your bike-a-thon cheerleader! He or she sends periodic coaching cards to participants, organizes pre- and post-event meals and activities, and coordinates entertainment.
- Day of Event Operations: this person recruits and manages volunteers to help with registration, product sales, First Aid stations, and other logistics at the event.
2. Manage Event Logistics
Basic event logistics include selecting the date and time and course location. You will very likely need to get permits, manage traffic routes and secure insurance to host a bike-a-thon.
For a bike-a-thon fundraiser, participants agree to bike for a set amount of time or distance. During the designated time (ie one hour), the goal for each participant is to bike as many miles as possible around a loop; maximum miles may be established. Another more popular option is for bikers to complete a set course - like a 10 mile loop. This ensures that everyone ends up at the same point - the Finish Line - and may make it more interesting for bikers. Often there are a couple of biking routes, to allow more experienced cyclists to push themselves while beginners and families can have fun with an easier course. Some organizations even include a Century Ride - which is a 100 mile course or a multi-day bike tour.
3. Find Bike-a-thon Event Sponsors
You will likely need sponsors to help underwrite the costs associated with your bike-a-thon. Sponsors can provide direct fundraising to cover start-up expenses and in-kind donations. But what do your sponsors want? Sponsors want to be recognized for their contributions!It’s very important to allow your sponsors to interact with your bikers and get face time. Your DoJiggy website includes a sponsor page to highlight each of your sponsors with their logo and a link to their website. Title sponsors should be included on t-shirts and all event swag.
4. Recruit Bikers Who Love Your Cause and Incentive Them
Your bikers will make or break your event. They are not only your event participants, but become your organization’s face to the larger community – and they need your help to make the event a success.
Make it easy for them by providing a powerful software tool for easily customizing their page and collecting donations. Encourage healthy competition to motivate participants and teams to raise more donations by providing incentives and prizes for the best performers. DoJiggy’s Pledge software includes a prize management system, so that bikers can be recognized with icons on their page when they have reached certain fundraising levels and administrators can easily determine which participants receive certain prizes. Offer prizes for the top individual and team fundraisers and your fundraising will sour. Your community sponsors can assist with prizes too. For example, partner with a local bike shop who can donate a new bike for the participant who collects the most donations.
5. Securely Collect Donations
Utilizing our Pledge fundraising software is a great way to obtain a lot of donations and/or pledges easily and quickly for your bike-a-thon event. Your participants will create personal fundraising pages where they upload photos, explain their mission and have people make secure donations online. They can then send out an email or post to Social Media site with a donation request that includes a link to their donation page. This makes it very easy for potential donors to contribute! Ease of donating is key to a fundraising event.
6. Post Bike-a-thon Fundraising Party
Bike-a-thons are great fundraisers because not only are they bringing money in to support your charity or organization, but they also provide an opportunity for members of your group and community to interact in a fun, social environment while increasing community awareness about your cause.
Following your bike-a-thon (or at the close of the Bike to Work Day or Week fundraising event), invite supporters to a community picnic or BBQ. Food and drinks can be provided at no cost to your hard-peddling bikers and sold to family and friends who come out to watch and enjoy. Much of the food can be donated by local businesses via in-kind donations, and in return, they are given a sponsorship that provides the visibility they deserve. Perhaps a local band is interested in performing. Solicit other fun prizes from the community and host a fundraising raffle or silent auction to bring in additional funds. Raffle items could include: restaurant and retail gift certificates, a free month membership at a local gym, free bike-tuning, free massage to work out those sore muscles after all that biking, and more.
Alternative Bike Fundraising Idea: Bike to Work Week Fundraiser
A fun variation of a bike-a-thon is a Bike to Work Day or Bike to Work Week fundraising event. Bike to Work Days have become popular fundraising events in recent years as people have become more conscious of the effects of global warming, and therefore look for more efficient means to get from point A to point B, such as biking or public transport.
These biking events work especially well for companies located in places where biking and outdoor activities are common. It's also a great way to strengthen your brand positioning if you are a company that promotes health, fitness and sustainable living. This type of event is very similar to a bike-a-thon however happens throughout the duration of a work-week rather than one day. Participants collect pledges based on the total miles they will bike to and from work each day (or donors can also choose to donate a set amount). Bike to Work fundraisers are not only a great way to raise money for your cause, but also create team building opportunities for participating businesses and reduce carbon footprint on the environment.
Bike-a-thon and Peer-to-Peer Resources
For more useful fundraising resources for your bike-a-thon, visit our walk-a-thon resources where we have sample pledge forms, event timelines and flyers, as well as guidelines to help you plan and promote your "a-thon" event, sponsor solicitation tips, and much more.