How to Start a Motorcycle Ride Fund Raiser

by Amber Keefer

Motorcycle clubs and associations not only provide the opportunity for riders to gather socially, but its also gives them the chance to raise money for all kinds of charities. Members of motorcycle clubs are often recreational riders who want to contribute to needy causes. Whether clubs participate in annual fund-raising events or ride one time in support of a special cause, many riders contribute both their time and money. However, there are some basic steps to follow for organizing a successful fund-raiser.

Map out a route, preferably on back roads with less traffic. Many charity runs travel a scenic route through the countryside. Depending on the time frame for the run, a one-day charity ride event may cover a distance of 50 to 100 miles round trip. There is no need for riders to push themselves too hard, as it is not a competition. A typical run usually begins at 11 a.m. and finishes at 6 p.m. Shorter runs sometimes start earlier in the morning and end by mid-afternoon.

Contact the local chamber of commerce to schedule a date for the event. Make certain that there are no conflicts with other events scheduled in the community on that same day. The chamber can also help you to promote your fund-raiser by posting details of the event on the chamber's own calendar of events.

Write up the rules for participating in the event to distribute to those who register to ride. Make certain that all riders clearly understand the safety rules beforehand. State that participants are expected to maintain a safe distance behind the rider traveling in front, in addition to riding two-by-two wherever possible. Riders should wear the appropriate clothing and riding gear including long pants, jacket, boots, gloves and a safety helmet.

Create a registration form. If your organization has a website, you might want to offer the convenience of online pre-registration along with the traditional mail-in registration form. Schedule a final in-person registration to start one hour before the event. Even those who have registered previously need to stop by the registration table to pick up T-shirts and other information about the event.

Get in touch with local motorcycle clubs in your area and ask for their participation in your fund-raising event. Most motorcycle clubs regularly ride charity fund-raisers, although some only support specific charities (see Resources below).

Give your cause some additional promotion by designing a T-shirt for the event for volunteers and participants to wear. Hand out the T-shirts at registration the day of the event (see Resources below).

Solicit sponsors to support the event. Your goal should be to partner with businesses, which share a genuine interest in your organization's mission. Align yourself with supporters who will enhance your organization's credibility and further its cause. Keep in mind that sponsors want something in return for their philanthropy. Sponsoring charitable events helps a business develop a good reputation in the community and offers a prime opportunity for marketing. Approach businesses that are targeting the same segment of the population for whom your event is being planned. For instance, if you are trying to raise money to purchase a wheelchair van for a local assisted living community, talk to businesses that provide products or services to seniors (e.g., medical equipment suppliers, physical therapy clinics, elder law attorneys).

Advertise the event. Ask the owners or managers of local businesses for permission to post flyers about the event. Focus on businesses where the riders, sponsors and donors you need are likely to go. Be sure to include details such as the date and start time of the event, as well as the name, mailing address, website address and telephone number of your organization. Contact local radio and television stations to inquire about their policies for airing free public service announcements for nonprofit organizations. Call local newspapers to inform them of the event. In addition to advertising your event, many town newspapers will send out a photographer the day of the event and sometimes publish a brief story with photos.

Ask for volunteers to help set up and clean up afterward. This is a good way to inform people in the community about the event and what cause it will benefit. Arrange to have people with cell phones positioned at various locations along the route in case of an emergency. Recruit individuals who are dependable, resourceful and communicate easily with others.

Plan to end the ride at a local restaurant where riders will be provided with free drinks and a meal. Arranging for a buffet-style meal allows tired, hungry riders to get served more quickly.

About the Author

Amber Keefer has more than 25 years of experience working in the fields of human services and health care administration. Writing professionally since 1997, she has written articles covering business and finance, health, fitness, parenting and senior living issues for both print and online publications. Keefer holds a B.A. from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. in health care management from Baker College.

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