View Full Version : The challenge of grassroots charity rides vs. nationally known, well etablished rides

03-20-2010, 10:55 AM
I am the pr volunteer for Kelly's Ride, begun in 2005 as a way to commemorate the life, virtues and spirit of a 25 year old woman killed tragically in a collision with a train. The family asked me to work on this because events management has always been my profession, however, I also am disabled and am not a rider.
We have accomplished our initial goals, all for the benefit of little girls and young women in need, and will conclude with our fifth anniversary ride in June 2. While need never goes away, (we are adding an orphanage in Haiti to our beneficiaries in 2010), I have found it particularly difficult to get the attention of riders early, (June 2) in the summer season, and yet, groups like MS150 city to shore ride, seem to capture the energy and attention of their participants all year long. Anyone have an opinion on this, or similar experience? Thanks.:(

03-20-2010, 11:00 AM
One more detail....Kelly's Ride is absolutely the least expensive ride to register for, ($40 per to a maximum of $60 per on event day), and we have no mandatory fundraising amount. We ask our participants to raise at least $100 per rider, (has never really happened in four years), and yet other rides won't let you participate if you show up with less money in hand than the organization set as your fundraising goal. What am I missing?

03-20-2010, 11:06 AM
Good question.

What's your Website look like? Will you post a link?


03-20-2010, 11:16 AM
Good question.

What's your Website look like? Will you post a link?

Well, how about you take a look at it and let me know what you think? go to www.kellysride.com. It is e-commerce equipped for both rider registration and general doantions. We register our volunteers online. We have photo galleries from the past four years, and the content changes somewhat regularly. Let me know. Thanks!

03-20-2010, 11:36 AM
Is there any way to change the font on your website? At first glance, the homepage (to me) looks like one of those "placeholder" pages you find when a domain name has been parked but no website built. I think changing the font or color scheme may help the website draw more people in right away.

Have you tried facebook? Twitter? Getting your ride listed on cycling event websites, etc? Asking local cycling groups to add it to their calendars? Asking local bike shops (and not-so-local, if there aren't that many metric rides in your area) to add it to their calendars or provide flyers to customers?

One thing that does rub me the wrong way, on your homepage, is the quote "If you need materials for everyone to ponder while the peas are cooking, contact any of the beneficiary groups and request a copy of their latest news release or annual report" in the suggested ways to raise money. You really should provide downloadable materials (flyers, etc) for your participants to hand out and hang up. You don't have any printing cost, just the cost of creating the PDF and posting it on the website.

You may also want to change "about us" to "about our cause," so people can learn about the beneficiaries of the ride and the person who inspired it more directly. I think the inspiration/beneficiaries may also belong on the homepage as well.

Also, guilting your current participants by pointing out that it costs a lot to hold the ride and no one brings in donations? That's not very encouraging for people. Positive reinforcement, such as posting the total amount raised for the last four years, posting a hopeful "goal" for this year, recognizing your biggest fundraisers, would be a lot more effective than saying "hey, none of our riders meet this goal. Go bring us more money!"

I think the website looks pretty good otherwise, and that you have some good content and guidance for potential riders. If you change your presented attitude from "meh, this is expensive and we know you can do better" to "you did GREAT, let's top it this year!" would probably go over better with your riders.

03-20-2010, 12:15 PM
I agree with everything artifactos has mentioned.

I'm reading in detail the bio of Kelly on the About Us page, but it doesn't mention anything about her being a cyclist or how she died. I think you mentioned on another thread that she collided with a train. Was that while riding a bike?

Why only five years of this ride? You mention on the homepage that this is the final victory ride. Are you about to achieve some fund raising goal and you're done, or was this a limited-time project going in? I'm guessing people would want to support a going concern, not one that's about to fold up shop. That may explain the lack of participation this year.

I do like your 5s list in the column on the homepage. That's clever stuff, but as a Comp teacher, I'm wondering who your outside sources are. I'd like to read more about this 5 character in the Peanuts comic strip.

I like the idea of the Take Five fund raising suggestions, too, but some of them are outdated, making your homepage look dated. Drop the Thanksgiving and Christmas references and add some springier ideas, like having the Easter Bunny support the ride or something.

Maybe add a weekly countdown to the ride for a fund raising goal. One task each week to acquire a new personal sponsor to help reach that $100 goal for each rider. $5 per day is a little vague, especially when you start months in advance and only ask that they bring $100 - that's only 20 days.

I think your About the Ride information is a lot more compelling than what's on the home page right now.

Also, I would like to see pictures of people in the process of the ride itself, not hanging out before and after - you might add some shots of this beautiful Delaware River Valley for people not from the immediate area. (Believe it or not, when folks out on my side of the continent hear "Jersey," beautiful, verdant river valleys don't even enter the picture.)

I may have missed this, too, but some sort of statement from the beneficiaries would make the donations come in, I'd bet. Have some of the recipients of the funds give you a statement about how this money has benefited their communities.

Similar comments from past riders might be nice, too. Something about how they have looked forward to this ride to start their summer every year.

Do you have take-aways for ride participants? Swag bags? What's in them?

I don't see anyone in these pictures with a Kelly's Ride jersey.

Way at the bottom of the Ocean City page, there's a request to bring canned goods for the local food bank. This is in addition to the $100 donations and the $40 entry fee? So, really, it's $140 bucks and a can of beans to enter and do a lot of good for people in the local community and as far away as Haiti? That's actually kind of catchy. Is the canned food request on the entry form?

Who is Kelly's Kids, Inc.? I think as a 501 (C) 3, you're supposed to make your financial statements available to the public. I'd like to know how much money was raised and donated to these three beneficiaries - how much did that building at the orphanage cost, the gym for holistic healing, and how much is the scholarship? How many of those have been awarded? Can you get a statement from the recipients saying something about how much it meant to them?

Good luck!


Holstein 100
04-08-2010, 01:28 PM
The best thing to do is get your past riders to talk up the event among their friends and use testimonials on your website from these happy riders.

Also talk about the cause, everyone likes to help out where there is a need. At our Holstein !00 Charity Ride for West Marin Senior Services, we ask our many volunteers to also spread the word. Most everyone loves a ride that has great scenery like ours does and then riders want to bring their friends to show off where they ride. Riding for a cause just makes you smile!!

04-08-2010, 02:49 PM
The best thing to do is get your past riders to talk up the event among their friends and use testimonials on your website from these happy riders.

Hey, Mr or Ms Holstein, you and others might get a kick out of the very long, very meandering conversation a bunch of us here had about the Holstein Century back in 2007, culminating with ride reports, adventure stories and lots of pictures.


It's fun to reminisce. :cool:

04-14-2010, 12:33 PM
Some excellent suggestions by TE for website.

I hate to sound obtuse, but there are alot of remarkable, young people who die every year. I am not clear about Kelly's story that would draw alot more different women who didn't know her, to ride...except to support the charities and enjoy each other's company while riding.

As time goes by, Kelly's ride might need abit of rebranding/renaming..I'm sorry but you are asking how to improve the success/pariticipation of a charity fundraising ride that does require considerable time to plan.