In the previous post in this series, we gave you concrete ideas for how to host a fundraising party for Parkinson’s. For some, that fundraising option is the perfect fit. They love coming up with party ideas, reaching out to friends and making sure every last “i” is dotted and “t” is crossed.
For others, joining an event that’s run by others—especially a cycling event—is a more desirable option. So today we’re going to share proven strategies to make your ride for a cause a huge success.
Reid Hunter has been riding with us since 2011, and he is one of only five individuals who has raised over $100k for the Davis Phinney Foundation.
Reid first met Davis Phinney during a Ride The Rockies event in the early 1990s. Davis rode up beside him and they chatted for a few minutes. It was timely since Reid had recently read the book Davis and Connie wrote called Training for Cycling and he was trying to put into practice what Davis taught about descending in the Rockies. At the end of the weeklong ride, he saw Davis again and he introduced Reid to Connie.
Many years later, Reid saw an ad for the Copper Triangle in Bicycling magazine and saw that it raises money for the Davis Phinney Foundation. He researched further and learned that Davis had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and had started the Foundation. Reid decided to sign up and raise money.
He reached out to his contacts and discovered that not only did he have more than he thought, but that plenty of them were happy to support a worthy cause. Plus, Reid also knew that doing a fundraiser would be a great way to build in accountability. And that’s been the case every year.
By tapping into my colleagues and professional network for fundraising dollars, I have no choice but to succeed. I take my responsibility for following through very seriously. They’re counting on me to deliver and I’m not going to let them down.
As one of the top fundraisers for the event, Reid was invited to a dinner in Boulder later that year where he met the rest of the Crew. He’s been a devoted fundraiser ever since.
During his first fundraiser for the Foundation, one of the biggest surprises for Reid was learning just how many people are affected by Parkinson’s in some way. People would respond to his fundraising email by telling him about their dad, mom or best friend who was living with Parkinson’s. It drove him to try even harder to fundraise. And now, getting the chance to ride alongside people who are living with Parkinson’s and seeing how much it means to them to ride and accomplish these athletic goals, inspires him to come back year after year and keep increasing his goal.
When I asked him what advice he’d like to share with people who are considering riding for a cause he said:
Most people are hesitant to do rides for a cause because they think the fundraising part will be overwhelming and insurmountable. I find it to be just the opposite. You have more resources than you think.
Then he shared his top five strategies for running a successful fundraiser:
- Choose a modest goal.
- Ask for money just once a year.
- Be willing to stretch the asks to your outer circle of contacts.
- Send a very brief email with the reason you’re doing it and clear and easy instructions on how to donate.
- Give them a due date that’s preferably just two to three weeks out because the urgency of time will make it more likely for them to act right away.
If Reid can raise over $100k with those five steps, you can also meet (exceed) your goal by following them, too.
Willie Latimer, another one of our top fundraisers, began his fundraising efforts by riding for MS. When his wife was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, he decided to put his miles toward that.
He admits that fundraising for an organization like the Michael J. Fox Foundation, one that’s focused on finding a cure, was his first inclination. He’d do anything to find a cure for his wife. However, the location of our rides and the chance to meet Davis Phinney were important enough factors to prompt him to sign up to ride with the Davis Phinney Foundation at the Copper Triangle.
Once he experienced that event, and all of the people he met, he was hooked.
When I asked him what makes his fundraising efforts so successful, he shared the following:
- Share your connection to Parkinson’s. Willie had been riding for MS for a long time; however, as soon as his wife was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and he shared their story with his contacts, his donations doubled.
- Make it as easy as possible to donate. It should be convenient, quick and simple.
- Consider timing. He mentioned that everyone at his office gets bonuses so he often sends his letter shortly after that. People are feeling great and they have a little extra to give. (Tax return time might be a good idea as well.)
The bottom line is that there are many ways to be successful in fundraising. And what better place to start than to combine your love of cycling and your desire to help people live well with Parkinson’s.
Want to join us for an official Victory Crew® team event?
Every year, our Victory Crew team participates in some of the most scenic, challenging and often exclusive cycling events in Colorado and across the U.S. and Canada. When you ride with us, not only do you get an extra boost knowing you’re making a difference in the lives of people living with Parkinson’s, but you also get incredible team support and perks that make your Victory Crew experiences far more memorable than riding alone.