Climate Ride is a young charity, having only been around for five years. But in that short time they’ve been very active. In 2012, they surpassed giving their first $1 million in grants to environmental and bicycle-related non-profits.
Fundraising from their rides has grown each year and the 2012 rides saw a 41% increase in donations while maintaining about the same number of riders. So, in a tough economy how do you get your participants to raise almost half more? Climate Ride has done it by providing experiences of a lifetime.
For Geraldine Carter (photo right), Climate Ride Co-Founder and Director, the events are not just about changing minds, they’re about changing lives. Both the New York City to Washington DC Climate Ride and the California Climate Ride are five-day, 300-mile adventures. “For a person who has never bicycle toured, the thought of riding that distance and the feeling that’s associated with actually doing it changes their view of themselves and what they’re capable of.” Here’s what Climate Ride does to help their participants be more successful fundraisers:
- Gather and analyze data on participants. “We have them fill out the equivalent of a Harvard application.” DonorDrive’s custom forms let Climate Ride configure the registration process to collect any data they need. This enables them to tailor their communication based on responses and to make decisions based on facts. The more you know, the more you can make your event a better experience for your participants. “It’s nice to have 150 riders in each ride because you can pretty much know who each one of them are.”
- Make fundraising an endurance sport too. “We really want people who are committed and really want to push themselves in fundraising as well. We make that a big piece of the challenge.” Climate Ride uses a fundraising minimum to help set expectations on donations. “It’s because we really want to get people who are committed and really want to push themselves.” They also use reports to monitor each rider’s fundraising and to coach them.
- Get participants to tell their stories. “We’ve moved to having the Climate Riders themselves talk at our Evening Speaker series. Every night on rides we hear from riders doing really incredible work. We use DonorDrive’s Reports to find possible speakers.” DonorDrive’s reporting tools make it easy to filter participant data and find those with the most inspiring stories to tell.
- Get participants to register and fundraise early. “We use DonorDrive Reports to monitor our riders and their fundraising. We constantly track the number of riders registered and how much they’ve raised individually every week or every month, just to make sure they’re on track. If they’re not on track, we tweak our messaging to make sure they get on it.” Monitoring is easy since 98% of Climate Ride participants do their fundraising online through DonorDrive.
- Promote email and social media tools to get the word out. “80% of Climate Ride participants use DonorDrive’s built-in email tools.”
- Help teams build camaraderie and grow friendships. Connections with amazing people enhance the experience even more. “Riders definitely use the team tools in DonorDrive.” These include Team Pages with a thermometer to show a team’s total raised, links to each team member for easy donating, and messaging tools for captains to encourage the team.
Climate Ride set out to make their ride program a very moving experience. “Not only do the riders succeed, but they have a great time doing it. That flips one’s mindset to be like ‘Wow, where else in my head have I created boundaries for myself or obstacles for myself saying I can’t do that? So what else can I do in my life?’ It allows them to step up on a different plane.”
J. Kevin Wolfe is Social Instigator for DonorDrive Social Fundraising Software. This post originally appeared in the DonorDriven blog.