How to Organize a Motorcycle Charity Ride

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1 How to Organize a Motorcycle Charity Ride Motorcycle owners are always up for any opportunity to get out and ride. People who plan bike events know that a good ride can be as important as the destination or purpose, whether it's an opportunity to help a community member or to raise money for charity. Organizing a motorcycle charity ride requires some hard work and a lot of time to get everything organized and sponsor sheets passed around. Motorcycle riders regularly participate in many charity rides throughout the country. Some charity rides are for a specific organization and some are for individuals that may have cancer or another health issues and need help. The benefit rides and charity rides are all done the same way. It is important to have as many motorcycles participating as possible. We have a few tips on how to set up a motorcycle charity ride. A motorcycle charity event invites motorcyclists to donate money to a cause in exchange for a group drive. Such an event can include a meal, a concert, a motorcycle show, or another tandem event. Planning a motorcycle run involves cooperation from local authorities as well as pinpointed advertising to draw in motorcycle riders. The more organization that goes into a motorcycle charity event generally means more fun, better results and fewer headaches. Organizing a successful motorcycle charity ride requires commitment. A motorcycle charity ride is a very popular way to raise money for charity, but you need to do some advanced planning for your charity ride to run smoothly. HOW DOES A MOTORCYCLE CHARITY EVENT WORK? If you need to ask, it would be easier to sell raffle tickets for your fundraiser. It takes a little more effort to learn how to set up a motorcycle charity event and to wrap your head around motorcycle run rules than getting businesses to donate a prize and selling chances to your friends. It helps to have participated in one or work with another person who is an experienced organizer before jumping in and going solo. Those who have not been discouraged yet should keep reading. DECISIONS, DECISIONS 1. Start organizing at least one year in advance of the selected date. It is essential to the success of the charity ride to budget plenty of time for unforeseen events. There are certain issues to be decided beforehand that will determine how you proceed. This allows for enough advertising time and planning. Decide how the event will raise money. The most common way is with pledge sheets for so much money per mile rode. Plan the party after the ride. This is usually open to the public. It can be a brat fry and entertainment. Here are a few tips: LIABILITY!

2 The first order of business for a motorcycle charity run or rally is to visit your motorcycle insurance agent and buy a liability policy and your attorney to have an event release of liability form drawn up for all participants to sign at registration. The reason I listed this step first is because I ve known more than one motorcycle charity run and bike rally that was cancelled because risks were not known or the cost of insurance was not figured in on the front end. GOAL? Decide on the goals for this fund-raiser, including what charity, non-profit or community organization will receive the money, and where the funds will be generated from, such as general admission fees, donations, or extra events such as poker hands or raffles. Is it open to club members only or anyone with a motorcycle? Can non-participants still buy raffle tickets? CAPACITY? Assess your organization, including how many people are able to commit the time to not only plan your fund-raiser in the days and weeks prior, but volunteer their time that day, possibly long before and long after the other participants. Though determining specific roles and a schedule will come later, this is a good time to estimate numbers of trustworthy, experienced people needed for key positions prior to the event, especially critical duties like handling money, safety and sponsorship/prize gathering. WHO IS INVITED? Will your ride be open to club members only? This is usually the rule for a club sponsored fund raiser. If the ride is a club event, a committee should be formed to govern where the money goes and who is responsible for approving the petty cash expenditures necessary to pay for advertising materials, supplies and prizes. Or will the attitude be the more the merrier which is the kind usually favoured for charity fundraisers or bike rally events. If you are trying to fund a charitable contribution or put your bike rally in the black, numbers are very important. In this type of run, a decision should be made on where the money will come from to pay for expenses associated with the motorcycle poker run. For instance, will expenses be paid for by the club, you as an individual or taken out of the money that you raise? WHAT KIND OF MOTORCYCLE CHARITY EVENT? Bikers who have been on a few runs are helpful to have on your planning committee because they can share some ideas on activities that will make your run entertaining for the participants as well as fun and safe games to play at the checkpoints that will make finding volunteers for your next run s checkpoints easier. One of the all-time favourites is a scavenger hunt which can consist of anything from looking for landmarks or businesses so long as the search doesn t interfere with safe riding.

3 WHAT S INCLUDED? Will you serve or sell food and water? Will you have a 50/50? DATE? Choose a date. Depending where you live, prime bike season could be a few weeks in spring or summer, or much of the year, so there may likely be multiple car and bike events taking place on the same weekend. On one hand, riders may be interested in trying something new or help a particular aid effort or charity. On the other hand, they may have a hard time choosing especially if it's the same weekend as something already established. PLAN A ROUTE Plan your route, including the start and ending locations, or possible stops along the way for games, meals, or contests. This gives you a better idea of how long it would take average riders to complete, any impressive scenery or interesting pull-out places, or any temporary hazards such as seasonal construction. Some events stop at the same place they started, others wrap up at a destination, such as a popular restaurant. The route can be as long or short as you desire. Most are generally at least an hour long. Law enforcement authorities in the municipalities and jurisdictions along the entire route need to be alerted; often, law enforcement agencies will offer to escort the motorcyclists along the route. Try to make the route as visually interesting as possible, but also take safety into consideration. LEGAL PERMITS = Initiate the legal paperwork for the charity ride parade permits (if required) at least six months in advance. Working hand-in-hand with local authorities will make life much simpler and let riders enjoy the charity ride more. Police can provide charity ride organizers with an event security coordinator. HOW LONG? = The length of the route depends on the amount of time that you want the run to last. Do you want the ride to be over in an afternoon or do you want it to span several days? For a single day motorcycle poker run, between fifty and one hundred miles is good. Increase the number of miles exponentially for each additional day. WHERE? = Choose a scenic stretch of road with as little traffic as possible that offers cell phone coverage, emergency help should a rider need it, gas stations, food and water. After the route has been mapped out on paper, the route should be tested at least once before the day of the charity run to check road conditions and to be certain that the plan is as sound in person as it is on paper. CHECKPOINTS = Manned checkpoints are necessary for charity run that include games or have the bikers draw cards to avoid cheating. The problem with this is finding two volunteers to man each of the checkpoints. For this reason, you had better have some tricks up your sleeve that will make the job as attractive as possible with games or some activity other than the usual duties. Your checkpoint officials can preside over games of

4 riding skill, ring toss or toss the balloon. One can make sure the riders abide by the rules of the poker run and the other can organize the scorecards. ADVERTIZING Spread the word, whether it's posting a notice in various club's newsletters or sites, posting the info at area biking event sites, alerting the media for a possible story opportunity about a new local charitable effort, or buying advertising. Included in this promotion is getting posters/fliers printed and put up at area bike shops or community bulletin boards. And though it usually isn't required, it's not a bad idea to contact local enforcement and let them know your route and time. They can let you know if there's anything else planned in that area, maybe join in themselves, and alert the public, especially if a large number of participants are expected. Advertise your event. If possible, create a website and get involved on a social media page like Facebook or Twitter. Post on classified listings and check with local papers for free events ads. Place flyers at locations all around your proposed location and consider that bikers may come from locations farther away to support your cause. Motorcycle shops or club meeting locations are good places to put up flyers. Exhaust all of the inexpensive and free options at your disposal before paying for advertisements. Start with printed flyers and as many free radio and television spots as you can beg or borrow. Post on biker bulletin boards and forums. Remember the less you spend on your charity run, the more you will have to donate to the charity of your choice. REGISTRATION Schedule a meeting place that is large enough to accommodate all the bike riders. This will be the start and finish point of the charity ride. This is where you will have drinks, food and entertainment for the riders who ride. This helps raise more money, especially if the general public attends. Make arrangements with a meeting location. Look to places with large parking lots like churches, community centers and large shopping centers. Be sure to approve the meeting location with the owner of the facility. MANNING THE REGISTRATION BOOTH Appoint at least one person to be in charge of the registration table (more may be necessary depending on the number of participants). This team or individual should know how to score the cards at the end of the run, be considered trustworthy enough to take in the money, keep an eye on the money and get signatures on the liability release drawn up by your attorney. They should also have some pre-training as to how to make a decision on who should be turned away and not allowed to participate in the motorcycle charity event. Request and have an insurance liability policy drawn up, which protects you and your organization from any possible legal entanglements if someone ends up hurting themselves or

5 others doing the activity. These can be included in the registration packets or filled out at the start area before everything begins. Give every rider a map and send him/her on his/her way at the given time. As the ride nears the end, have enough people tending to the check in point so that every rider can be accounted for and the signature sheets can be checked. PLAN THE EVENT If desired, plan accompanying activities. Some popular add-ons are motorcycle shows before the run, a BBQ style dinner for the attendees either before or after the run, or a concert to celebrate the end of the day. Purchase any additional materials necessary, such as T-shirts or pins. Some charity motorcycle runs offer these items for purchase while others offer them as a perk for registration. Some also offer an item as a reward for early registration, such as a free pin to the first 50 registrants. You can determine if you think this is necessary based on the size of the event and the cost of registration. Print up pledge sheets for all entrants in the motorcycle charity ride. These should be given out to the participants at least two months ahead of time. This gives everyone enough time to get pledges. The pledge sheets need to have a place for name, phone, address and amount of pledge per mile or a donation payment. SUPPLIES You will need to make your own supply list depending on the games and the kind of run that you choose. Beyond that the basics are relatively simple. Pop up tents tables chairs money boxes 2 part tickets if you are having a 50/50 or awarding prizes helium balloons for the checkpoints decks of cards a different color sticker to give the bikers at each checkpoint DISCLAIMER These tips on how to organize a motorcycle charity run are just that; tips. You should always consult with the authorities and your legal advisor in your planning efforts.

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