Featured Fundraiser: Bike Clark County
Bike Clark County is a nonprofit consisting strictly of volunteers helping the children of their community learn proper bicycle riding etiquette, safety being the main priority. In the little more than a year the organization has been operating, it has been able to help numerous students at various schools the essentials of safe bike riding, while promoting self sufficiency, eco friendliness, not to mention fun.
Fundraise.com spoke with Eric, President of Bike Clark County, via email to find out more about the organization and what it has in store for the future.
1. How did Bike Clark County get its start?
Bike Clark County was born out of necessity. There were several people teaching a bicycle safety course at two schools for close to a decade. They were starting to struggle with the program because it was run mostly as a hobby. Bike Clark County was formed to save this valuable safety course but it’s grown based on a huge community demand. Since the actual formation of Bike Clark County, we’ve added one more middle school for a total of three and our first ever elementary school bicycle education course. Multiple schools have contacted the organization in order to have programs run in their schools. So, in our five year plan, we add seven schools to this line up. That’s over 1,000 kids in Clark County who will be taught how to ride safely and responsibly, deal with right of way issues, approach and pass through an intersection, hand and arm signals, and avoid hazards.
2. What motivates you in your fundraising efforts?
Letting people know about the great work we are doing to help the community and promote cycling; but especially keeping kids safe and educating them how to be responsible cyclists; and finally, seeing the progress of the students in the course. It’s not uncommon to meet a kid in the beginning of the course who can barely ride a bike, but with a little bit of practice and some mentoring, that kid graduates the program as a confident bicyclists. Now, instead of waiting around for their mom or dad to drive them to their friends house, can hop on their bike and ride over. It really gives our students a sense of confidence and independence. Not to mention, it’s good for their health and good for the environment.
3. What is your favorite part about working with the organization?
My favorite part of working with Bike Clark County is seeing kids learn to enjoy riding and understand that they can use a bicycle as an affordable, healthy, and eco friend form of transportation. Also, for kids, it’s a confidence builder and gives them a sense of freedom to be able to travel and explore their neighborhood or ride to park or a friend’s house. It also eliminates their need for a parent to drive them some place. Our goal is to fill up bike racks at school and see kids ride to their neighborhood park.
4. Who benefits from your fundraising efforts?
The community we are serving. No one in this organization gets a paycheck, everyone is a volunteer. Prior to this fundraiser, the entire budget of Bike Clark County came from volunteers making donations to keep the programs running. It has started and continued as a grass roots community effort to promote cycling in our town. And now its growing.
5. What advice do you have for aspiring fundraisers?
Use any method you can think of to spread the word. There are a lot of people out there who would donate to a cause or effort they can get behind. You just have to find them and use all the social media outlets and emails and newsletters; you can reach out to people who you never could connect with before.
6. What goals are you trying to reach by fundraising?
We’re trying to raise $3,000 in 30 days in order to buy equipment that support programs and make them sustainable to continue year after year. We donate about 1,500-2,000 helmets every year and right now we desperately need some funds to set up a small community shop where kids can come in and get a tire changed or get their bike repaired. We also have some community connections to collect dozens of donated bicycles, but we do not have a way to get them repaired and sent back out into the community. This money will allow Bike Clark County to buy the equipment necessary to get these bikes back out to the people who could really benefit from them — at no charge. It also allows the organization to keep our fleet of training bicycles running for next year’s school programs.
For more on Bike Clark County, please visit: Online Community Fundraising
Also, Bike Clark County had the distinct pleasure of being featured in The Columbian. Head over there to learn even more about this great organization: http://www.columbian.com/news/2012/jul/08/pedal-pusher-founder-of-bike-clark-county-wants-to/