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Sponsor: Available! 

Does your organization provide supplies, support, or software to help run bike-a-thon fundraisers? Consider sponsoring this fundraising idea to expand your network!

5 Steps to Host a Bike-a-thon

Your organization can get started hosting a bike-a-thon in five easy steps:

1. Set an Event Goal

Every successful fundraising event starts with setting a clear goal. Doing so ensures your team plans the bike-a-thon with a purpose in mind. For example, your general goal could be to:

  • Bring in additional revenue.
  • Spread awareness of your cause.
  • Attract new supporters.
  • Help existing supporters get more involved with your organization.

Once you’ve prioritized one or two of these overall event purposes, assign a specific metric to each of them. This way, you can measure your results and know whether you’ve achieved the goal. For instance, if you want to attract new supporters through your bike-a-thon, your specific goal could be to register 30 event participants who are brand new to your organization.

2. Chart a Course

Of the logistical decisions you’ll need to make when planning your bike-a-thon, the most important is determining the race course. Most organizations choose one of two options here: having participants ride as many laps as they can around a loop, or hold a few road races of different distances to accommodate riders of different skill levels.

Which route you take depends on where you want to hold your bike-a-thon. If the best available event venues are local parks, you’ll want to go with the first option and choose a park with a loop trail. If you can secure a longer stretch of space on a greenway, in a remote area, or on city streets, the second option will work well. Either way, make sure to share a map of the course with registrants in advance.

3. Register Participants

As soon as you know the location, date, and time of your bike-a-thon, share an online registration form with your supporters. Promote the event using all of your organization’s marketing channels: your website, email, social media, flyers, and any other methods you have at your disposal.

Once each participant signs up, send them instructions for creating and sharing their individual peer-to-peer fundraising page. Design a template branded to your organization to help supporters get started, but leave space for them to add personal stories about why they’re involved with your cause, which can help inspire their friends and family to contribute.

4. Host the Bike-a-thon

The day of your bike-a-thon is when you’ll see all of your hard work pay off. Before the event starts, remember to:

  • Arrive at the location early to set up.
  • Meet with your staff and volunteers to ensure everyone is clear on their event day responsibilities.
  • Check that every participant has signed a waiver and provided emergency contact information.

At the beginning of your bike-a-thon, have a staff member welcome everyone and share some information about your cause to engage supporters. Also, encourage participants and spectators to post their event photos on social media and tag your organization.

5. Thank Participants, Donors, and Volunteers

Your work isn’t quite finished when the last bike-a-thon participant crosses the finish line! The day after the event, follow up with participants, donors, and volunteers to thank them for making it possible. Share your final fundraising total and provide examples of how that revenue will help your cause.

Ways to Fundraise at Your Bike-a-thon Event

One of the main benefits of a bike-a-thon is that there are countless opportunities for your organization to raise funds through this event! In addition to your peer-to-peer campaign, you can fundraise by:

  • Charging a registration fee for participants.
  • Setting up a donation box on-site.
  • Selling branded merchandise.
  • Securing corporate sponsorships.
  • Making use of volunteer grants.

By combining all of these fundraising opportunities, your organization can make the most of your bike-a-thon and bring in significant revenue for your cause.

Additional Benefits of Bike-a-thon Fundraisers

Besides providing a variety of opportunities for fundraising, bike-a-thons have several unique benefits for your organization, including their:

  • Broad appeal. Many people enjoy cycling, and all they need for the event is their own bike or the ability to borrow one for the day.
  • Flexibility. With a few small adjustments, riders of any skill level can participate, from avid cyclists to families with young children.
  • Creativity. Simply by asking participants to cycle, your event will stand out from all of the fundraising walks and runs that other organizations host.

Plus, if supporters who don’t live close to the race course want to participate, it’s fairly easy to offer a virtual option for a bike-a-thon. Just be clear that participants are on the honor system to complete the race and accurately report their time and distance cycled.