MISSOULA, MT (BRAIN)—Adventure Cycling Association has raised more than $24,000 during its National Bike Month fundraising effort for the emerging U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS)—a system that could become the largest official cycling network on the planet.
The Build it. Bike it. Be a Part of it. campaign rallied a diverse group of business and organizational donors, "core supporters," Adventure Cycling members, and other supporters to donate online and by paper check, according to a press release.
"This was an experimental fundraising campaign for us," said Julie Emnett, Adventure Cycling's associate development director. "We wanted to reach out to new donors through our large social media communities—something we had never done before—but also create an exciting campaign that business supporters and existing members could get behind and enjoy."
Approximately 56 percent of the total funds raised from individual donors were generated through the campaign's "core supporters"—strong supporters of Adventure Cycling who committed to a specific fundraising goal—while around 46 percent were raised through the organization's outreach efforts online.
Contributions from businesses and organizations accounted for over half of the total funds raised.
During the campaign's first week, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Center for Environmental Excellence provided Adventure Cycling with $5,000 to assist states with route selection, mapping, and technical aspects associated with development of the U.S. Bicycle Route System.
In the campaign's next weeks, $1,000 challenge grants from BOB, Salsa Cycles, and TeamEstrogen.com were met in a few days' time. Other business supporters included BikeFlights.com, Klean Kanteen, Red Arrow Group, and Renaissance Bicycles. Woman Tours came on as a business supporter near the end of the campaign, making a surprise contribution of $1,000 to the project.
"The fundraiser captured the imaginations of these companies who are all committed to improving cycling in America, either because it is their business, or their passion," said Amy Corbin, membership and marketing assistant.
To publicize the campaign, Adventure Cycling did extensive outreach online through its business supporters, media partners, bloggers, well as cycling organizations and clubs. As a result, in addition to surpassing its fundraising goal, Adventure Cycling's U.S. Bicycle Route System Facebook page gained more than 3,500 fans, and traffic to its USBRS landing page at www.adventurecycling.org/usbrs increased nearly 50 percent over the first four months of the year. Media partners included Bicycle Radio, Momentum, New Belgium Brewing, NewWest.net, Pedal Pushers, Wend, and USA Cycling.
The goal of the U.S. Bicycle Route System is to connect the nation's urban, suburban, and rural areas. In the last year, the project has gained momentum at the state and federal levels. U.S. Bicycle Routes will be designated and recognized by State Departments of Transportation and more than 28 states are interested in or actively working on implementation. The USBRS is also currently part of the proposed Federal Transportation Bill now pending in the U.S. House of Representatives to be considered later in 2010.
"The U.S. Bicycle Route System is progressing at a much faster clip than we expected," said Jim Sayer, Adventure Cycling's executive director. "This campaign has shown us that support for the project crosses over from government to advocates to businesses. They all see the value of building a network that makes America more bike-friendly."
Since 2006, Adventure Cycling's work on the U.S. Bicycle Route System has also been supported by grants from Bikes Belong ($40,000), Education Foundation of America ($70,000), Lazar Foundation ($40,000), New Belgium Brewing ($30,000), SRAM Cycling Fund ($30,000), and the Surdna Foundation ($15,000).