2016 will be my 9th century Point to Point (P2P) ride. My son-in-law, Jason, who has taken part in this fundraiser since its beginning in 2002, encouraged (helped, persuaded, inspired, cheered) me to first participate in 2008. Each year he is at the top of the many scenic hills along the route patiently waiting for me to catch up. Friends have since joined as team members (Los Saguaros Rápidos) and over the years we have braved both hail storms and 90° temperatures. The ride is also a family event, as my wife, Gail, and daughter, Emily volunteer at the finish line.
Why participate and volunteer? I do several sponsored rides each year, and this event is certainly one of the best supported and most scenic. But more importantly, the ride addresses a need in Vermont of which many people are unaware. About 1 in 4 Vermonters need food support at some point in the year and the Foodbank works through 225 food shelves and meal sites to see that vulnerable children (some 34,000) and adults have access to healthy food.
So the Point to Point ride is really about assuring that no one in our State goes hungry! And fundraising is an essential part of supporting this mission. Here are a few suggestions I have found to be effective:
· Go to the Foodbank's website, vtfoodbank.org, to learn about its programs and why it is important for donors to support your ride. If you're asking for money, people will want to know why.
· Maintain an email list of past donors; most will answer your appeal each year. Always add a few new names.
· I let friends and neighbors know that this is the one event for which I'll request donations. I enter other charity rides each summer, but I finance these myself.
· In return, I support friends and neighbors when they request donations on behalf of their causes. There are many great charitable organizations and fundraising events that need our help!
· Thank your contributors with an email or phone call immediately when donations are made; the P2P website notifies you of incoming contributions.
· After the ride send a thank-you postcard with a photo from the event and the rider and fundraising statistics that document the ride's success.
Good luck with your fundraising efforts. Your participation has a dramatic impact on the Foodbank's ability to help your fellow Vermonters!