Charitable Giving That Keeps on Rolling: ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours Explores Donation Strategies

30 July 2012

Fort Collins, CO - ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours, in 1972 the first North American tour company to offer pedal tours in Europe, receives on average a dozen different requests for donations a year, calculates Maria Elena Price, co-owner and manager.

Although the company is international in scope with bicycle tours this year on five continents and in 20 countries, because it is headquartered inFort Collins,CO, Price and her team are in the sight lines of philanthropic requests in this physically active and caring community – and elsewhere.

“We donate what we know and do best. After reviewing a charity’s fundraising effort very carefully, we may provide vacation certificates valued between $3,500 and $4,500 toward our scheduled bicycle tours,” she said.

But there’s a caveat. Price asks that the charity to which the donation will be made put 25 percent of the cost of a trip on the table – from the charity’s take, after it is sold at a fundraising auction.

“This helps us ensure that a big-ticket item, like one of our trips, doesn’t get lost in the donation shuffle and is given some attention by the organization,” she said, adding that it’s important to the fundraising effort that her company’s donation raise as much money as possible and that is best accomplished through pre-event marketing and publicity and then at the event itself.

How does her company select organizations to receive trips for auctions or other programs?

“Obviously we can’t fulfill all the solicitations we receive,” said Price. “Generally our criteria for selecting to whom to donate are a balance between evaluating the cause we’d be supporting and whether there would be interest by the demographic of the group attending the event.”

The non-profit Adventure Cycling Association has done what Price called “an amazing job” of inspiring people to get on a bike and has also been instrumental in creating and maintaining cycle routes in the US.

ExperiencePlus! recently donated a certificate worth $7,500 to them for their online Summer Cycling Auction. Locally in Colorado, ExperiencePlus! supported the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association Celebration of Life in a June fundraiser.

Sally Miller, an elementary school art teacher from Floridatook a cycling trip in Europethis summer because she was awarded the ExperiencePlus! “Send a Teacher Traveling” Award that recognizes outstanding teachers. See: ExperiencePlus!'s bloge for 2013 nomination information.

“I will use my travel experience with ExperiencePlus! BicycleToursto provide everyone at my school with new insight into a culture they might otherwise never have the chance to explore,” said Miller.

“This kind of outreach takes on its own legs – or wheels. We love the idea of giving out vacations and inspiring people to give to a cause they believe in,” Price said.