Donor Tips from a Broke Chick: Tally Ho!

As I’ve written before, what draws me so much to Tweed Ride Toronto (aside from the fact that I love biking and a chance to dress up in old-timey gear) is just how accessible it is. As a supporter of nonprofit organizations, I’ve contributed to a fair number of fundraisers. Fancy galas with their evening gowns, canapés, and open bar, run/walk/bike-for-a-cause, pledges, auctions, growing hair, cutting hair…

None have been as much fun as the Tweed Ride Toronto. Over a hundred children, zoomers, and hip kids alike suited up for this event. For those who would bemoan that Gen-Y-ers as too cash-strapped and sucked in to their smartphones to be a worthy of an organization’s time…

Tell that to the $18,000 we raised.

So what makes Tweed Ride such a great event, and how did it pull all us young folks out?

Create an experience
You may have heard that young donors need to be involved in an experience. Tweed Ride Toronto gets the creative juices going – participants go all out in creating their vintage outfits, like a daytime Hallowe’en. We all admired each other’s clothing, lamenting the days of ties and jackets and hats as daily wear (who doesn’t ogle the costumes of Downton Abbey and Boardwalk Empire?). On top of the great fashion (including voting for best outfits, accessories, and bikes), we enjoyed live music played The Complete Street Band at registration on the day of the event, a group photo in front of Old City Hall, a tea party at Dufferin Grove Park, and dinner and dancing at Dovercourt House. It was a full day, and everyone was beaming the whole time.

I mean, when was the last time you wore a cape to a fundraiser?

Create a customizable experience
Registration opened at 2:30 p.m. and the event when on through the night. If you showed up first thing and stayed till last call, that’s quite a long day. But, if you just wanted to show up to the after party, you could buy a separate ticket. If you weren’t up for partying, you were able to leave the ride whenever you wanted. No one felt trapped or bored. We really were at liberty to create our own adventure.

Create an accessible experience
Even though registration went up slightly from last year, you were still able to enjoy the entire day for as little as $20. How do you turn that down? Now, it is a fundraiser after all, so those who were comfortable raising more money did so, with prizes available at different price points (including a gorgeous Bobbin bike for raising $1000). I’ve said before how I could see myself dropping a good chunk of change on an event like the Power Plant Power Ball ($165), AGO Massive Party ($150) or ROM Prom ($300), but would not be able to convince a friend to do the same. And I’m not about to go to such a party solo. But with Tweed RideToronto’s lower entry fee it’s easy to get friends to sign up.

Apples!
I’ve always dreamed of a milk and cookies fundraising event. Food and nostalgia (two of my favourite things) coming together in awesomeness. I want to give props to Cambridge Suites Hotel, a sponsor, who joined us with a cargo bike brimming with cirpsin apples (and retro candy). Fall clothes, fall weather, and the first crop of fall apples? Absolutely fitting with the event and hey, good bit of energy and nutrition to keep us going! I really, really loved the apples. Perhaps more than I should. But really. Apples. The way to go.

Social media!
Tweed Ride Toronto was all over the social media leading up to the event and on the day. There were prizes to be won over twitter and we were encouraged to tweet throughout the day and take plenty of pictures. As if we needed the encouragement – I’m surprised we didn’t overload Instagram. Plus there were plenty of prizes to be given out over social media, and social media was key in recruiting participants – for the events and for teams (like the ReTweed Society, of which I was a member).

The other extras
A couple on their wedding day rushed to be a part of our group photo at Old City Hall. Those are going to make some unique wedding photos! Super cute.

Those who registered in advance received their registration package in the mail, complete with bike number, armband, string and safety pins to attach them, information about the day, and voting card and pencil. This meant you could show up later at the event, and you’d be ready to go, and saved the registration tables just for those who were registering on the day of, making the process smoother and quicker. Plus who doesn’t love getting mail? Great job.

As a side note, Toronto Tweed Ride had these, like, amazing posters, and the Tweed Tattler, a newspaper for the event with the route map and historical information.They were all lovingly crafted by some awesome and passionate designer who you should totally commission to design stuff for your organization or next event.
[PS, it’s me.]

Did you attend this year? Will you next year (pro tip: you should)? Fill out a survey about the event at ReTweed Society’s Facebook Page!

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