written for Countyline Publications and printed in Wisconsin and Illinois Biker Information Guide Judy “Chooch” Kaenel President, DuKane Chapter A.B.A.T.E. of Illinois Inc. Every time you turn around there is a bike run or event supporting this charity or that charity and its enough to make your head spin aka Exorcist style.  When each and every weekend of the riding season is packed full with charitable rides, how does the generous biker choose which to attend?  My biggest pet peeve and cause for my E-Venting is the overload of charitable rides.  I know that is not the most popular opinion, but come on!  It’s almost like we have the Lifetime Channel Disease of the Week rides and it is overwhelming!  I think that somewhere in the past 10 years, the rest of the world caught on that bikers are by far the most generous individuals in the world, and to be honest they are capitalizing on that!  Seriously!  There is a ride for almost every organ in the body so how do we choose? By being smart about the charities we get involved with that’s how. The most efficient charities spend at least 75% of their budget on their programs and services and less than 25% on fundraising and admin fees (Tip: check out their IRS 990s). Now I don’t want your club or organization to get too hung up on administration fees and expenses of a charity. Believe me; your event/run is going to incur expenses and plenty of them! The most important thing to do is ask questions.  A great heart-tugging story is no longer enough to warrant charitable support.  Find out what that charity does with the dollars raised and how it is spent as well as success stories.  If a charity can’t accurately explain who it is or what it does, then move on.  The Biker Place is too crowded and there are many charities that can explain exactly why our hard earned dollars are needed. Also, ask if a representative from the charity can come out to your meetings to explain to your members about their organization and answer questions that may arise without hesitation.  A good charity will attend the event or run as well. Not only does this give your members a chance to interact with the powers to be but feels good to know who your money is going to. Finally, be aware of how many runs are going on when setting up the date for your charity ride.  Too many rides benefiting the same organization is a sure fire way to turn off bikers.  There is nothing wrong with joining forces with another club or organization to have a combined event helping out one charity instead of a poorly attended one just because you picked the same date as someone else. So I hope these tips help a bit and remember DuKane Chapter of A.B.A.T.E. of Illinois’ Toy and Food Run is on October 10th. See?  I can shamelessly plug my event can’t I?
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