How You Can Create a Fundraiser for Victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, & Maria, and the Mexico Earthquake Quickly!

The year was 2004. It was Christmas Eve and I was sick in bed with the flu with nothing else to do other than watch TV. I found myself transfixed with the videos of the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster as they played over and over, but for some reason, I couldn’t—or wouldn’t—turn the television off. I had tears streaming down my cheeks and I wanted to jump on a plane to go over and help. I don’t know what I would have done; I’m certainly not trained in disaster relief. But I vowed that my personal donation of a few hundred bucks was not going to be all I did.

A few days later when I was feeling better, I went into my club, sat down with the manager, and told her what we were going to do: we were going to hold a Spinathon fundraiser for the tsunami victims, and we needed to act fast. Everyone who worked at that club was immediately on board and passionate about the idea, and we recruited many of the staff who worked at the hotel the club is attached to. We ended up raising $15,000 in three short weeks! We had more than enough volunteers, we got local sponsors, we had prizes for the fundraiser to incentivize raising even more money, and we had nearby clubs donating their bikes as well.

It was an amazing success considering how quickly we threw it together. The next year Hurricane Katrina ravaged the southeast United States; we duplicated our efforts and had a Mardi Gras–themed Spinathon, once again raising almost $15,000.

I find myself in the same situation as I watch the destruction in Texas from Hurricane Harvey, but I’m not currently teaching until this fall, so I hope I can inspire a few hundred instructors to create their own fundraisers. Two years ago when the big earthquake devastated Nepal, I wrote a similar post to this one and was delighted to hear about the results around the world.

[EDIT: or Hurricane Irma or Maria or the earthquake in Mexico!]

You can do this too! Whether you raise $200, $2,000, or $20,000 is not as important as just doing something…anything! I know you will find passionate people to help you in this goal.

Perhaps you do it with just your own class for a one-hour event. Or maybe you combine a few classes. Or, you pick a weekend day and assign a four- or six-hour time slot with a rotation of instructors.

If you are going to do this with the most success possible, you’ll have to act fast. People are seeing the images on television and are moved to be a part of helping. Believe me, that will die out quickly. It’s not that they don’t care; it’s human nature. But not only is the immediate need great for the victims in these disaster areas, there will also be a long-term recovery.

I’ve put together a bunch of ideas and a checklist so you can put together your own mini-cycleathon. It also includes information on how to set up online fundraising.

Click the box below to access your free handout on putting together a charity event in 3 weeks or less.



Spotify Playlist! 

Need some fun songs for your event? Choose from this Spotify playlist of over 90 songs about hurricanes, storms, rain, wind, and more. 

What charity should you choose? 

I turned to CNN for suggestions on donations. They have a page that divides their donations between four vetted organizations (the first four in the list below). If you want to spread your donations out, that’s a great choice. 

Here is an NPR article on organizations you can donate to.

Or, donate directly to one of the vetted charities below:

Thank you for being a part of this in any way you can, including spreading the word far and wide!

If you can’t hold a fundraiser, I hope you will consider donating. If you are in the US, you can text HARVEY to 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross. 

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