BBBSCM Board member Karen Boehnke has been riding in the Rodman Ride for Kids for the past 4 years. Last year she took the initiative to grab a few friends and coworkers and start a team of Genzyme employees to ride on behalf of BBBS of Central Mass/Metrowest and altogether the three team members raised $3,100 and was able to apply for additional matching funds through the Genzyme GIVE Program.
I asked for some of her secrets, and after consulting her teammates, she happily shared a request for donations that they drafted together, each teammate personalizing their letter to fit their background.
Here is the basic letter, as e-mail sent by Genzyme rider Elena.
Dear colleagues, friends and family,
On Saturday, September 26th, 2009, I will be riding in a bicycle tour for the Rodman Ride for Kids which benefits children at risk in Massachusetts. Last year, the Ride raised over $6.3 million to help needy kids. I have pledged to raise $500 for this charitable event, and your donation, of any amount, will help me to reach my goal.
The Ride for Kids benefits more than 50,000 children and their families who receive services from children’s agencies in Massachusetts including Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps, the Italian Home for Children, Colonel Daniel Marr Boys & Girls Club, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Boston Police Activities League. These agencies provide residential care, counseling and treatment for abused children and adolescents, education, daycare, job training and volunteer mentoring.
I have become involved in the Ride for Kids because it’s a great cause and all the money raised goes directly to the organizations providing the services. It’s also a great opportunity to go for a lovely bike ride with friends. I’m sure some of you are wondering just when, exactly, I was last on a bike. It’s been a few decades since I’ve done any appreciable biking, other than a couple of lovely early morning bike rides I did while I was in Seattle this August. So I know I can stay upright & peddle for at least 10 miles. And my colleagues on Team Genzyme tell me the last 15 miles of the tour is a gentle downhill coast to the finish line. (The Ride provides options for 25, 50 or 100 miles tours. I’ll be borrowing an old bike from a friend and doing the 25 mile version.)
I hope you will support my efforts (and/or the efforts of Team Genzyme) by simply clicking the link at the end of this email. The Ride for Kids and its affiliated agencies fundraise year-round, culminating with The Ride event on September 26th. The Ride for Kids is a 501c3 matching gift charity that matches the funds raised at a rate of 15%. Additionally, the expenses associated with the Ride are less than 4% of the total revenue and are all underwritten. This means that when you donate, every dollar of your donation plus 15% directly benefits at-risk children!
If you have any questions about the Ride for Kids, please feel free to drop me a note. Thank you for joining me in helping to provide a brighter and more positive future for children at risk.
Karen used the basics of this letter, while also including her connection to BBBS as a Big Sister:
I became a volunteer for the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization two years ago and I’ve been a Big Sister for over a year to Martha, who is now eight years old. She’s an energetic little girl who loves to ice skate, swim, and ride her bike. Last winter we spent Saturday mornings at the ice skating rink where she took lessons and passed two levels of achievement. This summer we did a lot of swimming, almost every weekend – when it wasn’t raining. She’s proud of her accomplishments and I can see her self confidence has improved. It’s been an easy commitment for me – to share with her things she might not otherwise see and experience, to try to help her reach her potential and have fun along the way.
As you can see, writing the letter isn’t too hard – just say what you’re doing and why it matters to you and your friends, family and co-workers will be just as generous as you are.