Revolution#107, November 4, 2007

Readers Donate to Revolution $500,000 Expansion and Fund Drive... Challenge Others

Ride for Revolution

We received this correspondence.

Four readers and supporters of Revolution newspaper decided to use something we love to do—ride bikes—to raise money for the fund drive. We chose an organized bike ride on Oct. 13 (“Escape from New York”) and reached out to ask people to “sponsor” us by pledging money for every mile we rode. We rode a metric century—100 km or 62 miles—so people pledged $.50, $1 or $2 per mile. We had pledges between two of us of approximately $1500. (One person is still getting pledges and another is riding a different ride so we don’t know about them yet.)

We reached out to family, friends and people who knew Revolution newspaper and many who did not. We also intended to reach out to people—bike riders—that might not be approached to get the paper. We went to one 60-mile ride three weeks before our ride. We cut out the front of the shirts “Wanted for Mass Murder…The Bush Regime” and pinned them on front and back of our bike jerseys. We got comments of “Hey, like your jersey,” or “Where do I get a jersey like that?”  When that happened we handed them a card we printed that had the first paragraph of the fund drive broadsheet and told of our plan for raising money. At the rest stops along the way, we passed out several hundred of those cards.

At the end of that ride, we sold the paper and passed out more cards. The official organizers of the ride asked us not to pass out the cards at the very end because it made it seem like it was officially part of the ride. So they gave us a table a few feet away which was very cool of them. Very few people had seen the paper so we were reaching new people.

One rider is a revolutionary artist and sent an email asking for donations to his e-list. He got several responses from people he hardly knows. The most significant thing was when another artist known in an important arena of art sent the email out to his e-list, further spreading the solicitation and the knowledge of the paper.

The other rider had been part of a runners club in Detroit that is all Black middle class and mainly professionals. About the time he was writing an email to send to the club list, the head of the club wrote an email to the list forwarding a NAACP appeal for support for the Jena 6. So the rider sent the appeal for pledges and sent a couple of the Revolution articles about the Jena 6. Then after the Sept. 20 outpourings, the club head sent the rider an email asking “Where were the white people?” in Jena. He at first sent it only to the rider. Then he sent it to the entire club list, clearly aiming to spark discussion. So the rider sent further articles such as “Jena Journal: 48 Hours After a Great Day” and raised the question of how to end the oppression of Black people and all oppression, sending Bob Avakian’s recent series.

This did not lead to a large number of pledges but it did introduce the paper to 50-75 people. One assistant professor at a Detroit area university in the runners club sent the name of a colleague in New York City that might be interested in the paper.

The goal of reaching out to a new grouping of people was partially successful. However, we did not succeed in having the new people we met raise money themselves. This was because we did not follow up well enough. It is crucial to follow up on new people met.

We realized that there was a much greater potential overall than we had realized. This effort turned people who might not have given money to the paper if approached directly for a donation into financial supporters and introduced them to the paper. Family and friends were happy to “sponsor” a rider they knew in this effort for the paper. There were many that both of us did not reach that would have given. We realized we could have reached out much more broadly.

You can take any event with some sort of endurance aspect to it like a bike ride or run or walk and turn it into a fundraiser for the paper. There is a good reason why so many charities use that method. So add this to the list of 40+ ways to raise funds for the paper.  

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