Miss out on RideLondon place? Ride for Tommy's and raise money for charity

Childbirth charity also has places available on Nightrider, taking place in London in June

by Simon_MacMichael   February 3, 2014  

Tommys

With the vast majority of the 80,000 hopefuls wanting to ride August's second edition of the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 set to be disappointed this week when the results of the ballot are announced, childbirth charity Tommy's is calling on people who miss out to sign up for one of its places and raise money for the cause.

The charity, which funds medical research into the causes and prevention of miscarriage, premature birth and stillbirth, also has places available on the 100km Nightrider on 7-8 June, a moonlit ride past many of London's most iconic landmarks.

To secure one of the places on the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 on Sunday 10 August, you'd need to commit to raising a minimum of £650 in sponsorship to cover the charity's costs, while for Nightrider, the figure is £175, in both cases excluding gift aid.

If you're lucky enough to have your own place, you can still ride for Tommy's, and in that case no minimum donation is required.

In return, fundraisers get a Tommy's cycling top as well as full support to help maximise their sponsorship efforts.

Cycling events have in recent years become a big way for charities to raise money, and there are plenty that advertise in print and online to attract supporters. That's not an option for many smaller organisations such as Tommy's, which have to rely on word of mouth to fill places.

You can find more information on both events as well as how to sign up to ride them for Tommy's here.

 

17 user comments

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posted by Nick T [611 posts]
3rd February 2014 - 21:09

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It costs the charity £650 to enter a £45 event? It needs to have a word with itself.

posted by racyrich [81 posts]
3rd February 2014 - 22:11

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Serious question....how do these charities work out how much you have to commit to raising?
My guess is what they think they can get away with. Fair play to them, they have more experience than me at raising money, but I can't ask friends to pay for my hobby.

posted by 80sMatchbox [8 posts]
3rd February 2014 - 23:10

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80sMatchbox wrote:
Serious question....how do these charities work out how much you have to commit to raising?
My guess is what they think they can get away with. Fair play to them, they have more experience than me at raising money, but I can't ask friends to pay for my hobby.

They're not really funding your hobby though are they, you're just asking them to contribute to a charity, which is really up to them to decide - their choice. I think that's how charity works. You give or you don't give.

posted by fatsimonstan [26 posts]
4th February 2014 - 12:03

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racyrich wrote:
It costs the charity £650 to enter a £45 event? It needs to have a word with itself.

I think you might have misunderstood how this works. you raise money for the charity, you get a guaranteed place. they don't then pay all the money to ridelondon. they keep it, to do good stuff with. or most of it.

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7032 posts]
4th February 2014 - 12:33

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fatsimonstan wrote:
80sMatchbox wrote:
Serious question....how do these charities work out how much you have to commit to raising?
My guess is what they think they can get away with. Fair play to them, they have more experience than me at raising money, but I can't ask friends to pay for my hobby.

They're not really funding your hobby though are they, you're just asking them to contribute to a charity, which is really up to them to decide - their choice. I think that's how charity works. You give or you don't give.

In a way, they are "funding your hobby" in that if they didn't give the charity money *on your behalf*, you wouldn't be able to go and ride the event.

On the other hand; it's for a good cause, no-one is making you give the money, there is the ballot to enter the event so charity places aren't *forced* and as long as people don't take the piss and enter dozens of these things a year, I normally chuck 'em a few quid.

edit: for some reason I can't make italics work

posted by jstreetley [54 posts]
4th February 2014 - 12:43

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Dave Atkinson wrote:
racyrich wrote:
It costs the charity £650 to enter a £45 event? It needs to have a word with itself.

I think you might have misunderstood how this works. you raise money for the charity, you get a guaranteed place. they don't then pay all the money to ridelondon. they keep it, to do good stuff with. or most of it.

I know how it works thanks. The article says ' you'd need to commit to raising a minimum of £650 in sponsorship to cover the charity's costs'

If it means 'we'd like a minimum donation of £650, from which we'll pay your entry fee and have £600 left over for our charitable work' then fine. But the charity most certainly does not have £650 in 'costs' (or if it does it should close immediately).

posted by racyrich [81 posts]
4th February 2014 - 12:47

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Dave Atkinson wrote:
racyrich wrote:
It costs the charity £650 to enter a £45 event? It needs to have a word with itself.

I think you might have misunderstood how this works. you raise money for the charity, you get a guaranteed place. they don't then pay all the money to ridelondon. they keep it, to do good stuff with. or most of it.

in basic terms yes, but from first hand experience, but having the 'charity' send debit collectors and letters threatening legal action when you fall slightly short of the target is not a nice experience at all, not to mention how many places get set aside for charities that don't get taken up, taking places away from others in the ballot. I cant remember the figure from last year, but I recall it was in the thousands.

Last year I donated my failed fee to a charity, didn't get in, then got a phone call from said charity asking if I would ride for them, I nearly would have if they didn't hit me with the £50 registration fee I had to pay, on top of what I had already given them, and then the minimum collection, which would have been impossible to raise being that I live in one of the most deprived areas in the NW, people just don't have any money right now, and what they do have they dont want it used to fatten charity CEX wallets

So send me to the pits of hell, I dont care, but I will never do anything for charity ever again

posted by jason.timothy.jones [251 posts]
4th February 2014 - 12:49

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racyrich wrote:
Dave Atkinson wrote:
racyrich wrote:
It costs the charity £650 to enter a £45 event? It needs to have a word with itself.

I think you might have misunderstood how this works. you raise money for the charity, you get a guaranteed place. they don't then pay all the money to ridelondon. they keep it, to do good stuff with. or most of it.

I know how it works thanks. The article says ' you'd need to commit to raising a minimum of £650 in sponsorship to cover the charity's costs'

If it means 'we'd like a minimum donation of £650, from which we'll pay your entry fee and have £600 left over for our charitable work' then fine. But the charity most certainly does not have £650 in 'costs' (or if it does it should close immediately).

Surely it's difficult to know what the charities' costs are? (I'm talking generally, not just about Tommys.) Certainly more than the event entry fee. These charities are in a perverse "arms race" to get people to ride for them. So they take out adverts on cycling websites and magazines, also in the Metro/Evening Standard to fill the places. Then they offer you a jersey, a post-event tent with recovery drinks, etc to entice you. Then there is the cost of using 'justgiving' or whatever platform they use to take the payment from all of the donors their riders can persuade.

I agree, it probably doesn't "cost" £650 - they need to make money even if they don't fill all their slots and the people that do sign up raise the minimum. But it is too simplistic to say it only costs them the entry fee.

posted by jstreetley [54 posts]
4th February 2014 - 13:12

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it kind of depends on the event, and how much the charity is in for. so Marie Curie's sponsorship of the Etape Caledonia cost them £100k but they could expect to raise twelve times that in sponsorship over three years:

http://road.cc/content/blog/71344-etape-caledonia-where-does-money-go

applying the same logic to this, a twelfth of the £650 minimum is about £55. so, £10 over the odds for a guaranteed bond place. I wouldn't be surprised if it was a bit more than that.

anyway, i've asked them. if they let me know i'll respond here.

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7032 posts]
4th February 2014 - 13:43

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I believe the cost per place for a charity depends on the number of guaranteed places they apply for (I found something on the RideLondon site last year) - if I remember correctly it was in the region of £150 per place. Add on all the peripheral costs and you can see why they ask for a minimum sponsorship pledge. I rode for Mind last year and they laid on a post event reception at the Caledonian club for their riders/supporters with showers & masseurs for the riders.

posted by allezrider [25 posts]
4th February 2014 - 14:33

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I wonder what the ratio is between ballot places and charity places? this hints at between 3,135 and 6,580

It also talks about the costs which are more than 3 times for a normal entrant so on top of anything else I have said, the organisers are greedy pigs also

http://www.thirdsector.co.uk/Fundraising/article/1145369/Mayor-Londons-c...

posted by jason.timothy.jones [251 posts]
4th February 2014 - 14:36

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Charities today are a massive industry...not to say a con!

I remember a conversation I had with a youngish chap in his latre 20s who had been a police officer for about 3 years. He confided to me that hed gone straight from uni into the charity sector before his change in career and that he was only just earning a commensurate amount as when he left the charity!

There needs to be a serious investigation into charities running and administration costs.

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posted by gb901 [136 posts]
4th February 2014 - 16:27

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gb901 wrote:
Charities today are a massive industry...not to say a con!

I remember a conversation I had with a youngish chap in his latre 20s who had been a police officer for about 3 years. He confided to me that hed gone straight from uni into the charity sector before his change in career and that he was only just earning a commensurate amount as when he left the charity!

There needs to be a serious investigation into charities running and administration costs.

I don't see anything wrong with charities employing people and those people being paid a good wage. If they restricted themselves to people who can afford to work for free or are prepared to work for less than the going rate for whatever it is they do then they'd be fishing in a small pond I think, and they need good staff as much as any other organisation does.
But there could be more transparency about how much of the money raised actually goes to the when getting involved with events like this.

posted by Chuck [293 posts]
4th February 2014 - 16:44

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I deleted my first post because it didn't feel right to turn the thread into a complaint not related to anything the charity has power over, but hey ho, it's happened.

I can't agree with how the Ride London event is managed really, and turning sportives into yet another charity cash cow is something that should be discouraged. I get the marathon - even for regular runners, 26 miles is a long way. People really need to work at getting a good time. A 100 mile sportive? That's just an extended club run for a regular cyclist. The only people who would do this for charity are people who want to do it anyway, the charity angle just holds the majority of us over a barrel. I'd be more than happy if the fee was doubled and I could gift half of it to a charity my choosing, but I'll be damned if I'm going to spend more time worrying about hitting my ransom fee than I would actually spend training specifically for an event.

posted by Nick T [611 posts]
4th February 2014 - 19:27

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No investigation needed. Read their annual report and visit Guidestar's website. Then visit the Charity Commission's website if you have any concerns.

The charitable word is quite transparent compared to the private (banks) sector.

Tripod16

posted by Tripod16 [107 posts]
4th February 2014 - 22:57

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As I understand it the way this works for the London marathon is that the organizers charge the charities a large amount for each guaranteed place (~£400), so it's easy to see that for the charity to actually raise any money they are going to ask for a pretty big fundraising target from each runner. It isn't the charity's costs that are high but the price they pay to the organizer.

Personally I find it impossible to ask people for money to do something I would choose to do anyway (like a 100mi sportive). I think 'sponsorship' has to involve unusual effort/pain/suffering, otherwise it's just a donation. I might as well say to people "I'll do a bunch of different bike rides this year, please donate to XYZ". So I'll happily sponsor an overweight non-runner in the office to do a 5k, but I wouldn't sponsor myself for any kind of bike ride. A lot of people who sign up for 100mi sportives are doing one for the first time, then it's OK by me.

posted by 3cylinder [43 posts]
5th February 2014 - 10:41

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