To apply, describe the following:
1. Goal of the campaign
2. Elements, techniques or technology used in the campaign
3. The cost to develop and run the campaign
4. The benefits of the campaign
5. How many times per year can you execute this campaign
6. How effective was this campaign in replacing postal mailings
7. Links & Documents - Please add links or upload documents showing working examples of your campaign
Adventure Cycling Association’s Build it. Bike it. Be a Part of it campaign to build an official
U.S. Bicycle Route System.
1. Goal of the campaign
The goal of the Build it. Bike it. Be a Part of it. campaign is to create an official U.S. Bicycle
Route System (USBRS) — what will likely become the largest bicycle route network on the planet.
The secondary goal, and just as important, was to create greater awareness of the scope and
significance of this project and build community support, observable through community discussions
and the attraction of new donors.
The U.S. Bicycle Route System will be similar to the national and international systems blossoming
across the globe (such as Euro Velo). This visionary project will connect cyclists across the U.S.
with cities, transportation hubs, scenic and historic destinations through existing (and new) route
infrastructure; the routes will also be numbered (in some cases, signed) and officially recognized
by state and federal government agencies. Since 2005, Adventure Cycling has provided significant
staff support and expertise for the U.S. Bicycle Route System, which is a collaborative effort,
spearheaded by a task force under the auspices of the American Association of State Highway and
Transportation Officials (AASHTO).
Creation of this network will help to improve cycling opportunities for all Americans, create a
sustainable transportation system, decrease our impact on the environment, reduce obesity, improve
health and well-being, and give all Americans an opportunity to engage more closely with the
wonderfully diverse people and places that make up this great country.
2. Elements, techniques or technology used in the campaign
Planning for this month-long campaign began many months before its launch on Monday, May 3, 2010.
One of our first actions proved critical to the campaign’s success – we established our U.S.
Bicycle Route System Facebook page on January 11, 2010. It grew quickly and by the time we launched
our campaign, we had more than 20,000 fans between this page and our Adventure Cycling Association
We also did significant research to identify donation platforms that would help ensure the
campaign’s success. We chose two established online donation sites – Change.org and Facebook’s
Causes. Donors also had the option to mail donations or make donations through our website.
Our next step was to identify more than 60 people with whom we had a strong relationship and we felt
would be willing to ask their friends and families to make small donations with an average goal of
raising $250 each. As core supporters, they served as the campaign’s advocates, communicating with
friends and family about this important project.
Each potential core supporter was contacted by a staff member to determine their interest in
participating in the campaign. If the answer was yes (and most often it was), they received a survey
to determine what platform they preferred to use (Change and/or Causes) and what amount they
expected to raise. A sample “ask” and directions on how to set up their fundraising page were
sent via email, along with staff contact information if they had questions about setting up their
fundraising page. During the campaign, core supporters received a weekly email which included
campaign updates, links to recent blog posts, and tips to help them reach their fundraising goals.
Each core supporter was tracked in our database, indicating their selected platform, planned
solicitation level, and other relevant data.
We also wrote profiles of eight core supporters to help recruit additional core supporters and to
ignite participation by other core supporters. These profiles appeared as blog posts on our USBRS
Facebook page throughout the campaign.
We next identified 20 companies that we thought would be a good match for this campaign. Companies
were asked to make a $1,000 donation (cash or in-kind), and in return gained exposure through a
dedicated blog post and inclusion of their company name or logo in our blog posts and on our
campaign web page. Eight companies stepped up to the plate – most of this was new money to the
organization. During the month-long campaign, these donations were leveraged as “matching”
gifts. For example we would post a blog update that included: “Team Estrogen will match donations
this week, up to $1,000. Donate today to double your gift.” And then, we sent out “nudges” to
our followers via status updates on Facebook and Twitter, until we reached our goal for the matching
We also created media partnerships that helped us disseminate information about the campaign. We had
7 media partners including Bicycle Radio, Momentum, New Belgium Brewing, NewWest.net, Pedal Pushers,
USA Cycling, and Wend magazine. These partners posted news stories, blogged about the campaign, and
re-tweeted information to their customers and clients. The campaign was also covered by other news
sources such as Bicycle Paper, Bicycle Newswire, Biking Bis, Bike Radar, MTBR.com, AASHTO Journal,
and Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.
We published new blog posts on our USBRS Facebook page twice a day throughout the campaign. These
blog posts included fun and informative articles about the creation of U.S. Bicycle Route System,
profiles of USBRS advocates, and a look at other route networks around the world. They also included
campaign updates, core supporter profiles, as well as corporate supporter and media partner
profiles. Twice a week, we also published summary blog posts to the Adventure Cycling blog, our
website at www.Adventurecycling.org, and to the Adventure Cycling Facebook page.
Building relationships with donors was also an important goal of the campaign, and to facilitate
this, donors were thanked daily throughout the campaign via the platform or other means that they
used to make a donation.
We utilized many tools in communicating this campaign, including our email newsletter list (over
38,000 bicycle enthusiasts), Adventure Cycling Association’s and the U.S. Bicycle Route System’s
Facebook pages, our Twitter feeds, our web site, Adventure Cycling’s blog, and our extensive
membership email list. We also created a landing page on Adventure Cycling’s website
(www.adventurecycling.org/beapartofit) to which we could direct cycling organizations, individuals,
and others to learn how to get involved.
Constant communication, news and updates helped to keep the campaign running smoothly and kept the
excitement running at a fever pitch. The five members of the team met every day during the campaign
to troubleshoot issues, adapt the campaign as necessary and to brainstorm future plans.
Another important piece of the campaign’s success was that we chose National Bike Month (May) to
hold the fundraiser, connecting our efforts to a broader event and story.
3. Cost to develop and run the campaign
Staff time was our largest cost, with some investment in gifts for participants including two framed
U.S. Bicycle Route System posters. One corporate member (Kleen Kanteen) donated stainless steel
water bottles, which we gave to all core supporters. We spent approximately $600 on mailing water
bottles and poster framing, our only out-of-pocket expenses.
4. As a result of the campaign, we raised more than $26,000 ($6,000 more than our original goal of
$20,000), attracted new donors, re-engaged members, increased the public exposure for and interest
in the U.S. Bicycle Route System, and involved new audiences in this project.
We engaged many new donors that we would not have reached with any other type of campaign. Of those
donors whom we could identify (donors could choose to remain anonymous): 108 people were not current
Adventure Cycling members but donated a total of $3,510; many of the other identifiable donors were
current members, but they were new contributors to Adventure Cycling, resulting in 165 new
supporters donating nearly $6,000.
Furthermore, during the campaign, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation
Officials' Center for Environmental Excellence also provided Adventure Cycling $5,000 to assist
states with route selection, mapping, and the technical aspects associated with the development of a
U.S. Bicycle Route System. This was a surprise contribution and the first of its kind from AASHTO to
We garnered important media attention with our industry’s business journal, Bicycle Retailer &
Industry News, and partnered with organizations such as USA Cycling (develops and supports cycling
racing), which helped us reach large new segments of the cycling community. The campaign also helped
us to engage with cycling clubs and organizations and reengage with Adventure Cycling’s life
Long term, we expect that we’ll be able to leverage this exposure to solicit new grant monies,
more new donors, and additional support from individuals who learned about this campaign through our
blog posts, news releases, tweets, Facebook postings, and other outreach efforts during this
5. How many times per year can you execute this campaign?
We are planning to conduct this campaign once a year, during National Bike Month in May.
6. How effective was this campaign in replacing postal mailings?
The project showed us that social networking campaigns can be an effective substitute for direct
mail in reaching out to new audiences.
One of the challenges in the development of an official U.S. Bicycle Route System is reaching out to
people beyond Adventure Cycling Association’s membership. Under the “old rules” of direct
marketing, we might have spent lots of time and money buying lists and mailing paper to people to
engage them in the process and ask for donations and support. With this project, we found that using
social media and an online campaign was an effective way to meet these goals. We reduced our use of
direct mail by 100,000 pieces this fiscal year.
7. Links & Documents - Please add links or upload documents showing working examples of your
Attached are the following documents
Campaign Information & Donation Pages:
Be a Part of It - landing page: www.adventurecycling.org/beapartofit
Short landing page outlining how individuals, clubs, and others could get involved and help spread
Causes page: http://www.causes.com/causes/419721
Campaign Updates - Examples:
“Build it. Bike it. Be a part of it. -- The Kickoff!”
“We've Raised Over $21,000! Help Us Hit $26,000 by Monday, May 31”:
Round up blog post (posted to Adventure Cycling’s blog and site)
Campaign Content - Examples:
“EuroVelo: A Model for the U.S. Bicycle Route System”
“Transportation Benefits of the U.S. Bicycle Route System”
USBRS Advocate profile: “Meet Paul VandenBosch: Developing USBR 35 along Lake Michigan”
Core supporter profile: “Meet Chris Kneifl”
Corporate sponsor profile: “Renaissance Bicycles: Vintage + Modern”
Media partner profile: “Follow Your Folly! New Belgium Brewing”
U.S. BICYCLE ROUTE SYSTEM: BUILD IT. BIKE IT. BE A PART OF IT. - Grassroots fundraiser kicks off
today to raise $20,000 or more to help build the emerging U.S. Bicycle Route System
AASHTO PROVIDES $5,000 TO SUPPORT TECHNICAL WORK ON U.S. BICYCLE ROUTE SYSTEM - Funds from AASHTO's
Center for Environmental Excellence to aid in route selection, mapping, and technical aspects of
creating U.S. Bicycle Route System
ADVENTURE CYCLING AIMS FOR HIGHER FUNDRAISING GOAL FOR U.S. BICYCLE ROUTE SYSTEM - Grassroots
fundraiser generates over $21,000 in first 3 weeks — 1 week and $5K to go
ADVENTURE CYCLING CAMPAIGN RAISES OVER $24,000* FOR U.S. BICYCLE ROUTE SYSTEM - Vision of national
network and grassroots approach inspired businesses, members, and others to give and get involved
during National Bike Month
*Note: Our grand total for the campaign was higher. Once everything was calculated at the end of
June, we had raised more than $26,000.