Getting Started

Set a goal that is a challenge, but feels doable:

Consider the minimum and what you have raised in the past. If this is your first time doing a charity fund-raising event, talk to others you know who have raised funds. Contact the MR 3 office (Andi: 555-555-5555 or Robbie: 555-555-5555) and seek technical assistance (how to make an on-line fundraising page, mail merge a letter, etc.) and support. Pick a number that is a stretch, and then make a plan to achieve it. Deadline to hand in funds raised is: July 23, 2004.

Consider how you will achieve your goal:

Perhaps you will write a letter to everyone you know; plan and conduct an event (garage sale, other fundraiser); talk to members at your place of worship, hold a house party; work to get businesses you use to sponsor you; make something that you can sell (craft, T-shirts) and/or sell raffle tickets. Riders have done all of the above and been successful in reaching and often exceeding their goals. Most people have found writing a compelling letter to be one good way to raise funds, asking everyone you can think of—friends, family, co-workers, and everyone in your path—to sponsor you. Some have had success asking friends to share the letter with others. People have used email or regular mail. In many communities the church or synagogue is a focal point for fundraising. Also, carry your Sponsor Forms with you and make a point of telling people you meet about what you are doing and why. Many people will ask if you are accepting sponsors!! You don’t want to lose those moments of opportunity.

Share your enthusiasm

The more you convey your reasons for riding and your genuine enthusiasm for what you are doing, the more successful your fundraising will be. Don’t be afraid to tell your story—what about this is compelling you to train and participate? What does this Ride mean to you personally? It is a major commitment and sharing your reasons and heartfelt motivation will inspire others.

Composing your letter:

To help you get started we have a few sample letters that have been used effectively by riders in past AIDS Rides. In short the letter should:

          -Tell why you are riding

          -Share convincing statistics about the current AIDS crisis

-Give details about the organizations that will benefit from the funds and what the funds will mean to the organizations, or allow them to do in quantifiable terms—the more specific the better

          -Ask people for support directly and with a time deadline               -Thank them for supporting you

          -Be personal and in your own voice

Develop a list:

In most cases, quality is more important than quantity. This is not true in this case. Mail to everyone and anyone you can possibly think of.

Do not limit yourself to this network shown above. Think of everyone you know. Look through your checkbook and identify the people and places where you regularly spend money or have spent a large amount of money in the past. If you send holiday cards, use that list. Even after you have mailed your list, keep your eyes open for other people who cross your path that you had not thought of and send them a letter. Here is a list of people that you may not have considered:

• Co-workers of your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse/partner

• Parents of your kids’ friends

• Neighbors

• Landlord

• People in the office building where you work

• Doctor

• Dentist

• Chiropractor

• Accountant

• Lawyer

• Banker/teller

• Mortgage broker

• Cleaner

• Travel agent

• Hair stylist

• Manicurist

• Masseur

• Health club operator

• Personal Trainer

• Video rental store employees

Making the ASK:

Many people that have been fundraising for AIDS through bike rides have learned an important lesson—don’t sell the giver short. In other words, you never know how much someone will donate, or why. It isn’t about how much money they make or have; it is really about their individual philosophy of giving and which causes they think are important. Some of your larger donors may surprise you. So ask people to consider how much you will train for this, what a significant commitment you will make, and ask them to think about that when making their donation. If you are asking someone in person, ask for more than you think might be possible, not less. Have them consider making a donation over a period of time via credit card. They will decide what they can or want to give you. Don’t be afraid to look someone in the eye and ask for the Cause. You are not asking for you, it is for the work of the benefiting agencies. Remember, you’ll never know until you ask.

Using the Web to raise funds via

Creating your own on-line fundraising page has never been easier. You can write a powerful email letter to the folks you wish to solicit, and explain to them exactly how they can make a donation on-line. It is easy and allows them to see how much you have raised and to get instant feedback. Even if you are not computer savvy, you can do it!! You will be glad you did.


About the Beneficiaries:

Each of the organizations has a specific mission and service area. Some of your donors will be particularly interested in one or two organizations, perhaps because of the population served, or because of the geography of the organization. You will have to consider this as you write your letter. We suggest that you stress the collaboration, and the idea that these organizations are banding together to take a proactive approach to the decreasing funds for their services. The investment in this Ride is an investment in a new funding stream for these organizations at a critical time. It is one example of how they are taking charge of their own organizational future.

Our website has short blurbs about each of the 18 collaborating organizations. The facts about HIV/AIDS are grim, and not improving. Using the state and national statistics to paint a picture of the major issues and why they motivate you to ride is key; telling the potential donor how the benefiting organizations are addressing this health crisis is the other half of the pitch.

Some Facts about HIV/AIDS:

RIDE WITH US because HIV/AIDS doesn’t see race, color, age, sex or disability. Only opportunity.

Of the 20,000 people in Massachusetts infected with HIV, 1 in 3 don't know it

African-Americans and Latinos make up 50 percent of people living with AIDS in Massachusetts but only 12 percent of the state's population.

The HIV infection rate among 13 to 24 year olds in Massachusetts has risen 43 percent in three years.

Women account for nearly one-third of people living with HIV/AIDS in Massachusetts .  This is almost double the percentage of 10 years ago.

The city of Boston has the largest concentration of AIDS cases in the state, but 63 percent of people living with AIDS in Massachusetts reside outside Boston .

Handling Donations

Thank your donors and stay in touch:

Be sure to send a good thank you letter when a donation is received. Monitor who has responded and after a significant time, don’t be afraid to send a second request. This time you can tell them how much more funds you need to achieve your goal, and perhaps a bit more specifics about the beneficiary organizations.

Communicate after the Ride:

After the ride, it is critical to thank all of your donors and share the experience with them. One long-time rider reports that every year many of her donors make a point of actually thanking her for the detailed letter about the ride and sharing what the experience meant to her personally. This step allows them to experience the event with you and to feel like they have participated in something important. Even if you thanked them at the point of their donation a few months earlier, take the time to do this. You will leave them ready to donate to you and your Cause again in the future.

Some other Logistics:

You may have your donors return all Sponsor Forms and checks to you directly, so that you can keep a list of donors, and then batch and send them along to us. Or you may have them send them directly to the Mass Red Ribbon Ride office at AIDS Action and we will periodically update you on your results. The former takes a bit more work and organization on your part, but gives you direct info about who is donating and lets you see first hand the little notes they might write back to you. The direct to Mass Red Ribbon Ride method will be easier for you, but will not allow you to have as much current info—since we are supporting many riders. Many who use the mail also include a self-addressed or Mass Red Ribbon Ride addressed envelope to make it that much easier for your donors. The easier you make the donation process, the more quickly the money will come.

In an unprecedented collaboration, 18 AIDS organizations are working together on this joint effort to raise funds and visibility for HIV/AIDS. It is hoped that as the organizations come together on the Ride, they will find many other ways to work in unison. The Mass Red Ribbon Ride represents the essence of a collaborative endeavor—doing together what no one organization can accomplish alone.

Collaborating agencies that are being supported by this Ride include:

AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts

Founded in 1983, AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts is a not-for-profit, community-based health organization whose mission is to stop the HIV/AIDS epidemic by preventing new infections and optimizing the health of those already infected. AIDS Action seeks to assist and constructively work with people of all cultures by providing services, education, advocacy and prevention. Funds from the Mass Red Ribbon Ride will strengthen AIDS Action’s advocacy, prevention and client services programs. For more information, visit

AIDS CARE/Hampshire County Founded in 1991, AIDS CARE/Hampshire County has been providing Confidential and Comprehensive Support Services to People Living with HIV/AIDS throughout Hampshire County (in western Massachusetts) using a harm reduction philosophy for over 12 years. We cover a large and diverse geographic area comprised of key urban centers as well as rural hilltown communities. Anyone living with HIV or AIDS in Hampshire County is eligible for services regardless of level of need, health status, or ability to pay. Our services are free of charge to people living with HIV.

We provide Case Management , Housing Advocacy & Rental Subsidies , a weekly Support Group, assistance accessing Over-the-Counter Medications including vitamins and nutritional supplements, Buddy Volunteers to provide caring, non-judgmental Emotional & Practical Support on a regular basis, Bridge Volunteers to provide rides to doctor appointments, grocery shopping as well as help out with errands. Emergency Food assistance, a Garden Project , Child Care assistance, Homemaker Services, HIV education for families and caregivers, as well as a Community Newsletter to keep consumers, volunteers and supporters informed about our work and issues affecting people living with HIV/AIDS in Hampshire County. For more information, visit

AIDS Project Worcester

Established in 1987, AIDS Project Worcester, Inc. (APW) is a not-for-profit corporation acting as the primary and most comprehensive AIDS Service Organization (ASO) in Central Massachusetts . As the second largest ASO in New England , we have offices located in Worcester , Southbridge and Leominster and address the needs of our 1,300 clients in 68 different cities and towns.

For those infected with HIV/AIDS, we provide mental health counseling, case management services, a nutrition program, support groups, alternative therapies, and housing and transportation assistance. For those unsure of their status or their level of risk , we offer comprehensive counseling and testing services. For those at risk of infection , we provide education programs, outreach efforts and behaviour counseling to help people identify and avoid the risk factors that lead to new infections. We know that behaviour choices are influenced by environment and experiences, so we’ve especially targeted youth at risk , engaging them in enrichment programs and other positive social outlets. For more information, visit

American Red Cross Berkshire County Chapter was chartered and providing community services since 1895. In keeping with the National Mission to “…provide relief to victims of disasters and help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies” the Berkshire Chapter of The American Red Cross identified HIV/AIDS as a public emergency in 1986 and responded by providing prevention education services. Educational services was followed soon after with client services for people living with HIV/AIDS in the county. Services include Case Management, medical and financial advocacy, nutritional support, transportation and emergency assistance. For more information, visit

Boston AIDS Consortium (BAC), founded in 1988, is a non-profit community-based organization dedicated to improving the lives of all people living with HIV/AIDS and those at risk. We accomplish this by providing community planning and support, technical assistance, capacity development, and education and advocacy services to HIV/AIDS service providers and consumers throughout Massachusetts . All funds from the Red Ribbon Ride will be used to support and strengthen education and advocacy programs to help respond to new or emerging trends/challenges in our communities. For more information, visit

Boston Living Center (BLC) is a non-profit, community resource center with a mission to foster the wellness of all HIV positive people and respond to the changing needs of the HIV/AIDS community. The BLC is a diverse and vibrant community composed of HIV-positive individuals from varied backgrounds. With an annual membership of over 2,200 individuals from throughout eastern Massachusetts the BLC is the largest organization of its kind in New England providing a variety of resources, including Nutrition, Wellness, and Education programs in addition to support services free of charge . For more information, visit

Cambridge Cares About AIDS

The mission of Cambridge Cares About AIDS, Inc. (CCA) is to prevent further HIV infection through outreach and education, to provide quality care and services to people living with HIV/AIDS, and to combat societal stigmas imposed on our client populations. CCA provides direct services to people living with HIV/AIDS in the metropolitan Boston and Cambridge areas, and conducts outreach and harm reduction activities geared towards the most at-risk populations in our community. Funds from the Mass Red Ribbon Ride will be used to support the services we provide. For more information, visit

Center for Community Health, Education and Research

(CCHER) is a not-for-profit, community-based organization located in the Codman Square area of Dorchester . It was established in 1987 to address the changing health care needs of the Haitian community. To that end, CCHER provides HIV case management and a wide array of supportive services that includes, peer support, housing, home delivery meals, mental health, prevention & education. All of our services are culturally and linguistically appropriate. Yearly, CCHER serves about 219 clients, advocating on their behalf, linking them to appropriate health services, educating them about their illness, empowering them, providing home visits, hospital visits, support and interpretation when needed. While many of our consumers live in the Mattapan and Dorchester area, others live in communities outside of Boston including Brockton , Cambridge , Somerville and Everett . For more information, visit

Community Research Initiative (CRI) is the only independent, nonprofit community based organization in New England solely dedicated to HIV clinical research, treatment education, and financial assistance for approved drug treatments and health insurance coverage. Working to improve the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS for over 15 years, CRI’s Boston, Springfield and Provincetown sites have participated in some of the most promising HIV medication research being conducted in the world. Through its continued outreach efforts, CRI provides the latest critical treatment information to all people living with HIV/AIDS including women, people of color and others who have been traditionally underserved. CRI has produced critical research and drug testing data that has contributed to the FDA approval of nearly half the currently available HIV treatments. With its ongoing commitment to reach the state’s most needy individuals, CRI delivers immediate access to life-saving drugs, health insurance and education programs through its management of the Massachusetts HIV Drug Assistance Program (HDAP). For more information, visit

Community Servings is Massachusetts’ only home-delivered meals program for the growing number of individuals and families ill with HIV/AIDS in our community. Each day they deliver free, nutritious and exceptionally prepared meals from their Roxbury kitchen to 650 men, women, and children, who are too sick to shop or cook for themselves. These calorie-packed and nutritionally potent meals are carefully tailored to meet the specific dietary needs of people ill with HIV/AIDS. Community Servings’ committed staff and volunteers reach out to help Greater Boston’s most historically under-served populations. To meet the growing demand on their program, they recently expanded their service area from four to fourteen cities and towns throughout Greater Boston. Join them in their mission to “ Let no one living with AIDS go hungry.” V isit for more information .

Friends of the Shattuck Shelter

The Friends of the Shattuck Shelter is a non-profit homeless service provider offering a continuum of services including HIV prevention & training, HIV counseling, testing and support, emergency shelter, street outreach, substance abuse treatment, housing, employment, legal & immigration support. Men and women who are homeless are at increased risk for HIV due to behaviors and circumstances associated with homelessness such as poverty, inequities in mental and physical healthcare, substance abuse and mental illness. The Friends of the Shattuck Shelter’s HIV programming reaches men and women when it counts. Your donation is greatly appreciated. For more information visit

JRI Health

Since 1991, JRI Health has been creating and administering an array of programs that offer a comprehensive circle of care, including medical health, mental health, peer support, substance abuse and housing services to individuals, families and communities in need. JRI Health has always had a specific focus on services for people with HIV/AIDS. Last year, we provided an array of services to over 800 people living with HIV/AIDS. For more information, visit

Junior Chamber Family AIDS Network is a national organization meeting the needs of children, youth and families affected by HIV/AIDS. Originally founded to address pediatric AIDS, the JCFA Network has expanded its mission and services to reflect the changing needs of the epidemic. Recognizing the steep decline in HIV positive births but dramatic increase in infection among women, the Network moved to “family-centered” services and developed a national HIV/AIDS prevention program called ‘My Life’. The JCFA Network has Affiliates in five states with a sixth affiliate under development in Massachusetts .

Proceeds from the Mass Red Ribbon Ride will help fund the ‘My Life’ prevention program, a comprehensive and balanced approach to reducing the risk of HIV in teens and young adults. For more information, visit

Multicultural AIDS Coalition Formed in 1988, the Multicultural AIDS Coalition mobilizes communities of color to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. MAC works to ensure high quality, accessible prevention and treatment services for people living with HIV, at high risk for becoming infected, or closely affected by the disease. For more information, visit

New England AIDS Education and Training Center

(NEAETC), established in 1998, is one of 11 regional education centers, and four national centers, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and sponsored regionally by the Office of Community Programs at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. NEAETC’s goal is to educate and train health care providers to effectively counsel, diagnose, treat and manage individuals living with HIV disease, as well as assist in prevention efforts. The project serves Massachusetts , Rhode Island , Connecticut , New Hampshire , Vermont and Maine . NEAETC offers programs in collaboration with community health centers, Ryan White-affiliates, hospitals and medical centers, state and local health departments, professional medical associations, AIDS service organizations, medical and osteopathic schools and other community agencies. For more information, visit

Tapestry Health

is a leader in providing cutting edge public health interventions, high quality and caring health services, and advocacy for those who are disenfranchised and underserved. Tapestry Health serves more than 50,000 clients at 18 different sites throughout western Massachusetts . Many of them rely on Tapestry Health for HIV/AIDS Services, including HIV counseling and testing, programs for HIV positive individuals, harm reduction services and needle exchange, as well as outreach and prevention education. Tapestry Health also provides case management, housing support and assistance with health/medical benefits to those persons living with HIV/AIDS. Since 1973, Tapestry Health has remained independent, rooted in local communities, and committed to providing quality care for everyone. For more information, visit

Treatment on Demand (TOD), now celebrating its 15 th anniversary, sees the close connection between substance abuse and HIV/AIDS and works to eradicate the spread of HIV/AIDS in low-income, high-risk communities of active injection drug-users and their drug-using and sexual partners; youth; people in recovery; and women. TOD also works toward affecting change regarding drug and HIV/AIDS policies. Its mission states: TOD “believes in the possibility and necessity of overcoming addiction and AIDS, based on the essential worth of all human beings. Our society perpetuates poverty, oppression, and the lack of hope for a better life, which are the root causes of substance abuse and AIDS. Low income and oppressed communities bear the brunt of these “twin epidemics.” We strive to organize these communities to change the political and economic system to one that meets the needs of the people.” For more information, visit (temporarily unavailable).

Victory Programs

Throughout its 29 year history, Victory Programs has been restoring the lives of Massachusetts residents who are addicted to drugs and alcohol, many of whom have psychiatric or medical problems including HIV and AIDS. Victory Programs remains committed to the successful reintegration of individuals, regardless of race or sexual orientation, into their communities through its treatment facilities. Housing, holistic healthcare, employment and community affiliations, combined with a caring program staff have made Victory Programs an enduring and successful model, serving 1,200 individuals and families annually. For more information, visit

Together these agencies represent organizations throughout Massachusetts providing essential services to those with HIV/AIDS and working tirelessly on prevention. They provide: health care; education; housing/legal assistance; research and clinical trials; meals and social support; counseling and family- oriented services to name a few. Many are also involved in essential advocacy and policy efforts on current issues such as passing the statewide needle exchange legislation or increasing funds for HIV/AIDS services. Providing support and training to medical practitioners, as well as reaching out to vulnerable populations such as our youth and communities of color are also key activities.

It is true —one doesn’t often hear about someone dying of AIDS anymore. Hard won advances in treatment for HIV mean people who learn they are positive are living longer, healthier lives.

However, living with HIV is no picnic and the medications that help control it are expensive, often have serious side effects and don’t work for everyone. New HIV infections continue at the rate of 2 to 4 every day in Massachusetts, and HIV diagnoses among young people 13 to 24 years old are on the rise, now accounting for nearly 10 percent of new infections in Massachusetts.

Women of color, gay and bisexual men and people over 50 are also seeing rising infections.

A full array of services is needed both to care for those who are living with HIV and to prevent new infections in those who are at risk.

This is why we need your support. Monies raised by the Mass Red Ribbon Ride will help fund the work of 18 different AIDS organizations serving communities around the state. Your efforts will contribute to such services as:

Prevention education

Research and clinical trials


Medical Support


Counseling and other social services

Meals and nutrition support

Holistic health services

Safe socializing environments

Vocational counseling and training

Case Management

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