Teams are a great way to involve family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers in the journey to end multiple sclerosis. The program is also an effective and efficient method for companies and organizations to promote teamwork among employees.
We developed a team program for Bike MS focusing on the camaraderie, sense of pride, and collaborative effort that only comes from being part of a team. We provide materials, incentives and staff to help you form and motivate a team. All you need to do to form a team is to recruit teammates who want to join in the movement toward a world free of MS.
It only takes one person to inspire hundreds - this is the idea behind the Bike MS Team Program. Find the leader in you by becoming a team captain today!
Follow the links below to learn ways to build a team that will help move us toward a world free of MS.
First Gear: Register and Recruit
Creating a team is as easy as 1-2-3!
- Choose a team name and a team captain, then register.
- Recruit and register any number of other team members.
- Raise money, motivate your team, and have fun!
Once you’ve registered yourself and your team, it’s time to recruit. Here’s a checklist of recruitment tactics to help you build your team:
- Create and customize your online team page.
- Make a list of potential team members and invite each of them to join you.
- Set a date for a team recruitment event (BBQ, happy hour, informal lunch gathering in a company conference room). Ask team members to invite their friends, family and/or co-workers to attend.
- Invite Bike MS staff to do a Lunch and Learn for colleagues to learn about MS and Bike MS: Ride the Vortex. Offer incentives to attend.
- Publicize your team by posting Bike MS brochures, flyers, and posters at your office, place of worship, businesses you frequent and in your neighborhood. Request brochures and posters at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Ask the president of your company to endorse your team, either through a letter to staff or in a write-up in the company newsletter. Why not ask him or her to join the team and ride too?
- Thank each person who has joined your team and encourage them to invite at least one family member, co-worker, or friend to join your team.
Second Gear: Fundraise
As a team captain, it’s up to you to set your team’s fundraising goal. In 2013, the average Bike MS: Ride the Vortex team member raised $650. Start there, and then push further!
Following is a checklist to assist you and your team to reach (and surpass!) your fundraising goal.
Talk to your team.
- Set a team fundraising goal and communicate with your team on a regular basis (weekly, bi-weekly, etc.) to keep them aware of the team’s progress and any other important fundraising information (competitions, deadlines, etc.).
- Remind all your team members that each of them is required to raise at least $250 to participate.
- Make a list of possible team fundraisers, and pick a date for one of these events to take place.
Spread the word to family and friends:
- Use your personal Account to send “sponsor me” emails to your family, friends, co-workers, and other contacts, asking for their support of your team. Encourage your team to do the same.
- Include your fundraising goal on your Facebook page.
- Send out a reminder email/letter to those who have not sponsored you yet, updating them on your fundraising progress and reminding them of how much more you need to reach your goal.
- Check out additional tips on the Fundraising page.
Enlist company support:
- Check to see if your company has a matching gift program.
- Remind your company that Bike MS: Ride the Vortex ride participation is a great way to get the name and brand of your company in front of over 1,000 receptive customers.
- Ask your company to help pay for team jerseys, host a fundraising day, or even sponsor your team tent!
- Talk to your HR or Community Relations department for recruiting assistance.
- Include an article on your team in the company newsletter. List your current team members and include your contact information.
Let the National MS Society help:
- Schedule a visit from a National MS Society Team Program staff member to speak with potential team members at your company, class, or meeting place.
- Request posters, brochures, or videos to help get the word out.
- Join the Team Mentor program and get tips from veteran captains.
Remember to track your donations and thank your sponsors!
Third Gear: Motivate
You’ve set a fundraising goal, but how do you encourage your team members to reach it? Here are some tips for motivating your team:
- Create challenges within your team to drive fundraising efforts. This could include Top Fundraiser Award or the First to raise $550 Prize, or Best Recruiter (Team Member who brought the most new members to the team), etc. Ask local businesses that you frequent to donate prizes or gift certificates that can be used to motivate your team.
- Let your team members and donors know how their donations are used so they understand how valuable their fundraising dollars are to people living with MS. Find out about the programs and services funded by Bike MS, and about research into the cause and a cure, at http://www.nationalmssociety.org/aza/.
- Share the “Where the Money Goes” web page.
- Use your Team Captain’s Account to monitor your team members’ fundraising progress.
- Congratulate those that are doing exceptionally well by sending them a personal email and highlighting their successes in a team email. Offer your support to those who may need other techniques of strategies to increase their pledges.
- Email weekly/biweekly updates to your team members. For example, “As of today, we need $500 more to reach our goal!”
- Ensure that everyone on the team has a reason for riding.
- Encourage team members to read emails and event newsletters.
- Make a team banner.
- Set a goal to be an Elite Team in 2014.
- Select and order team apparel such as jerseys or t-shirts, knowing that this is the visible form of team identity at the event. Considered asking a company (or others) to sponsor these items, as this is a great opportunity for promotion within the community.
Fourth Gear: Training
Once your team has formed and is busy fundraising, the next step is to prepare for the ride. Whether you are riding 30 or 150 miles, plan on spending some quality time with your bicycle, training your body for the challenge.
The more you ride before Bike MS: Ride the Vortex, the better experience you will have. The checklist below will assist you and your team for the ride.
- In your emails and phone calls to team members, encourage them to start training.
- Share the link to the Ride the Vortex Safety & Training Resources webpage with everyone on your team.
- Lead by example and share your progress as you train for this year’s Ride the Vortex.
- Call your teammates and remind them to come to the event!
Fifth Gear: Organize
Take time to prepare for the weekend of the event. This checklist will assist you in organizing your team so that each member has a positive experience and a great ride!
- Remind team members that they each need to raise $250 in order to ride.
- Remind your team members to mail in or bring their pledges to the event. (Include rider name and numbers on each check!) Each team member needs to raise at least $250 in order to ride.
- Encourage your team members to participate in Bike MS fundraising challenges to win great prizes and raise more money for your team. Watch your email for dates and details.
- Organize training rides and safety sessions so that your team members are prepared for ride day.
1-2 Weeks Prior to Event
- Make sure everyone checks in at the pre-ride check-in events.
- Remind the team to wear your team apparel, if applicable.
- Check the status of each team member’s fundraising and suggest an email or letter to be sent to all prospective sponsors that have not yet supported the team.
- Choose a time for your team’s picture to be taken.
- Ask your team to check the event website for day of information.
- If you have a Team Tent, get ready to party in style. Encourage team members to talk to area businesses about sponsoring your Team Tent and providing give-aways, food, beverages, or other things that will make your tent great.
Day of Event
- Set a meeting place and time at the Start/Finish locations, perhaps a landmark that will be easy for each team member to find.
- Make sure all team members have checked in properly and have their bibs, bike tags, helmet stickers and are ready to begin the ride.
- Make sure everyone has a route map.
- Communicate meeting times, locations, and photo times to your team, and answer any last minute questions.
- Encourage team members to carpool to the event, and remind them to dress for all weather. We will ride, rain or shine!
- Find a fun way to bring team flair and distinction at the event. Your team deserves to be recognized, so consider noisemakers, crazy hats, costumes, team t-shirts or orange hair for the day of the ride to get the attention your teamwork deserves.
- Contact all your team members to congratulate them on a job well done!
- Remind team members that the fundraising deadline is July 18, 2014 and encourage them to continue fundraising to get your team to a higher ranking!
Sixth Gear: Celebrate
As the Bike MS: Ride the Vortex weekend approaches, celebrate your team’s efforts over the past months. Consider these last minute details that will make your team members’ excited for the upcoming event.
- To motivate:
- Distribute team apparel prior to the event, to build excitement.
- Make a sign for your team photo (could include team name, motto, or a sample check that reflects your fundraising total)
- Send an email to your team to 1) congratulate them on how close the team is to reaching its fundraising goal and 2) express your excitement that Bike MS is approaching!
- Plan a team party, either before or after the event, to celebrate everyone’s efforts. Remember to consider how this can best be used to encourage your team members to return next year.
- Plan a way to celebrate your team reaching its fundraising goal!
Seventh Gear: Share and Inform
All of your efforts have come together Bike MS and your team’s efforts were a success! Share your success and stories with teammates and members of your community who have sponsored you.
- Share your success stories with team members, family, friends, businesses, and others who have sponsored your team.
- If your team name and fundraising total are listed on the Bike MS: Waves to Wine website, share the link with others.
- Send out an email recognizing the Top Fundraisers for the team and ask those participants to share how they did it.
Eighth Gear: Ride!