Our purpose is to provide  free mobility, education, healthcare and opportunity to all  and Inspire  a generation    to  believe they can   do the same here and in Africa

Bicycles for Humanity empowers people in the developing world by transferring skills to them that enable them to create  opportunity for themselves.

 

 Section 2 Understanding  who  collects bikes in the  developed world

Who is collecting  bikes


Earlier we talked about the large 
numbers  of bikes that will be  coming on stream over the next  several years.   There are many reason why people in the developed world are organizing  and collecting the bikes and  many different financial models are used.  If you are looking for bikes for your community, than it is very important to understand the motivation   of those collecting bikes. In general  there are 3 types of organizations   collecting bikes.

1. There are people that want to make a 
difference   and empower others with the gift of mobility.  All of the Bicycles for  Humanity  Chapters fall into this category.  Many church’s  and other small groups wanting to make a difference do   so for the same reason. Generally do good organizations try to cover a portion of the shipping costs,  and in some cases, all of it.

2.  There are organizations 
who’s sole purpose is to collect bikes because it is  good for the environment and they see repurposing the bikes as  important to business development.  These groups are generally small NGO’s, like Bikes for the  World, who do a great job, they have a tremendous  number of  bikes and containers ready to  be delivered, but they seldom cover the shipping costs, instead leaving this to you to solve and there are many ways you can solve this, we will talk  more about this in the future.

3.  The third type is purely entrepreneurial, with so  many  bikes piling up, they see an opportunity to  collect them, and sell you a container of bikes at a marked up price, making money for themselves and hopefully it allows you  to   be able to sell a good portion to  cover the costs,
leavinga quantity of bikes for you.


If you   stand
back and look at this model, the first  group are the ones you want to work with, they are more caring, they  want to make a difference and if you can meet their needs for  accountability and help them tell your story, they will cover a good chunk of the costs.  If you cannot find an existing one, than reacing out to organizaitosn like church's or Rotary to help you as a partner is a great choice.  The program wil lbe beneficial for them as well, in that  they like you will have  gained a better understanding of the entire process.The Second group, those collecting  bikes     as  NGO,  will send you  bikes for the cost of the shipping.  Since the average bike with tax’s included might cost you $30 to $35 US landed in your country, if you can sell them   at a price that covers your shipping costs and leaves you with a profit, this can be  agreat  path to take.   The last model, the purely entrepreneurial model, means that  you will pay top price for the bikes and it will make it harder to break even and to meet the needs of your community.   Ideally, building  great relationships with    organizations who want to make a difference is your best approach.


What Donors Expect

If
you  lookingfor  a container, 500 bikes for your community,  than it is very important to  understand  whatmotivates  the  volunteers to organize.  Groups like Bicycles for Humanity and many others,  civic and church groups, schools and other civic minded groups are in it to make a difference and help others.   To  inspire them to step up and support your community, it is important that they  first and foremost understand your community so that they can organize the  bike collections and if you want them to   do it ongoing and to raise a portion of the funds, it is very important to provide them with   ongoing monthly updates of how  the bikes were used, the  difference the bikes  made in helping members of your community and what you plan on doing , going forward.  Having delivered  bicycles to Africa for 15 years, I can tell you that the  few people in Africa understand this simple   idea of accountability.  I think many in Africa    think the bikes just grow on tree’s and that everyone in the  developed  worldis  rich and that  they are there to server you.  I can assure you, this is  wrong and donors today expect accountability and    you telling the story so that they can   excitedonors  to support you and your initiative.  I have had over 400  people email me asking  me to send them bikes, with  nothought  as to what is involved or even why  I would support them, but the email keep coming. For those that grasp the  concepts in the program, and who are determined to tell  your story and be accountable, you will get a lot of support, but you have to make it happen, no one else will do it for you.  It is a lot  of work for the  groups  sending yo ute bikes and if you cannot inspire them to step  up, nothing will flow, this even goes to the groups that are NGO’s and    collectthe  bikes and you pay the shipping and the tax’s.   yes, there are a lot of bikes out there, but  it is competitive for  people’s time and if you  cannot tell the story of the need and be accountable, thani am sorry to say, nothing will happen, but if you  take the time to learn a new way of partnering a lot of good will flow to your community .


It’s
not  Easy


I know if you received a container full of 500
bikes  in your community and you are overjoyed at this incredible gift, it is important understandwhat  happenedbefore    it arrived.  You are seeing the end of the journey, many months  before a lot of hard work had to go into  getting this container to  you.

Community groups and small NGO’s
collecting  bikes, like the Bicycles for Humanity Chapters had to first organize a team to take on this project.  They then had to  post adds online snd in newspapers to  set up collection dates.  Volunteers were needed to manage the  collections  and then take the bike to a storage area.  There, another team of volunteers had to prep the bikes by taking the pedals   and the front wheel off and then loading the bike into a  shipping container.  On the financial side, they then had to raise the monies to cover the shipping, which usually involves a number of events  where the donors tell the story of the importance of bikes in Africa and where they  will  be  going and who will benefit from the bikes.  After the  money is raised, there is still all of the logistical problems to book the  transport  and manage all of the logistics. In short, it is not easy and when the  African partner  receiving the container does not  provide accountability and updates, the volunteers  here become demoralized and stop doing it.

Why Accountability is so important

The best relationships are when the team inAfrica  understands the needs of the team  in the developed world and they work together meeting each groups
needs.  This is not a one way street,  where the developed  world team just gives bikes to the Africa team with no expectations.  I can say after doing this for 15 years, that  veryfew  groups in Africa really understand  their responsibility or how the process   works, it is why I am writing this course now to help all parties build better relationships.  If you can build that bond, thanthe  people of the developed  world  will work hard to support you and your efforts,if  you do not understand their needs, and if you do not  understand that it takes work on your part, bikes will never flow to your community.  Accountability is the key