Skip to main content

What Have Bicycles Got to Do with It?

What Have Bicycles Got to Do with It?

Bicycles? In a journal about volunteering? Of course! As pedal-powered transportation continues to gain popularity in urban centers throughout the world, long-distance cyclist Tristan Dahn (who also happens to be on the Energize, Inc. staff) takes a look at the many volunteer activities surrounding this two-wheeled trend. While all are interesting as projects, some activities have elements applicable to any sort of volunteer management. For instance, how can your organization benefit from the outreach strategies used by “bicycle ambassador” programs? Might your organization engage with a broad cross-section of your community the way that many volunteer-led bicycle safety, instruction and maintenance programs do? In this Along the Web, Dahn connects the two-wheeler to the world of volunteering. 

To read the full article

Thu, 03/07/2013
Thanks for the great article, Tristan. I was inspired to look up my local bike collective here in Milwaukee (being new to the area. The Milwaukee Bicycle Collective has a neat initiative to get urban kids riding. Kids 6 and under can come by the Collective to obtain a free bicycle (with permission of parents/guardians of course). To support this program, they ask volunteers for a variety of to kids, fix things (like bikes), donate old bikes, clean the shop, serve on the board. From a volunteer management perspective, I though it was interesting that the Collective took it upon themselves to create "levels" of volunteering: Volunteer: A volunteer is just somebody who stops in whenever they please and doesn't commit to anything specific. Dedicated Volunteer: A dedicated volunteer is somebody who commits to showing up twice a month to put in 6 hours total of volunteer time. A dedicated volunteer is someone we can trust to show up in a reliable fashion. Keyholder: A Keyholder is a person who wants to help open the shop. Keyholders are given a key to open the shop and run nights on whatever schedule works best for them. The keyholder position can be acquired after becoming a dedicated volunteer. Board Member: Board Members must be active in the Bike Collective for at least 1 year and must be voted in through a yearly collective vote. Board members are expected to show up to all quartly board member meetings. Some might argue that the first definition of straightforward "volunteers" could be degrading to the term "volunteers" in general. But to me, this looks like a succession plan to keep the collective going for years to come.

Mon, 03/11/2013

I'm excited to share that I was interviewed for a recent episode of the Nonprofit Spark podcast about this article.  In the interview, host Renee McGivern and I discuss this article in depth and explore the ways in which these initiatives can help you frame new ideas for your organization.  If you'd like to listen to the podcast you can do here:

Hope you enjoy it!



Wed, 03/27/2013
Great article. Over the past few years, we've been able to build a committed,talented and inter-gnerational team of volunteers for our Bike Works programs here at Evergreen Brick Works: Bike Works Community Builders! They do all sorts of things through our bike hubwhich: fixes/maintains bikes, offers bike clinics in the community, leads trail rides, supports DIY bike hubs and spreads the word about sustainable transportation. By being part of this team, you’ll be helping Torontonians of all ages to connect with our parks and ravines on two wheels—or even three! Find out more: