Scoot around for free

August 1, 2008

Being on sabbatical until March 2009 might seem to put me in a glass house when it comes to discussing charity and funding of worthy projects, but it actually makes me more critical of my own performance and that of others.

Just the other day I was on a scooter forum writing in a thread about fundraising and I found that a moderator had taken my discussion down. I call it a discussion, he might have called a rant. Tomato tomato (that works better in audio).

The reason he took my post down was because he thought it was flaming. I disagreed.

The comments I posted had to do with Alix Bryan and her quest to draw a peace sign all over the United States using her scooter. It’s an admirable task, but Alix had repeatedly posted requests for money and support and press all over the boards and I was fed up.

So here’s what I wrote…

Hold your horses everyone, here is a serious comment from me… Please PM me if you have comments you want to share offline. I’m sharing this here because I’m tired of being bombarded by one person’s cause.


I admire your (Alix’s) ability and drive to do this ride. But to me it’s just a ride in the name of a cause. I run a charity golf tournament and we give upwards of $80,000 to organizations that fight diseases (and hopefully find cures for) like Crohn’s Disease (which I have), cancer (both my parents have had it), Muscular Dystrophy, Alzheimers Disease and many others.

This year we were going to auction off a Genuine Scooter, too, to raise even more money. We would have purchased one and put it into the auction had one been available. Unfortunately there wasn’t one to be had.

And you know what? I didn’t approach Genuine or the dealer or the boards to get a scoot for this event. I didn’t say a word about it here because this is my cause and not one that I’m going to drag the entire scooter world into just because it involves a scooter.

The more I hear about your peace sign and your million messages and your ride on a little, eco-friendly scooter (do it on a bike and then talk to me about eco-friendly), the more I wonder why you’re so heavy-handed about the message.

You’ve got a few miles left in your journey. You’ve gotten a lot of press. And you’ve raised 1/4 of what we raise at a single golf tournament. And we do it EVERY YEAR and have done so for 24 straight years.

I bet if you used this same drive and persistence to hit corporate sponsors for a ‘new-media’ scoot around the country where you didn’t physically ride but used the Internet to do a Where’s Alix journey, you could have raised the same money, the same awareness and saved Genuine the cost of a scooter – putting another $3000 toward your cause.

The only thing I have against your cause is getting hammered with it in every other post. I even gave money to it early on.

I might be the only one saying this, but I will be happy when you’ve successfully completed your trip and we can talk about scooters again

You can make up your own mind whether I was opening a can of worms or stirring the pot or behaving properly with well-reasoned arguments and statements. But that was about all I had to say on the subject until my posts were censored.

After taking a look at Alix Bryan and the P.E.A.C.E. Scoot effort, I found that 40% of the funds she takes in go to her expenses. While it might be legal to do so, it surely isn’t ethical.

I also found that she has raised a mere $4000 so far in 2008, much less than I thought – so she’s raised 1/20th of what we raise in a single day.

Here are some screen shots of other charities and how they operate. Bear in mind they have huge operations and hundreds of employees. That makes it MORE difficult to give the majority of your money to the cause, not less difficult. With a single-person operation, close to 99.9% of the funds collected should go to the causes being supported. The last screen shot is of Alix Bryan’s quasi charity.

Pretty admirable giving 94% of your funds to the programs they’re supposed to support. Kinda beats the 50% Alix claims she’s giving.

Eh, 91.6% isn’t too shabby. Only beats the 50% of P.E.A.C.E. Scooter by 41.6%. WOW!

Even the United Way – an oft maligned group that spends a lot of money on administrative expenses – doesn’t come close to Alix’s 40% price tag on her expenses. Wonder if anyone from the feds will audit the charity when it’s complete. Record-keeping is pretty important.

Oh, and here’s a screen shot of Alix’s fundraising efforts. Current as of August 1, 2008…only about half a month left on the scoot around the nation. Better hurry and raise some money.

Photos are worth lots and lots of words.

What’s this mean to anyone with a brain? Well, it probably means that you shouldn’t give a dime to Alix. It also means you should be very careful about where you send your donations because you never know if you’re going to get your money’s worth. And it also means that in this age of new media and instant information exchange, you should be very careful about what you’re trying to hide.

I’d love to have people pay me to scoot around the United States for free too. But if I decide to do so I’m not going to do it in the guise of a charitable journey.

More to come…