The CounterBalance Project

Hey guys,

We’re really happy to tell you that our CounterBalance website dedicated to the Freedom Revolution Tour is up and rolling. Johnny Cronje, Alan Read and Donna Kisogloo are riding 2,500km off-road from Durban to Cape Town for 46 days from November 26 and our site will tell you everything you will want to know about our epic adventure. The trip is is the result of the KH Evolution of Balance Award given this year to the group.

“SA-positive” blogger Fred Hatman, who is also the support driver for the ride, will be blogging about the tour and constantly updating on Facebook | The CounterBalance Project, YouTube - CounterBalanceSA and TheCBProject on Twitter

Pop over to the website and interact with the group as they prepare for the mother of all unicycle rides… and please follow them on the various social media to keep updated on new blogposts, images and video.

They’ll be really grateful to get your support as they test themselves and their unis against the rugged terrain of South Africa… all in aid of Bob Skinstad’s Bobs For Good Foundation which is committed to providing rural children with decent school shoes! They are proud to be doing their ride for such a phenomenal cause!

PS: They need hefty sponsorship to make their ride happen. If you would like to donate, there is a “Donate” page on the new website where you can contribute. We’d be totally chuffed if you can help us get going! Once the tour expenses are met, all surplus money will be given to Bobs For Good to buy shoes for the kids.

Cheers
Brent
(DesignGuruGuy and Trustee on the CounterBalance Trust)

Hi Guys.

We recently received our first non-South African donation (from the USA). Thank you, thank you! Thanks also to all who have visited the CounterBalance website and have joined us on Facebook. We are starting to target corporate sponsors this coming week in the hope of securing all the money needed to finanace the tour. Then, EVERYTHING goes to putting shoes on childrens feet!

In South Africa, over 7 MILLION children do not have school shoes! Kids are often walking many miles just to get to school from home. These kids are trying so hard to get an education that they are willing to walk over 8kms EACH WAY in the heat of summer and the cold of winter. This is offroad (thorny, sharp stones, dirty), or on tar (which can melt in summer in some areas fue to the heat) or on footpaths (we might consider it good singletrack). In spite of the frank practicality of shoes in protecting feet, shoes are also symbolic of pride and self esteem in Africa. All of this contributes to a healthier learning environment for children, and sets up a strong, grassroots foundation for social and economical development.

If that sounds too much like your typical street-fundraisers well rehearsed patter, consider this: US$17 will buy a pair of good quality school shoes, that will protect a childs feet and help them study hard at school. He or she will then be able to get a job one day, have enough money to buy a unicycle, and then South Africa will be able to host a UNICON because there will be so many awesome unicyclists here! How cool would an African UNICON be? I don’t think there has ever been a unihoki game supported by Vuvuzelas!

Please support what Team Counterbalance is trying to acheive. Be it through advice, motivation, financial donation, or even joining our facebook group and checking out our site. The more hits we have, the better position we are in to motivate for corporate sponsorship.

I’ll step off my soap box now. Thanks for reading!

Injuries do happen

It is with much dissappointment that I post bad news here. Donna, the lady in our Trio of riders, fell during a training ride and has dislocated her elbow. You can follow the story and see the x-rays on the CounterBalance Blog.

We are not yet sure about the implications that this injury will have on her participation in the Tour. Tomorrow (Wednesday) Donna visits the surgeon, who will hopefully be able to give us some clarity.

Please put out some positive vibes for Donna’s speedy recovery! The Tour will not be the same without her!

Hi guys,

I hope Donna gets the ok from the surgeon to take part in this event. It sounds like a great ride and experience for you all. I do have an issue with your fundraising method though. For me, organising a charity ride means that you yourself have to sacrifice something to make it happen. Getting other people to pay for your event, and only then passing excess funds on to the charity you are spruiking it as a fundraiser for is not ideal. Sure you guys are exerting yourselves etc on the ride, but you all obviously love unicycling and i doubt as many people will donate as individuals if they think they are paying for your next adventure holiday.

I have a bit of experience in this field. I organised my own charity fundraiser for a childrens charity in Afghanistan in mid 2008 where i rode my unicycle 2000km in 28 days from Canberra through Melbourne to Adelaide. All individual donations went straight to the charity so they had piece of mind what was happening with their money. On the road people helped me out and if they wanted they could support my trip (and they knew they were doing so) by buying me meals, paying for accommodation, letting me sleep on their floor etc.

By all means use your targeted corporate sponsorship to help subsidise the trip for you- you can make it worth their while with logo space on your support car, jerseys, advertisement on your website etc. But for individual donations i think they should go straight to the charity you are doing this in aid of.

best of luck, I hope it all goes well and you have a blast!
Mark

i agree with napalm; the point of fundraisers si to immediately raise funds, not use whatever is leftover from your vacation. and tell donna to get well soon

Hi Napalm and unireed

Thank you for your well wishes for Donna, and thank you so much for your advice on the issue of money for the tour. This is the first time we have had to steer a fundraising campaign, and we really appreciate you sharing your experience with us. This is just the first of MANY adventures we plan on doing now that the CounterBalance trust has been set up.

We have discussed the topic of raising money in depth amongst ourselves (as unicyclists) and also with the Bob’s for Good Foundation (our beneficiary). Our thinking is this: Without money, the ride will not happen. Alan, Donna and myself cannot afford to pay for it, inspite of doing our utmost to cut down on expenses:( If the ride doesn’t happen, then Bobs for Good will not be able to use it to raise money. This tour is, in a sense, a marketing campaign for the charity, who will approach corporate sponsors to fund the purchase and delivery of shoes.

Using this way of thinking, we feel that we can ultimately raise more money for the charity itself by factoring our expenses into our funsraising ventures to mak the trip actually happen. It is almost the reversal of what you suggest, with corporates subsidising our expenses: We are targeting corporates (where the most money is) to give it to charity, and we are asking individuals to help us pay for the trip. We are putting a lot of our personal resources and money into this out of choice because, as you rightly say, we love unicycling! We also love our country, and want to use our personal resources and skills in a way that will have the biggest, most economical impact.

We, and Bob’s for Good who have experience in the field of fundraising, both agree that this is the best way to go about it. We also agree that it is not the only way to go about it, and we need to be completely transparent with how we will be using the funds that we raise. You are right that there will be people who will not donate to us based on this, and this is perhaps where we have made a mistake. Without people like you guys sharing your thoughts with us, we would have missed out on a lot of potential donations, so thank you for speaking up!

What we are going to do now is add a link to the Bob’s for Good Foundation’s donations page on their website to the “donate page” on our website. We will give people an option to either donate to CounterBalance Trust, where the momeny will help us with the expenses of the trip and excess going to charity, OR to donate directly to the Bob’s for Good Foundation where the money will go directly to buying shoes. That way, there is certainty of where the donations are going. What do you think of this?

I’ll also type up a blogpost for the front page of the CounterBalance website to let people know that they can donate either to the trip expenses, or directly to the “shoe pool”. I think this will go a long way in showing our integrity and committment to doing this trip for the charity and not just a holiday. I do understand now that people could have seen this trip as just a holiday.

Again guys, many thanks for sharing your thoughts. Please continue to do so. We are very new to raising money, and can do with all the advice you are able to give us! If you give me a few days to do the technical side of the website, i’ll let you know when the donations page has been updated. If you are in a position to donate to either cause, we would greatly appreciate it!

Take care,

Johnny

WOFT- Thanks for your reply. Its good to hear the amount of advice and planning you have put into this venture with the actual charity you are raising for. I like your idea of giving donators options for how they can support you- for the trip or directly to the cause. I think in that way you might capture some individual donators that otherwise might not get involved.

Looking at your fundraising thermometer it looks as though you are being quite ambitious (a good thing), and i can now understand your logic of personal donations to make the trip happen, then corporate sponsorship for the charity.

My advice was coming from my experience which was fundraising on a much smaller scale (i only ended up raising 5k US with a personal outlay of about 1k AUS). I would love to hear how you go with courting large corporate sponsors- all my feelers fell on deaf ears, so any handy tips for future ventures would be greatly appreciated.

Best of luck
mark

Hey Mark

We have been working very closely with the Bob’s for Good Foundation. They have the networking contacts, expertise and experience of wotking within the corporate world.

We have started off by developing a 6-page “proposal” or an overview of our adventure. This covers the various parties involved, how we are working together, what our goals and objectives are, what we need to achieve them, and what we can offer in return. It is an appetiser that we hope captures interest and will initiate a meeting.

Getting people to read this document is the biggest problem. Friends, family members and friends of friends are willing to do this because there is a personal interest. Thus, we have compiled lists of our persoanl aquaintances who are involved in the corporate. Everyone gets a personalised email/phonecall, and then the generic overview is attached. This is our idea, but we have not yet applied ourselves as the charity is handling the corporate side. we’ll have another meeting with them soon where we will decide who in in the best position to approach large business based on our personal connections within the businesses (Am i making sense?).

From the unicyclists side, we have almost locked down some good gear sponsorships and 1 cash sponsorship of about US$1000 - small fry when our target is just over US$75000, but it is a start:)

Bob’s for Good is finishing up with a large project, and will begin their campaign soon. They are the masters who we hope to learn from, and I’ll be sure to share what I learn with unicyclist.com. This is a learning experience for me, but it will set me up to be a stringer fundraiser for the next one!

Hey Mark

I just wanted to say thank you for making us aware of how people may view our fundraising campaign. As Johnny said it is our first time in doing this and we are learning a lot from the project.

I do agree that having the options of donating to the charity or to the tour expenses would make us more transparent and give the donator peace of mind if they knew exactly what the donation was being spent on.

We appreciate the advice.

Keep it Wheel!
Donna

Hi Guys.

It’s taken a while, but we’ve finally got a dedicated “donate directly to the charity” button on the website!

So please, support the goal of the tour by donating directly to the Bob’s for Good Foundation! 1 pair of shoes will cost R100/US$15/Euro 12. Please please PLEASE support our cause by following the link to our donations page, clicking on the Bob’s for Good logo, and contributing what you can!

Thanks to all of you for hanging in there while we got the link sorted out!