By Katie Soltas, NAMA Blogger | 8.26.16
Bill Selph, NAMA past president and current mixer coordinator, turned his passion for cycling into a profitable youth fundraiser – and learned a few marketing lessons along the ride.
In his second annual summer effort, the avid cyclist biked at least 20 miles for 20 consecutive days to raise $2,500 for the Tennessee Interscholastic Cycling League, which fosters students’ early interest in mountain biking. The funds will go toward loaner bikes for the children, grades 6 to 12, and other program expenses.
Selph’s most memorable highlight of the journey was his longest ride – an 86-mile trek with a colleague along the historic Natchez Trace Parkway from Tupelo, Miss. to Nashville.
“We sure were happy to see my wife waiting to greet us at Loveless Café with refreshments,” Selph said.
As for his fundraising results, Selph increased his earnings by 250 percent, which he attributes to his generous friends and family who supported the cause.
In 2015, Selph used Facebook as his sole marketing tactic, but this year distributed personal post cards and emails, along with Facebook, Twitter, and a GoFundMe campaign. The heightened social media strategy garnered 615 visits to his GoFundMe site, retweets from popular cycling companies such as Trek Bicycle (200,000 followers) and 133 Facebook shares.
“I’m hoping to get the students more involved in 2017,” Selph said. “I can’t wait for them to do some of the rides with me.”
Despite the physical demands 20 miles per day of cycling would place on any athlete, Selph maintains that the toughest battle was the mental commitment of riding each day – no matter what.
“I was lucky with good health this year. In (2015), I was sick with a 103-degree fever, but I mustered up the (mental and physical) courage to ride at least a mile around my neighborhood,” he said. “Life comes up, but you have to keep going and honor the commitment.”