Part 3 of a 3-part series (To read Part 1 of his post trip thoughts, in which Tim describes the experience and how he is missing it, click here. For Part 2 about the route and the touring high points, click here.)
Pitching TheHopeLine was a privilege. We only hope that we have made as much of a difference for it as it did for our tour. TheHopeLine cause immediately connected us with people everywhere. Everyone, it seems, is affected by suicide. We learned better techniques for sharing our mission and developed more confidence the farther east we traveled. Our thanks to Marfa Films, who shot this video outside of Grace Baptist Church in Milford, Ohio, before we embarked on the bike path to Xenia. I must say, we seem a bit road weary here!
My biggest disappointment of the entire tour was the inability to land significant media appearances, despite pitching print and broadcast media in large nearby cities like Omaha, Kansas City, St. Louis, Nashville, Louisville, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland. A major network television station in Louisville shot video of us and a senior producer in Columbus (Ohio’s largest television market) showed interest in our story. It seemed the farther we traveled, the higher the potential of drawing attention to our cause. However, no significant exposure materialized. The day our trip ended, we were planning a short day of 25 miles, and two rest days in which we would pitch media in Scranton, Philadelphia, New York City, Hartford, Worcester, Providence, and Boston. We’ll never know whether any coverage we might have received from those contacts would have made a difference in our fundraising campaign.
I’ve developed a new appreciation for just how difficult it is to raise money, even for a nonprofit as worthy as TheHopeLine, which is saving lives. We’ll end our campaign somewhere over $20,000. Even though we had a higher goal, $20,000 is a healthy sum, and the potential exists for more. We’re thankful to family and friends, who were the predominant source of the funding. People were generous. They were also supportive by following us through the Open Road Press blog and Facebook.
I’m convinced we met prospective donors with the potential to send the mercury in our fundraising thermometer sky high. There were a handful of farmers with substantial crops and livestock, an investment banker, a financial advisor, a real estate developer, and that older gentleman at a motel in Brandenburg, Kentucky, who checked in just after we did. I had a strong impression that he was destined to make a difference. Whether or not he checked into TheHopeLine, we may never know. Potential donors were everywhere. We had promising encounters in Montana, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
Two Are Better
There’s nothing like a bicycle tour to bond you together with your riding partner. In our case, since we’re husband and wife, we reap a special bonus. Here we sit, overwhelmed with memories as we sift through photographs and blog posts, as we consider what was and what might have been. The intensity of our tour and its fundraising campaign meant that we needed to be fully engaged and cooperative to maximize our efforts. It seared us together. It’s not that we weren’t together before, but a bicycle tour unifies you toward a common goal much better than everyday life ever will. We grew closer. What bigger blessing could we have had? None that I can think of.
Thank you to everyone who followed and supported us. We believe that the connectedness and safety that we enjoyed were a direct result of other people’s prayers and God’s constant provision. Life’s experiences are accentuated when others are pulling for you. The pledges of support to TheHopeLine energized us. And those who regularly commented or “liked” on Facebook reminded us of the prayers and goodwill that came our way every day. We’re grateful to those of you who partnered with us.
If you have not yet pledged support to TheHopeLine as part of TheHopeLine Tour of 2014, it’s not too late! What’s more, a generous donor of TheHopeLine has agreed to match your contribution dollar for dollar from now until the end of 2014. Won’t you please help raise the fundraising thermometer higher while making a lasting difference in the lives of young people in crisis? To pledge support right now, click here. If you would like to learn more about why TheHopeLine is worthy of your support, please read our case for support page.