Fundraising for a bike map

Now that I had a map and I knew how much it would cost to print, I had to raise money to get it printed. Having the map essentially completely ready at this point was definitely as asset, as I could show the full size draft to potential funders, making the project very concrete and real.

My approach to fundraising was to build a distribution network and raise funds at the same time, by asking potential distributors if they would be willing to prepay 40 cents per map for maps that I would give to them to give out.

I successfully signed up seven funders for the project including a bike shop, a hospital, a college, tourism and economic development groups and our local community foundation. I always asked for specific amounts and most people gave me what I asked for, in the $200 to $400 range. Perhaps I could have asked individual funders for more, but having a few more funders meant a broader base of support, and a larger built-in distribution network.

In each case, I pitch the benefits and relevance to the specific organization. When possible, I tried to drop by and show off the map in person, although a lot of the fundraising was done with simple e-mails.

I did not promise anyone up front that they would get their logo on the map or even their name, and no one insisted onĀ  this. I didn’t want to end up with a document that looked like a hodge-podge of corporate logos, like those event t-shirts no one wears in public once the event is over. In the end, I gave all the supporter a subtle text-only mention, which I hope provides sufficient recognition while keep the visual focus of the document on the key content.

Getting Quotes for Printing the Map

My first pass at guessing the cost of the maps was to ask nearby cities what they paid for theirs. I recall getting answers back in the range $1 to $3 per map. That turned not to be a very accurate way to predict my costs. Having an idea of what my specs would be and talking directly to printers turned to be to much more productive. I’m also glad I asked what 5,000 would cost to print when the answer I got back for 1,000 seemed expensive. The cost for 5,000 turned out to be less than double the cost of 1,000!

Here are the specs I used to talk to printers:

  • 17″ x 22″ full color map, no bleeds,
  • folded into 12 panels, (The same folded size as a tri-fold brochure)
  • Printed on glossy, recycled paper (the gloss should help with rain resistance)
  • Documents provided as high-quality, press-ready PDFs.
  • Price points for 1,000, 2,000 and 5,000.

The size of the map required will vary some by the size of your city, and possibly with your budget. Albuquerque’s, for example, is a good deal larger than ours.

To get an idea of which printers could even handle printing and folding such a job, I asked around with other people that folded brochures in the community. The low quote was from Paust Printers, quoting $2,010 for 5,000 maps, about 40 cents per map.