How We're Funded
It costs money to collect and donate bicycles around the world!
Our principal expenses – approaching $250,000 annually – include commercial ocean freight charges, salaries (for director, operations manager, outreach coordinator/office manager, bookkeeper), truck rental, fuel, and vehicle mileage for transporting bikes, audit, website, printing and mailing, insurance, etc. Nonetheless, thanks to the support of the public, our strategy of income diversification, and discounted storage courtesy of the City of Rockville MD, Fairfax County VA, and Vulcan Materials Inc, Bikes for the World has operated “in the black” since beginning in 2005. Our income currently derives principally from FIVE sources:
- Individual "donations with bikes". For individual donations of bicycles, Bikes for the World suggests an accompanying financial contribution of $10 per bicycle. It is a voluntary donation, not a fee, and is hence tax-deductible, as is the value of the bicycle. In effect, we charge donors for “putting their old bikes to good use.”
- Payments from overseas partners. Our overseas partners pay all or part of a shipment’s direct costs – US trucking, ocean freight, freight forwarder’s fee, and international courier for documentation – reflecting the desirability of the items donated by BfW. We donate product which is donated to us, but charge for the shipping expenses in getting the donation to our partners. This arrangement has the benefit of making parties more efficient and effective; it further means that we will make every effort to ship better and more appropriate content.
- Program service revenue for services, including the handling of donated, discarded, or traded-in bicycles. During 2012, Bikes for the World partnered with Dick’s Sporting Goods, a national retailer, to receive and channel more than 4,200 used bicycles generated by a trade-in sale held at the chain’s 485 stores nationwide. Bikes for the World also removes close to 2,000 bikes annually from the waste stream in Montgomery County, Maryland, and is modestly compensated out of a dedicated county waste reduction fund. From 2007 - 2010, the City of Rockville Department of Recreation contracted Bikes for the World to do bike & pedestrian safety training in Rockville schools.
- Program grants and individual and corporate donations unrelated to the donation of bicycles. Recent donors include Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI), Potomac Pedalers Touring Club, International Monetary Fund CPAC, and the Vienna (VA) Rotary Club. A once-a-year appeal is mailed or e-mailed to supporters. We also hold fundraisers from time to time and participate in holiday alternative gift fairs.
- Sale of "high-end" or "vintage" road, classic BMX and other bike-related items either with a premium value here in the United States, or deemed unsuitable for overseas use. The board of directors currently limits sales to two percent of bicycles handled annually.