Weekly Feature: Raising awareness on the return home
Charlie Bauman has been biking across Canada for over three months in order to raise funds for World Vision, a charity organization that is close to his heart. During his journey, he has encountered many different individuals and many different situations. Through it all, his initial goal of raising $1 for every kilometre cycled remains the same. Although some may consider him a fundraising veteran, there are still some difficulties with getting donations for his cause. In the various towns he passed through, Charlie notes that informing the public of your intent is just as important as trying to raise funds.
“What your sign content is makes a huge difference,” Charlie said, “When I neglect to put ‘$1 is all it takes,’ people don’t give freely. It’s mainly because they don’t know how much to give.”
By changing the way he gets his information across to those he meets, Charlie has found that people respond more positively. He noted that Canadians are putting their trust in the person raising the funds just as much as the cause. He also found that location and how he presents his cause is equally imperative.
“Where I am is very important in order to avoid being haggled or misrepresenting anyone. Having my bike visible is also an important part too, otherwise people think I’m just begging and using the cause for pity.”
As is often the case when travelling through unfamiliar territory, Charlie has learned how valuable it is to allow yourself to be open to encountering new things. He says that stepping out of his comfort zone is key to opening up to those he meets along the way. Prior to starting his return home, Charlie often found that he would avoid opportunities to fundraise because he feared what those passing by may think of him. Now he realizes that getting out into the local communities and being committed to his cause allows Canadians to understand what he’s supporting.
“Never judge a book by its cover was reinforced,” Charlie said, “I have learned much about my character and have also become more comfortable letting people know who I really am.”
As fall begins, Charlie is looking to wrap up his fundraising venture. His journey has taken him across our great country in order to help those who are less fortunate than many of us. It has, however, taken him away from his own family and friends. As time goes on, Charlie says he’s looking forward to getting back to Ontario.
“I am finding highs and lows, and they change from time to time,” he said, “More consistently I’m finding myself missing family and friends, but I also realize that relationships made outside of the home network have value as well.”
A traveller by nature, Charlie says that although he’s anxious to get back to his hometown, he has developed a passion for the places he’s visited and the people he’s met. The support he’s received from the various towns and cities he’s passed through is the very reason why he says he’d do a similar trip across Canada in the future. For him, having that emotional and physical support along the way is what makes the experience more enjoyable.
To date, Charlie has raised over $13,000. He still has a few weeks left before he returns to Elmira, ON, and he’s hoping to reach his goal of $15,000 before then.