How to collect money?

From Forum Freie Lastenräder
This page is a translated version of the page Wie kann man Gelder einsammeln? and the translation is 91% complete.
Outdated translations are marked like this.

About club memberships

Members of the association often pay more than the statutory contribution. The additional portion is to be booked as a donation. Donations can be accepted for a registered non-profit association against a donation receipt. The donors have the advantage that they can deduct the donation from their tax. Especially companies are then willing to donate.

About advertising

Advertising on cargo bikes can persuade people (e. g. retailers) to support the financing of a cargo bike or even to finance it completely. Towns and municipalities are often willing to support an initiative by creating parking facilities and organising lending in their departments themselves.

Through subsidies

In the case of Commons Cargobikes, it is advisable to first search for supporters locally. Apart from that, there are other federal funds for the "Short Paths to Climate Protection" programme (in Germany: Otherwise, it is rather difficult to obtain federal funds. In addition, there are various funding pools at the state level which subsidise the purchase of an e-cargobike up to 50 % in some cases.

At the state level, associations often have the option of applying for so-called "lottery funds" from individual ministries. The "lottery funds" are the surpluses from state lotteries, which are then made available to the ministries for the purpose of awarding them to non-profit associations.

With the help of lottery funds, Ella - Lastenräder für Erfurt was able to acquire the second cargobike successfully and easily. To this end, the Thuringian Ministry for the Environment, Energy and Nature Conservation was initially asked informally about the possibility of applying for lottery funds. The Ministry then provided the application form. After a project description (approx. one page) and a simple financial plan (What is financed with how much money?) were submitted, the project was approved within a very short period of time (approx. four weeks) and approximately 2,800 euros were paid out for implementation. Afterwards, the project had to be settled with the help of the original purchase receipts and a short report had to be written (approx. 1.5 pages long). The inauguration of the second Ella took place in the presence of the Thuringian Environment Minister.

At the municipal level, too, funding can sometimes be found, e. g. as part of the Local Agenda 21 processes. It is worthwhile to address members of the local parliaments who are interested in bicycles.

Hannah from Hannover has had good experiences with the application for municipal funds. For the first Hannah, a subsidy was applied from the City of Hanover. The next four Hannahs were purchased with the support of the Hanover region and the metropolitan region. For some other Hannahs, money has been requested from the district councils, which have their own funds in Hannover that they can allocate to initiatives or projects in their own district. Therefore, these Hannahs are only available in the respective city district. In all cases, money was applied for the purchase of the cargobike and the sticker in Hannah design. Experience has also shown that it is much more difficult to raise money for running costs (maintenance, repair, advertising etc.) from municipal funds.

Beispielantrag für ein Lastenrad

Through donations

A donation is a voluntary expenditure for which no consideration is expected. The tax office does not care about the designation: if a "donation" is expected emphatically and is made by the majority of users, it is suspected that it is a hidden payment for the use of the cargobike. The "donated" amount would then be recorded as income in the commercial business operations of a non-profit association and would not be recorded in the non-material area, where membership fees and "real" donations belong. The delimitation can be difficult in individual cases. Any reference to a certain appropriate amount is harmful. Conversely,"real" donations must not be used to cover the deficit of economic business operations, which may also include the rental of cargo bikes. It is allowed that a profit making part of a larger business operation will absorb the deficit of another part. In the non-profit association this is even duty: The association may make profits, but no losses, because they would be compensated by membership fees or donations. This is inadmissible and jeopardizes the non-profit status. Recording as "Donation User X" is also problematic. Small donations (rings, donation boxes) are not normally registered individually. Otherwise, the suspicion of a consideration is obvious.

KASIMIRS donation pot at the station is filled by users with an average of 25, - € per month. It is also a good idea to address local small and medium-sized companies.


A nice example of a fund-raising campaign is [1] the team of LASSE - Dein Lastenrad aus Münster. The team picked up 100% emission-free LASSE Schokolade from Amsterdam and then resold it in Münster.

In Dresden, Frieda & Friedrich have had good experiences with fundraising campaigns via​. Beispiel I Beispiel II für einen neue Bremse Beispiel III Gelder für Reparaturen)The initiative has also advertised the project and the fundraising activities in the ADFC Dresden's e-mail newsletter, in the ADFC national magazine "Reflektor" and via the distribution list for registered users of Frieda & Friedrich. This has certainly played a very important role.
Spendendose Lasse.jpg

About Crowdfunding

Another possibility of financing is crowdfunding. In crowdfunding, a large number of people finance a project, for example. Crowdfunding projects are usually organized online and often a minimum amount is defined in advance, which has to be reached within a fixed period of time. Here you can find an overview of possible crowdfunding platforms: and here you can find tips for setting up projects. In this way, the Auriculum has received 2000, - Euro for a one-track cargobike from donors.

What does a successful crowdfunding campaign look like? Experience of Ella from Erfurt:

When the small team around Ella met for the first time in April 2015, it was soon clear that we wanted to finance our first Ella by means of a crowdfunding campaign. From our point of view, it was possible to create a particularly good publicity for the project and so the future users were involved at the same time. Last but not least, you can check whether you really need a cargo bike project in your own city and whether there is a real demand. In the meantime there are also a number of providers in Germany, we decided on - the largest platform of its kind. This had the advantage for us that the platform itself also carried out public relations work for the project.

or a successful crowdfunding campaign, a small video must first be created in which it is briefly and succinctly told why the project is important, who the founders are and what happens with the money collected. We from Ella were able to win a small agency in Erfurt for the shooting of the film. We approached them openly and asked them if they wanted to sponsor the project. This makes our crowdfunding film look very professional, which in our experience gives potential donors the good feeling of giving their money for a serious project. Important in the crowdfunding campaign are also the so-called "thank you" gifts, i. e. everyone who donates something gets a "thank you" for it. The amount of the donated money is allocated to fixed gifts. Here it is important to become creative. For example, we were able to purchase a bicycle tour with the Ella team. It is also worthwhile to contact local cafés and shops and ask them if they offer coffee vouchers, for example. In our experience, almost no one says no, because it is also a good advertisement for the participating locations.

The most important thing for the success of the campaign, however, is public relations. Talk to local newspapers, blogs and the radio and ask if they want to report about you. It is also worthwhile to visit information stands and events, e. g. as part of the European Mobility Week or Parking Day. Distributing postcards and flyers with a link to the crowdfunding campaign is also a good idea. Last but not least, however, the personal approach is very important. Ask colleagues, friends, acquaintances and the family if they don't feel like donating and promoting the project. In addition, the campaign must be promoted on the usual social media channels. Good, funny photos are especially important here.

It is important that you prepare the campaign well before you start. The accompanying public relations work is costly, so that good coordination and a high degree of responsibility are important. A crowdfunding campaign should only be undertaken if you are really prepared to devote the time resources to it. Also because you are not finished after the collection of the money has ended, because all thank-you presents have to be sent to the donors*. This should be kept in mind when planning time and financial planning - the production of gifts also costs money.

Neben der geschaffenen Öffentlichkeit durch eine solche Kampagne ist aber die finanzielle Freiheit, die sich durch diese Art der Spendensammlung erlangen lässt, ein enormer Vorteil. Wir von Ella konnten durch die Kampagne etwa 5.600 Euro sammeln, wovon wir 4.000 Euro über die Plattform direkt und 1.600 Euro durch zusätzliche Direktspenden auf unser Vereinskonto erhalten haben. Davon haben wir ein Lastenrad und die Dankeschön-Präsente finanziert, aber v. a. finanzieren wir darüber heute noch die laufenden Kosten, z. B. Versicherung und Wartung.“


Die Erstellung und Redaktion dieser Inhalte wurden unterstützt durch:

ADFC Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrrad-Club e. V.

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