100% volunteer managed
The Alpe d’Huzes might ring bells for the cyclists out there, as it’s one of the fated routes in the Tour de France. The route is nicknamed ‘the Dutch mountain’ due to the propensity of Dutch competitors to do well on the route. Perhaps as a result of this, a Dutch fundraising event has chosen to make the Alpe d’Huzes the name and location of one of the largest fundraising events in Europe, the Alpe d’HuZes.
The Alpe d’HuZes is a fundraiser that since 2010 has raised at least €11M each year. The success is down to a lethal combination of factors of a strict limit on places, strict rules on fundraising, and sterling organisation by an organising committee, all of whom are volunteers. The event raises money exclusively for the Dutch Cancer Society, and there are close ties between the committee and the charity, but they operate independently of one another.
The event itself is quite a feat. It lasts for two days, in (you guessed it) the Alpe d’Huzes and the organisers request in kind gifts from corporations in the Netherlands so that as little money as possible is spent on all aspects of the event, including logistics. As most participants are from the Netherlands and the event is in France, this means gifts in kind for petrol, vans, marquees, tents and everything else that a two day event raising €11M requires. This rigour means that the Alpe d’Huzes team can proudly commit to ‘100% donaties naar kankeronderzoek’ or ‘100% of donations to cancer research’. This is a flagship commitment and event USP, something well known in the Netherlands about the Alpe d’HuZes.
The event itself is challenging, and not just physically. There are teams of cyclists who ride the route with people who have cancer. At night, participants hear talks from people who have cancer, as a reminder of why they are here and who the event serves. There is a feeling that participants are not there only for the challenge; fundraising is absolutely crucial and to not raise the minimum (2,500 Euro) is to take the place of someone else who could have done so and therefore helped further cancer research.
The set up is complicated, and unusual for an online event. There are captains who ride and captains who do not, volunteers who fundraise and even volunteers who ride. Fundraising is absolutely central and the event is so popular in the Netherlands that large corporate donations to both the event and individuals participating are not unusual. The platform caters to native Dutch and English language speakers while individual and team fundraising pages enable company logos to be uploaded - showcasing the corporate sponsorship participants receive.