Start a Chapter

It’s easier than you may think!

In a nutshell:

Statesboro, GA AMBUCS members pose in a line.It only takes five people dedicated to Inspiring mobility and independence in your community. We have found that the most successful chapters have a diverse membership from all walks of life and with varied talents.

You’ll want to choose a head delegater & motivator (president), member tracker (secretary), and money tzar (treasurer). Chief fundraiser is another key role; someone to plan events and build community relationships.

The idea of your group building an Amtryke program in your community may seem overwhelming but we encourage chapters to think of the process as three steps.

  1. Chapter Yearly CycleChoose & Evaluate Riders — If your core group doesn’t contain physical or occupational therapists, contact local clinics and hospitals, tell them about the Amtryke program and ask for their help identifying and evaluating recipients.
  2. Fundraise — Ask the Resource Center for a quote for each Amtryke so you will have a fundraising goal and then go wild: spaghetti dinners, car washes, bake sales, Trek 4 Trykes and direct community ‘asks.’
  3. Build Trykes & Give Them Away — Building the trykes is a great team-building exercise and member recruitment opportunity. And of course the Give Away Day makes all your hard work totally worth it. There is nothing like those smiles!

New chapters often start out going through this process once a year and then begin cycling through two or three times — adding more recipients as capacity builds.

Also, we’ll give you ten free trykes! Really! We call it our 10-for-10 promotion. Each time you fundraise for and purchase a tryke, we’ll give you another tryke of equal or lessor value (excluding shipping and accessories) for free.

Lets Talk Turkey
  • Each member of the chapter is required to pay a $10 new member fee. This fee is sent to AMBUCS Resource Center with your new chapter paperwork.
  • AMBUCS members’ national dues are $25 per member per year. This is billed quarterly based on the AMBUCS year (June, September, December, and March) NOTE: the new chapter is exempt from dues for the first two billing cycles (6 months) after its charter date. This helps you build local funds without collecting dues from your new members.
  • Chapters are grouped into Regions. Your board representation is through the region. There are usually some dues associated with region membership, and some regions have assessment fees to support their regional meeting. You’ll be advised of this once you charter or ask the ARC at any point. You are exempt from these costs for the first two billing cycles (6 months) after the charter date.
  • Some areas also offer Districts (smaller groups of chapters within region areas). Membership in the district is optional for new chapters. If your chapter is in a district, there may be additional district dues. Ask your sponsoring chapter, sparkplug or the ARC for this information, and then decide if district benefits and costs work for your chapter. A new chapter is also exempt from these charges for the first two billing cycles after charter date.
  • The only other cost involved is the chapter’s liability insurance premium. Once the new chapter is officially recognized, the chapter will receive an invoice four times per year (at the quarterly billing) for $26. That’s a total of $104 per year (it’s not per person) for very robust liability insurance coverage.
  • The core group of members may want to consider having some sort of chapter dues or fundraiser which is retained by the local chapter to cover operating costs. We have a sample chapter budget so chapters can anticipate what those operating costs might be.

If you’re interested in learning more, check out our New Chapter Building FAQs and the more detailed explanation below. Feel free to reach out to us with any unanswered questions.

Ready! Let’s Build a Chapter.

So, you’re ready to build an AMBUCS chapter focused on giving away Amtryke Adaptive Tricycles? Now all you need to know is how! Never fear, AMBUCS has been very successful building new chapters using the techniques outlined below.

Steps to Success
  1. Fill out and return the New Chapter Permit.
  2. Identify your lead or key person – this may be you or someone you know or have recruited. Begin recruiting others with passion for the mission and useful skills.
  3.  Request and host an Amtryke Training, called a Road Show visit, from the AMBUCS Resource Center (ARC).
  4.  Complete the organizational paperwork.
1. Let Us Know

When you’re ready to take the first step, fill out and return the New Chapter Permit. Please check the chapter directory to see if there is already a chapter in your area before filling out the form. The New Chapter Permit gets the ball rolling and prevents another group in your area from starting without you! After we receive and approve it we will send you the new chapter paperwork.

2. Build Key Relationships

To begin, you must have identified a leader who is interested in bringing the Amtryke program to their community. This may be you and you are already committed to the project. Often the leader is a therapist but may be a friend or relative or simply someone passionate about the mission. Your lead person must be willing to help organize the initial Amtryke Road Show visit.

You want to recruit a core group of 5‐10 people. From this core group, your first set of chapter leaders must emerge. Identify the Key Roles that will benefit your chapter and recruit people who will assume these roles and duties.

New chapters need to recruit people for these skills:

  • President – head delegater & motivator
  • Secretary – member tracker
  • Treasurer – money tzar (can be combined with Secretary)
  • Fundraiser – someone to plan events and build community relationships.
  • Grant writing – someone to develop this fundraising tool at the local level. (can be combined with Fundraiser).
  • Public relations – someone to handle internal and external communication.
  • Amtryke coordinator – someone to keep the paperwork correct, liaison with the therapist team, order bikes and schedule builds and giveaways.
  • Amtryke assembly – someone mechanically inclined who will assemble the Amtrykes and accessories. This person could be a community connection, rather than a member.
3. Road Show and Bike Day

Your first project should be to get a group of interested people to attend your Road Show – an Amtryke Training and Bike Day.

This step requires emails, social media notices, and maybe even letters or phone calls to build community awareness and support. Focus on area therapists, parent groups of people with different abilities, community leaders, possible donors, the media and bike shops and others who are mechanically inclined who might volunteer time to build bikes in the future.

It is usually held at a local therapy clinic but could be held at a park, workplace, community center or place of worship.  Here is more info about the Road Show and how to host one.

Since your goal is not only to educate therapists and evaluate riders but also to raise interest, awareness and participation for the new chapter, here are a few further thoughts beyond what is shared at the link above.

Normally only about 15 Amtrykes of various sizes will be available during the Road Show – because that’s how many will fit into a trailer. It’s important that riders be assigned half hour time slots (avoid the word appointments). The time slots should scatter the same size kids over the different time blocks, as this lessens waiting time for families.

Try to provide some refreshments/sandwiches for the therapists to munch at the end of training. Remember, they may have worked all day before they attend your training, and should be staying to help you with evaluations. You may or may not choose to offer something light for the families. Be sure to check with the therapy facility about food if the Road Show visit is held there. Many will categorize us as a vendor and any gift (food or otherwise) as ethically questionable. Remember getting these therapists on board will be key to the chapter’s success.

You’ll need some volunteers to help with paperwork and check‐in. A few friendly people to greet everyone and chat about AMBUCS and the mission would also be a plus.

If you can, involve the local media! Send a press release as a Word document a week before your event and then follow up with a phone call a few days before. More tips on gaining media coverage. Recently there has been some success giving away one tryke the day before the event and mentioning during coverage that anyone who would like to get involved can drop by the Bike Day.

Key benefits of a Road Show visit:

  • Therapists who feel confident about properly evaluating riders for their own Amtryke
  • An excited group of parents, kids and volunteers who see the possibilities for their own Amtryke program.
  • A community group who will support your chapter and its fundraising efforts.
  • The knowledge that AMBUCS will continue to provide you with ongoing training and support.
4. Complete the Organizational Paperwork

Here are some details about the organizational paperwork. Contact us at AMBUCS Resource Center at 800‐838‐1845 if any of the documents are confusing – or you have questions. Remember, we will send this paperwork to you after your New Chapter Permit has been approved.

  • To become recognized as an AMBUCS chapter, all required organizational paperwork must be completed (required documents are listed on the cover sheet). Because our Group Tax exemption is predicated upon each chapter adopting the standard bylaws and articles of incorporation as approved by the IRS, you must adopt the standard documents. Inclusion in the group automatically qualifies your group as a public charity with 501c3 tax status.
  • AMBUCS chapters are required to incorporate in the state they operate within. AMBUCS Resource Center does this for you. We will help you file the Articles of incorporation and pay the initial filing fee for you. Incorporating is a MUST! It is important, as it protects the members and officers of the chapter from liability. Your new chapter is not officially recognized by National AMBUCS until your incorporation is completed.
  • DO NOT contact the IRS or try to file for 501c3 status. This is automatically extended to AMBUCS’ chapters through our Group Tax Exemption #8069. The chapter will be a 501c3 when all AMBUCS organizing documents have been completed; submitted to AMBUCS Resource Center, and the chapter has been issued a charter by National AMBUCS. This usually takes several weeks. We are required to wait for the IRS exempt organization office to process our requests.
  • DO NOT fill out an SS‐4 form or try to file for an FEIN (federal employer identification number) from the IRS. AMBUCS Resource Center does that automatically once the chapter is recognized. This is how the chapter is recognized as part of our group, and the IRS requires that National AMBUCS complete this step. The new chapter will need this number before opening a bank account. Expect this to take one to six weeks once the organizing documents have been filed with National AMBUCS.

Chapter Set-Up Considerations…

Service Area – Don’t bite off more than you can chew. As you grow, you can always make your service area larger but it is very difficult to make it smaller after you get your community excited about Amtrykes! For large metropolitan areas, consider serving only a few sections of town at first. For smaller areas, consider serving only your town or a county or two.

Selection Criteria – How will you choose who to serve and how? This is your decision. Chapters handle this in many different ways.

Who. We would like to serve everyone that needs us but that is often just not feasible. If you burn yourself out trying to serve everyone, no one will be served. Some chapters only accept Amtryke requests from one therapy partner while others accept requests from all over town. Most set some sort of restrictions to help keep their chapter wish list manageable. Setting restrictions like: rider must not be able to safely ride a traditional bicycle or the parent/guardian/rider is committed to using the bike, etc. They often also impose limits on their therapy partners (say 5 a year from each facility). Read how different chapters have chosen who to serve.

How. Some chapters will not accept funds from families for their bike but will allow donations to another person’s bike (paying it forward). Some have a policy of asking how much the family would consider paying for a regular bike for their child and to consider put that much toward it if they can.

Meetings – Some chapters meet once a week while others meet once a month or even less.  Chapters with weekly meetings often eat a meal together and have a guest speaker from the community. Other chapters meet only as necessary to conduct business: fundraise for and giveaway Amtrykes! Chapters that meet less often usually stay in touch  via email, phone or skype as they work on projects.

Conclusion

Most of all – get the core group together and have some fun. Plan a fundraiser! Figure out how to take advantage of the Amtryke 10-for-10 Promotion. The new chapter earns up to ten (10) free Amtrykes for the first ten (10) Amtrykes they fundraise and provide in their community giveaways!

Please reach out to us if you are interested in learning more.