Bikes Not Bombs Strategic Plan, 2013-2017

News released on: 
Sep 4th, 2013

Approved by the Board of Directors 8/13/13


Bikes Not Bombs uses the bicycle as a vehicle for social change. We reclaim thousands of bicycles each year. We create local and global programs that provide skill development, jobs, and sustainable transportation. Our programs mobilize youth and adults to be leaders in community transformation in lower income communities in Boston and the Global South.


Bikes Not Bombs envisions a more just, sustainable and peaceful world.  By increasing access to the safe use of bicycles as a form of affordable and empowering transportation we seek to improve quality of life and increase community control in lower income communities in Boston and the Global South.  

Guiding Principles

The Bikes Not Bombs community:

  • Addresses the root causes of inequality, violence, and oppression
  • Supports the self-empowerment of individuals and communities as a means to achieve sustainable, effective social change.
  • Includes all people in the social change process in order to challenge the forces and effects of systemic oppression
  • Acts in solidarity with our local and international partners because this leads to collective understanding and strength
  • Commits to sustainable, equitable consumption of resources as critical to the health of our communities and our planet
  • Is courageous and bold in the face of injustice
  • Uses the bicycle as a powerful vehicle and tool for social change
  • Celebrates and builds upon the existing strengths of our partners and participants.


  • Increase access to bikes and bicycle technology in lower income communities of Boston and the Global South.
  • Support biking culture in lower income communities in Boston and communities in the Global South 
  • Build leadership capacity and community self-determination in lower income communities in Boston and the Global South 
  • Ensure that BNB has robust resources and is a strong, healthy, sustainable organization.

Strategies and Objectives

1. Increase access to bikes and bicycle technology in lower income communities of Boston and the Global South.


Strategies/Measures of Success

1.   Ship bikes, parts and tools to international partners

International partners receive sufficient quantity and quality of bikes, parts and tools per year from BNB and other shipping partners. 

Ship containers with 100% useful bikes, parts, and tools customized to partner needs 

Have and utilize clear criteria for partnering with organizations, including potential for social change impacts with bicycles-

2.   Support small, community-led economic bicycle and bicycle technology ventures in lower income communities 

International partners receive sufficient technical and organizational support from BNB to achieve self-defined goals and economic and operational sustainability. 

Chain Reaction fully operating as a mobile bike shop and outreach tool at 8-10 sites in Boston annually providing low-cost bike services and bikes


3.   Provide bikes through BNB Bike Shop that meet community needs and demands

BNB’s shop is known as a resource for transportation and cargo bikes. 

BNB’s shop has a viable plan for selling low-cost kids bikes


2. Support biking culture in lower income communities in Boston and communities in the Global South 


Strategies/Measures of Success

1.   Provide education, technical assistance and training about bikes 

BNB has 6-8 EAB programs annually at the Hub – including at least 2 girls-only sessions. 

BNB has 3-5 school based programs functioning sustainably 

BNB plans and pilot adult EAB program. 

The number of young people who earn a bike and know how to maintain them increases each year

Free clinics at the Shop are well attended, reaching a diverse population and are seen as a valuable resource by Boston bicyclists

BNB is a technical resource among international bicycle organizations in bicycle technology, including cargo bikes and bicycle machines.

BNB has produced and distributed an open source bicycle mechanics training and reference manual for popular audiences in the Global South 

Each year, more people receive training from BNB in bike mechanics and shop operations internationally with an increasing ration of women and young people. 

All international partners have advanced technical skills in bike mechanics.

2.   Increase in the number of youth who receive bikes and bicycle safety training. 

Create and hold more one-time bicycle safety training, workshops and bike give-aways/sales for youth.

BNB trained youth provide training mechanics at Community Centers and schools throughout Boston using the Chain Reaction model.

3.   Organize for increased bike infrastructure and services and transportation justice – especially for Boston youth in low income communities and communities of color.

BNB youth are leading campaigns to increase bike infrastructure in Boston (example campaign foci: incorporate cycling education into motorist education,  physical education credit for students who bike to school, bike racks at every school, helmets are seen as cool among youth cyclists in communities of color)

Increased amount of on and off-road bike infrastructure in Boston’s communities of color

BNB youth have enough power to influence City decisions/programs on biking and biking infrastructure – BNB youth agenda is adopted. 

Shop is utilized as a resource for organizing campaigns

International partners who ask are supported to engage local organizing and advocacy strategies for improved cycling and policy infrastructure 

4.   Effectively communicate the BNB story externally 



BNB has a comprehensive communications plan, including ways to leverage the Shop as an outreach tool and a model for social enterprise

BNB has ways to measure and communicate our intended outcomes and the impact of our work 

Program participants are spokespeople in telling their own stories

BNB stories and messages well documented

Youth and international partners are well-trained in communications strategies and BNB messages and frames.

BNB receives regular media coverage of our work and events

At least one major national news story in the next five years

5.   Strong BNB Membership Program 

Membership benefits are well-defined and well utilized by members, including a subsidized membership for low income Shop customers

Tool time and other benefits increase membership and memberhip sales. 

The Shop becomes more of a resource to the BNB community. 

Lower income residents get access to subsidized repairs, parts/accessories, apparel and bikes. 

3. Build leadership capacity and community self-determination in lower income communities in Boston and the Global South 


Strategies/Measures of Success

1.   Provide quality employment opportunities for youth as bicycle mechanics, trainers and community organizers through Pathways.

BNB employs at least 60 youth annually with increases each year without depending on government support like Boston Youth Fund. 

Youth gain valuable experience as peer instructors and even program coordinators;   increased long-term employability; increased school success;  quality supervision and academic mentorship; positive adult relationship; academic, mental and emotional support;  inter-generational, inter-racial, cross-class, inter-gender, relationships based on mutual teaching and learning.

BNB partnerships create opportunities for youth in other bicycle-based businesses around Boston: 2 – 3 hired each year.

BNB holds strategic partnerships with universities/colleges and training programs to support continued youth development post-BNB

2.   Engage BNB’s constituency at all levels to ensure that there is broad-based participation in determining the direction and operation of the organization.

Young women consistently are 40-50% of youth employee staff and are well-represented in leadership roles. 

BNB Board of Directors has well-supported, youth representation elected by their peers. 

BNB Board of Directors has 2-3 members who effectively represent the interests of our international partners

BNB has a Youth and International Advisory Committees

BNB staff well represent target program areas and are gender balanced

BNB alumni make up 90% of the youth program staff and 100% of all new hires

BNB youth program alumni make up 20-25% of BNB full-time staff

BNB has organized opportunities for members of our international partners to visit BNB, to learn more about us and to provide feedback. 

3.   Support leadership development and self-determination in all international development projects. 

All international projects are driven by local priorities and local leaders that represent a constituency of people impacted by the projects. 

BNB has developed clear and realistic targets for women’s and youth leadership development in international programs. 


4.   Develop local and international networks to increase collaboration and resilience.

BNB has built a strong network of bicycle organizations in the Global North and South that cooperate and collaborate on shared interests.  

Our international partners are engaged in local networks with other bike organizations in that region. 

BNB has initiated an international Youth Ambassador exchange program, which connects Boston youth and young people internationally, building solidarity networks. 

5.   Share our models and best practices to build leadership and capacity for others

BNB monitors and evaluates all of our programs to learn more about the impacts of our work and to develop and refine best practices. 

Promote BNB shop as a model for social enterprise

BNB engages forums on international development to promote our model of bicycle development, anti-oppression partnership and international solidarity

BNB actively provides opportunities for others to access and replicate our model 

4. Ensure that BNB has robust resources and is a strong, healthy, sustainable organization.


Strategies/Measures of Success

1.   Strengthen collaboration throughout the organization

Communication between Shop, Hub and board, including and how information is dispensed is clear and effective
Employees all understand all of the components of BNB.

Shop staff have time and support to participate in the rest of the organization 

All staff have a voice and opportunity to participate in the overall direction of the organization

Increased transparency across the organization The entire organization is aware of our financial health and standing

Staff members are informed and involved as appropriate about board functions and decisions

Board members are regularly and directly involved in programs and operations. 

Our physical space fosters collaboration and minimizes silo-ing between programs. 

Staff expertise and resources are used well and we do not duplicate efforts

2.   Effective and strategic resource development 



Fund development plan is based on evaluation of most effective methods

Expand foundation support: grants comprise 25-30% of our revenue annually

Further develop and implement major donor strategies

Maintain and grown solid grassroots donations and earned income base

Hub space meets the need of programs: Appropriate space for the Shop secured that is suitable for a retail environment and has appropriate storage capacity; youth programs are located geographically accessible to our target youth communities and in a youth-centered space 

Build the Shop’s success as a social enterprise and enhance its capacity to raise revenue for BNB’s programs

Build and maintain our strong network of volunteers

3.   Collect and process used bikes, parts, tools, and accessories

We have an annual bike collection plan and effective bike processing systems

 The supply of donated bikes fully supports our programmatic needs (quantity and variety)

BNB sources high-quality tools to fully provide for the needs of all of our programs. 

We have an organized and effective network of reliable bike collection volunteers

Bike processing is amply supported by committed and reliable volunteer leaders

4.   Effective human resources policies and practices that allow us to live our guiding principles

Clearly define staff roles and jobs/job descriptions and organizational decision-making

Work-load/capacity is sustainable for staff

All staff have a professional growth plan that is supported by the organization with opportunities for outside professional and skills development

Improve wellness and compensation – compensation for all positions at BNB are within the average range within 5 years. 

Human Resources functions at BNB are centralized and understood by all employees

Staff compensation and benefits at minimum meet prevailing living wage standards and reflect our values of economic justice

5. Board development

100% Board involvement Phone-A-Thon, Bike-A-Thon and annual giving through a Board-Member Give/Get plan that is updated annually. 

Our board more fully represents our community and constituencies

BNB Board is active and fully staffed with committed Board members.

  • Methods: Board Member Commitment Letter
  • Annual Meeting
  • Annual Board Retreat
  • Board members commitments are clearly spelled out upon recruitment

Board structure and function is optimized for efficiency through the use of committees.

  • Quarterly board meetings predicated on monthly committee meetings
  • Fully staffed board/fully staffed committees

Board member job descriptions and committee descriptions are clearly defined. 

Board contributes to fundraising through annual Board-specific fundraising project that is budgeted and anticipated beyond existing fundraising led by fundraising staff. 

6.   Increase organizational efficiencies 



Work that is critical to our success in meeting our goals is prioritized, work that is not and is not supported by resources is dropped

We use evaluation data to prioritize our resources.

Expand volunteer support and effective use of volunteers in programs

Expand our use of digital technology to increase work efficiency