Charity Running: 5 Ways to Keep the Fun in Fundraising

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Charity Running: 5 Ways to Keep the Fun in Fundraising Charity Running: 5 Ways to Keep the Fun in Fundraising

From charity driven events like the Susan G. Koman race series to World Marathon Major races like the Chicago Marathon, hundreds of thousands of runners are actively fundraising through racing. The Chicago Marathon saw over 10,000 charity runners in 2015 alone!

runners racing

You’ve undoubtedly run alongside charity runners or donated to a fellow runner’s fundraising campaign, but is this the year you’re the one doing the fundraceing? As someone who has not only raised $3,000+ during my own race training, but have helped hundreds of other charity runners as part of the Back on My Feet Fundracing Committee, I have some tricks and tips up my (compression) sleeves!


Here are 5 ways to make fundraising enjoyable:

Host Creative Events

Move past the standard wrist band bar night, there are so many fun events to host that will bring in dollars! Reach out to your favorite establishment and see if they offer any fundraising packages or if they would be up for working with you on a custom event. Personally, I hosted a profitable event at an arcade bar near me. Everyone received a drink ticket to get a beer or soda, and received arcade tokens. The bar got $5 back per bag, and I got to set the price, putting all profits towards my charity. Many people attended who do not drink, but still had a blast playing arcade games!

Other ideas are:

Painting class
Fitness class
Comedy show
Cooking class
Self hosted game, movie or craft night

Establishments want to have their name on a good cause, so sell it to them with that in mind. You will bring in business and share the good they are doing for their community!

Give Social Media Shout Outs

Take advantage of Facebook and the human need to be praised! Pick a day to post a recap and say thank you to everyone who donated to your cause in the past week. Of course you should email, call, or write your donors individually, but this public thank you makes them feel publicly acknowledged while reminding others that you are actively fundraising. Don’t forget to add a link to your page, so all of the readers will know that “You can donate here!”.

Post Long Run Updates

This is something I looked forward to each week. After my long run I would post a picture, either taken on my run or right when I got home, and post it along with an “ask”. Here are a few examples:

I just ran 15 miles! Can you donate $15?

It took me 2:35:45 to run 17 miles today. Can you take 2 minutes to donate?

It’s 9am and I’ve run 14 miles. Can you donate by noon?

Sell Body Parts

Don’t worry, this isn’t the beginning of a Law & Order episode! Put prime race day real estate up for sale by offering to write donor’s names on your arms and legs for a set amount. Right arm could be $50, left calf, $35, etc. If it’s too cold to go shorts and a tank, put a strip of duct tape over your clothing and write with a Sharpie.

Have Fun with Deadlines

People will see your emails and posts and fully intend to donate, but your race is months away so they have plenty of time. We all know what happens when you have a ton of time to do something; you never get it done! Set shorter deadlines with small incentives so people are compelled to take action. Raffle off small inexpensive items where donors get an entry for every $10 they donate, and set the drawing at the end of the week. Or, anyone who donates in the next 3 days will get homemade cookies mailed to them (cook one batch and be done!)

Fundraising through running can be fun and give more meaning to each training run. Above all, come from the heart. Tell your friends, family, coworkers, and everyone in between why you’re running for this charity. Tell them exactly where their money is going and why it’s worth their time and paycheck. Make it personal by showing that you’re out there week after week training, not just posting once for donations.


Have you run for a charity?

How did it go and what tactics worked best?