A blog by runners. For runners.

Ways to fundraise for a charity race

Running a race for charity is a great way to raise money for a cause near and dear to your heart. However, raising enough funds to meet your goal can be a little tricky – especially if you don’t feel comfortable asking people for money.

The most important thing to do is to start the fundraising process early. As soon as you’ve been accepted into the race, create a fundraising website (the charity you’re raising money for may have a template pledge page and web address you can use) and be specific. Include why you’re raising money for the particular charity and who will benefit from the funds, your fundraising goal, how people can donate, and training and race specifics – your donors may enjoy live tracking, for instance, if your race offers it.

But even if you’re closely tied to a cause, emailing friends and family often isn’t enough to meet your fundraising goals. Instead, try these techniques to take your fundraising up to the next level.

  1. Have a yard sale. Get rid of your old treasures and raise money at the same time? It’s a win-win. Make sure everyone knows that the money made from the garage sale is going towards the charity – people may be less likely to haggle that way!
  2. Take advantage of your social media networks.Don’t be afraid to share the link to your fundraising page on your social media sites – be sure to include a compelling blurb about the cause to get people to click. Social media casts a large net and you may be surprised by how much money the effort generates. Your sister’s boyfriend’s neighbor’s cousin may be closely connected to the cause you’re fundraising for, and he may be willing to share the information with his social networks as well.
  3. Host a virtual bake sale.Ask friends and family to donate baked goods to your cause. Then host an online bake sale on your blog or social media pages, asking people to bid on the donated baked goods — who wouldn’t pay for your mom’s famous chocolate chip cookies or your coworker’s coveted lemon bars? The person with the highest bid wins the delicious treats.
  4. Partner with a local business and do a giveaway for services.Similar to the virtual bake sale, ask local businesses to donate services for your fundraiser. They’ll get publicity and you’ll be able to offer an incentive for people to donate. For example, tell the first 10 people who donate that they’ll be entered in a giveaway to win a gift certificate for a pedicure, the next 10 people will have the chance to win a free car wash, etc.
  5. Host a party.Throw a get-together at your house and ask for donations to the charity in lieu of hostess gifts. Or, if you want to get a little more formal, plan a cocktail party and “charge” guests $15 to $25 to attend – all the money will go towards your fundraising goals, of course. The key here is to find a low or no cost venue to keep overhead costs low. Serve a few hors d’oeuvres and include one or two drink vouchers in the ticket fee. Some restaurants and bars may even partner with you and offer to donate $1 or more per additional drink served to the charity.

Does anyone have any creative fundraising techniques to share?

Written by Jen Matz.