The past decade has seen a boom in runners and walkers participating in events for charity. Whether the participant has been personally affected by the work of the charity (such as a breast cancer survivor raising money for the Susan G. Komen foundation), wants to gain entry into a sold-out event, or simply wants to use their running to support a good cause, it seems like charity runners are everywhere. Having participated in two marathons myself for Team in Training (which benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society), I can vouch for the fact that running for charity can be a hugely rewarding experience that adds a whole new dimension to your running. It can also be challenging! Here’s what you need to know if you’re thinking about raising money for a charity through race participation.
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- Look into what you receive in exchange for your fundraising efforts. Some offer a guaranteed entry in the race but require you to pay your own registration fee, while others cover everything, including airfare and hotel to the race.
- Find out what your “fundraising minimum” is. This is the minimum amount you have to raise to participate in an event. There are usually milestone amounts along the way which act as checkpoints to ensure that you are successful.
- Get creative with your fundraising! Consider hosting a silent auction or raffle, or asking a local bar to donate a percentage of their proceeds for the evening if you promise to bring in a crowd. A friend of mine even offered to pick up race packets at a local event for anyone who donated $10 or more to her cause! Of course, asking for donations via snail mail and social media can be effective too, but the more diverse you are, the more successful you will be.
- Make time for the team. One of the unexpected benefits of running for charity is the team atmosphere it creates. If you’re lucky enough to be running for an organization that has a training group, do your runs with them! It will make race day and training more fun because you’ll make friends for life.
- Remember why you’re running. In the late miles of your event, you’ll probably be tired and ready to be done. Reflect on the personal stories you’ve heard and the lives your fundraising has changed. When you think about what they are struggling with, the miles will seem easy by comparison.
Running for charity is an amazing way to give back to the community and help a cause close to your heart. There are so many organizations out there that need help – you’re bound to find one that resonates with you! Running has given us so much. Why not take the opportunity to give back?
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