How To Raise Money By Running

It’s been six months since the 2011 NYC Marathon, but it seems more like 1 month. I’m amazed at how time flies at this point in my life. The 2012 NYC Marathon is now less than 6 months away which means that I am getting ready to start my “official” marathon season.

For me, getting ready for the marathon is a two pronged approach. First, there is the training and everything that comes with scheduling those runs into my week. At this point, scheduling the training is becoming easier. My kids are used to my disappearing on Sunday mornings and only complain sometimes. The complaints are usually centered around having to run errands with Dad rather than watching TV. (My sympathy is not exactly overflowing.) The second part of marathon season is fundraising and I think the fundraising actually takes more time than the training. I know it takes more creativity and now in my fifth year of raising money for Team Fox I know I have to change it up. I have to do something new. I have a few ideas and will share what I decide on as my plans firm up.

For this post I thought I’d share 5 simple ideas that I’ve used to raise money through my running.  Hopefully my experience can help someone else learn how to raise money for their favorite cause by pounding the pavement.

1. Create a website and make sure your personal story is told on that website. Most large charities now have pre-made webpages that you can customize to tell your story. If your charity does provide you with a personal page, then use that. Update it with your story and add pictures and/or video as you can.

If the charity does not provide a webpage, then create one yourself. You can create one for FREE using WordPress or Blogger and easily place a PayPal widget on your site. That way you can tell your story and take donations online easily and securely. Yes, it will take some effort to set up the site, but it’s not hard. If I can figure out how to create this blog using WordPress, anyone can do it.

Here’s my personal Team Fox page as an example.

2. Email friends and family to tell them what you are doing and why. Ask them to support you with a donation. Most WILL support you and those that cannot make a donation for whatever reason will generally be very supportive in their own way. Whether you get a donation or merely words of encouragement, make sure to say THANK YOU! Do not underestimate how much those two words matter. Seriously, there are so many worthy causes and people to support.  Make sure your supporters know that their donation matters to you. I know how much each and every donation means to me, but others may not understand. Tell them!

3. Ask co-workers, in person, to make a donation. Print out a paper donation form and go to 1 or 2 people a day in person to ask for a donation. You can ask them via email if you prefer, but I have found that asking in person usually results in more and larger donations. It’s easy to ignore an email, but most people will help someone that makes the effort to get up and ask face to face.

When you ask co-workers for a donation, make sure you know if the company has a matching gift program and if they do know the rules of that program. Most companies will match donations starting at $25. If there is a minimum amount, tell each person you ask what the minimum is and ask them to meet that at least, if possible. Tell them that if they donate $25 then their donation is really $50 (or more if the match amount is higher than the actual donation). When someone donates and qualifies for the matching gift, then fill out the matching gift form for them later and go back to them for their signature. Do not assume that they will fill out the form themselves. It is highly doubtful that they will. Take care of submitting the form for them. Many companies now have their matching gift program online too, but I have found that handling the entire process for your donors will get you more matching gifts in the long run. You can also research their company’s matching gift program via this site.

4. Post on Facebook. It’s that simple. Post the link to your webpage on Facebook and tell a little about your story. Ask friends to share your link. You never know what will happen. I’ve received donations via Facebook from complete strangers.

5. Start a blog or send update newsletters to your supporters. I have found that people love to follow your progress as you train and raise money. I’ve had people actually email me to ask where my latest newsletter was when I didn’t send one for a while. The newsletter should thank all your supporters, tell them about your progress and any difficulties you’ve encountered and also ask them to forward your newsletter to anyone else they know that might be willing to support you. You never know who someone else knows that is interested in the same cause or just likes to help others.

I hope these simple tips help you raise money. You can raise money for your favorite cause without going insane. If you have a favorite cause sign up for a big race and start raising money today. You’ll be surprised and encouraged by how generous and supportive people are.

Do you have any good ideas for how to raise money through simple means? Or maybe not so simple means? Please share in the comments. I’m always looking for new ideas and I’m sure many of my readers are too.

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4 Responses to How To Raise Money By Running

  1. maureen says:

    Thanks Karen – this is fabulous!!!
    I’ll throw in one more fundraising site http://www.crowdrise.com

  2. Kristen says:

    Great suggestions, Karen! Fundraising can be such a daunting task. I’m sure you are a total pro by now. It’s great to read about what your strategy is. I’m bookmarking this for when I run with a charity team again :) .