I have had the opportunity to run races for charity on several different occasions. This past August, I ran the Falmouth Road Race as a part of the Running for Cover Team (Melanoma Foundation of New England). This charity is close to my heart since my step-father is currently battling Stage 3 melanoma. I think that running races for charity helps to give you that extra motivation that you might need to get out there and train hard. When you are lamenting some aspect of running and you start thinking about someone you are running for, it helps to keep things in perspective. That being said, fundraising for races can be challenging, so be prepared to think outside the box when it comes to raising money for your cause!
There are number of charity programs that are out there now that will provide you with entry into a high profile race, in addition to training programs. In fact, if you are still looking for a Boston Marathon number and did not qualify, the Melanoma Foundation of New England recently secured a couple of more spots (you must raise a minimum of $4000).
Other training programs include the popular Team in Training, which benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. In exchange for fundraising, Team in Training provides you with coaching via certified running coaches or online through that virtual coaching network and they have over 200 endurance events to choose from.
If you are looking to a do half marathon or marathon races for charity, here are a few things to keep in mind when fundraising for races:
- It’s helpful to pick a charity to which you have a personal connection. I find that this makes it easier for me to ask for donations when it’s something very close to my heart, and I have a strong personal interest in furthering the cause.
- Think outside the box when looking at fundraising options. Although the financial commitment may seem like a lot, if you can organize a few successful events, it will go a long way towards helping you meet your goal. Charity runners have hosted pub nights, silent auctions, bake sales, pie making during the holidays, tennis/golf tournaments, etc.
- Take advantage of the online programs that help you track and solicit donations. You can often load your e-mail contacts into these programs and personalize a message asking for donations. When donors can complete the whole process online quickly, they are that much more likely to donate.
- Don’t forget to follow-up! You may feel like you are being pushy by following up on an e-mail request for a donation, but sometimes people just overlook an e-mail or forget that they were planning on sending you a check.
- Keep everyone updated on your fundraising progress. This will help you push for more donations when you are really close to your goal,
- Personally thank ALL of your donors. Although the charity usually sends a notification of donation for tax purposes, a heartfelt thank you means a lot more!