Running for charity can be a double-edged sword for many runners. In terms of the positives, you are taking on a challenge in aid of a cause that means a lot to you, and that alone can give you previously untapped reserve of motivation and determination when things are getting tough.
On the other hand, if you have been granted a place in a race based on agreeing to raise a set amount of money, the pressure you feel to try and hit that target can weigh heavily on you while you’re trying to focus on your training. That’s where the The Running Bug’s top tips for fund-raising can come in handy. Employ these tactics to make sure you maximise the money you make for your chosen charity.
1. Go social
Once you have set up your online fundraising page, a great way to distribute the link to as many people as possible is to post it on Facebook, Twitter, The Running Bug and any other social media networks you have accounts on. Some pages have widgets you can embed on your Facebook pages to make them visible to anyone looking at your page.
Don’t go over the top with posting your link every day, but if you get a nice donation from someone or hit a particular milestone on the way to your target, use these as an opportunity to say thanks to your donors so far. These posts will prompt others who have not yet contributed to follow suit.
3. Keep a training blog
Another way to keep your fundraising mission in the minds of your friends and family is to blog about your training. You can post weekly updates – they don’t need to be War and Peace – to let everyone know how you’re doing, how far you’ve run and how you got on in any races you’ve entered as part of your training. At the bottom of these blog posts, you can make sure you include the link to your page.
4. Make it personal
On your fundraising page, you have the chance to explain why you have decided to raise money for this particular charity. Whatever the reasons, they are personal to you, and sharing these with people will help them see how serious you are about what you’re doing.
5. Other communities
Are you a member of a gym? Have you got a bunch of workmates interested in what you’re doing? Make a concerted effort to engage the groups of people outside your friends and family network and you will widen the pool of potential sponsors.
6. Get creative
There is more you can do than make direct appeals to people to put their hands in their pockets. Think of events you can host at small cost to bring people together. These could include a bake-off at work, a quiz night in a local hall or maybe a sweepstake whereby you can ask people to guess your finish time with a small prize for whoever comes closest.
7. After the event
It’s important to remember that race day doesn’t have to be the last day you can raise money. Once you have run your race, it’s a great time to shout about your achievement and coax more people out of the woodwork to donate to your page. For many people, until an event has happened, they won’t take any notice, but upon hearing what an amazing thing you’ve done, their wallets may be just a little looser.
8. Do your homework
9. Consider your outfit
You might baulk at the idea of donning an outlandish fancy dress outfit for your race, but if you really want to get the donations rolling in, telling everyone you’re tackling a marathon dressed as a giant Womble will be mightily effective. It doesn’t have to be a park-dwelling fictitious rodent from South London. There is an endless amount of fancy dress ideas, so think about it.
10. Sell every mile
Offer people the chance to buy one of your miles, and promise to dedicate that mile to them. You can pledge to channel all your good thoughts during that mile of the race to them, and if you really wanted to, you could schedule a series of social media posts to go out as you’re running each mile, stating who you’re thinking about at that very moment!