Fundraising tips for runners

Sometimes running is not just about staying healthy, getting fit or obtaining a personal best - sometimes running is also about raising funds for a specific cause. Fundraising may sound more difficult than running, but in the end is all about being enthusiastic and asking people for contributions in a heartfelt manner. It is a pretty straightforward process and can even be a lot of fun! Below you will find some helpful tips on how to raise money for your next charity run.

Tell everyone about your goal - Contact all your friends and family. Start by sending an e-mail to your biggest fans first, such as your parents and best friends. They will love reading about what you are doing and may accept your invitation to sponsor you. Then e-mail all your other contacts: work colleagues, long lost schoolmates and far flung friends. They will be really excited to hear about what you are doing, and this is a great reason to touch base again with people you have not seen for a while.

Put yourself out there - One of the best ways to ensure you reach your fundraising target is to tell everyone you know what you are going to do. As soon as your put yourself out there and pledge to do something, your pride will keep you going. When you are cold and tired and getting fed up with your training, the thought of giving up in front of all your friends will keep you on track, and if you say that you are going to raise a certain amount of money you will feel pretty embarrassed if you fall anything short of the amount you said. Promising yourself and those closest to you that you are going to do something will really motivate you to achieve it.

Involve your sponsors - Think of some fun ways for your sponsors to be part of your event. For example, you could get your friends to suggest crazy costumes for you to compete in and ask them to vote for the best one. People will be even happier to sponsor you knowing that they have got a chance to make you look ridiculous! Another idea could be promising to post an embarrassing photo of yourself once you reach a certain fundraising target. Anything that makes contributing more fun for your supporters can only be a good thing, so get creative!

Involve your social networking contacts - If you are a fanatical online networker, why not use it to tell everyone about your goal? You could update your social network profile to include information about your fundraising goal. Get you friends to do the same, chat about it, put up photos and details, and encourage all your online contacts to sponsor you too. You could also post information about your running event on any blogs or forums you are subscribed to.

Involve your workplace - Your company could be a huge source of sponsorship. Many companies offer to match sponsorship their employees raise, sometimes actively seeking ways to support charities and local good causes. If your company is not one of them, you could explain to your boss that sponsoring you would be a great way of boosting employee morale and promoting the company's charitable efforts. Good employers love to support go-getting employees as it reinforces the team spirit and also makes their company look good. There are even tax breaks on corporate donations, so sponsoring you will actually be cheaper than it seems. You could also mention your fundraising effort in your company website or intranet, in your office newsletter, or just at the bottom of your e-mail signature.

Involve local businesses - As well as targeting your own workplace you could approach other businesses for sponsorship. Local businesses in particular will love to support community projects because it is such great publicity for them. You could offer to thank them in any media coverage you get. Even just by letting your friends and family know how great they are will boost the company's reputation and provide them with invaluable local good will. All pretty good reasons for them to sponsor you.

Involve your neighborhood - Get creative and make up some posters and flyers about your fundraising effort. This is a great way of reaching people if you don't have their e-mail addresses. Leave the posters in your local shops, post office, bank, community center, church, gym, or anywhere you are known or where you might find like-minded people.

Involve the local media - Newspapers and radio stations, particularly local ones, are always looking for human interest stories that will capture the imagination of their audience. While many runners in your area may be participating in the same charity event, think about what makes you unique. What do you find personally challenging about participating? Do you have a specific goal that you are aiming for? Are you planning to compete in a weird and wonderful way? Whatever your story, let the media run a feature on you and your fundraising effort, and be an inspiration for others.

Organize your own fundraising event - Hold a quiz night in your local pub, organise a fashion show, host a fancy dinner, throw a massive party for all your friends, or anything else you can think of. Fundraising events are a fun way of letting everyone know about your effort, and everyone wins - your friends have a fabulous time, you collect donations towards your fundraising target, and the causes you support get even more money.

Regularly update your progress - Keep everyone excited about what you are doing by regularly updating your fundraising progress. Remember to e-mail the status to everyone again, as this is a great way of reminding people to sponsor you if they have been putting it off. It might take a few rounds of e-mails before your busier friends decide to sponsoring you, but it will be worth it in the end.

Keep on fundraising after your event is over - Touch base one more time with everyone when you have actually completed your running event. They will be delighted to hear that you have been successful and might even make another donation to celebrate your achievement. Some people might have been waiting for you to finish the challenge before sponsoring you, so make sure you let them know that it is time to contribute. Experience shows that around 20% of sponsorship is received after an event has been completed, so send one last e-mail and give people a final nudge and a last chance to support you.

Since September 7, 2007 - © Aerostato, Seattle - All Rights Reserved.

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