Marathons are the best platforms to raise awareness and raise funds as they are an intensely personal experience.
One of the biggest marathons in India is the Tata Mumbai Marathon and every year they partner with dozens of charities to support them with the funds they raise through their platform. To just give you an idea of what a large marathon can achieve – the Mumbai Marathon thus far has raised INR 196 crore for 550 NGOs and is by far the single largest philanthropic running event in India.
As an organiser, you would have to build something similar for your events, apart from getting industry-recognized certifications like AIMS and IAAF labels. Here are a few things you need to consider.
Start the registration process of the marathon early. As a ballpark, start your registration process 3 months ahead of race day. Ensure that when you make the announcement it is picked up by the press and the registration process is all set and ready to accept sign-ins. There are ways to get the word out such as signing up with a ticketing partner, emailers and tie-ups with running clubs. The other organisational aspects need more time and attention as you near race day so let the registration process be the first thing you start and with enough timeline to ensure that your event has enough time to garner attention
Ask for Contributions
You can directly list the charities that the marathon would be supporting and ask people to contribute in many ways. You can give them the option of donating to a particular charity or make a generic donation. You are raising money for a cause so you should ask for money without inhibition. During the registration process, ask the participants to donate. Make it a compulsory field that they need to address before proceeding towards payment. Even if the participant chooses not to contribute at least he was made aware of the option. Instill a sense of pride in the donors for supporting the cause
Be Convinced about the Cause
You are the advocate for the cause. Personal stories about people benefitted by the NGO or charity always help in garnering more donations. People need to feel a connection to the cause. This can be done by writing a compelling pitch about the cause and how the money will be utilized. This sort of clarity will ensure that people will contribute more generously. If you have a story about how previously raised money was utilized, this will also help in giving more credibility to your call for donation.
Call to Action
Never push people to donate a certain amount, let them decide what they want to give. If you have written a strong story then you will get appropriate donations. You can also ask them to share the fact that they donated on their social media and invite their friends and family to participate. More sign-ups means more visibility for the race and the cause. If someone has not donated while registering you can always ask for it when you are doing follow-up emails about details of the race, which gives you another window for asking for funds for the cause you are supporting.
Leverage Social Media
Tell the story about the race in your website pages, Facebook and Twitter accounts. Call for people to retweet, share and repost the story so that there are higher visibility and larger chances of attracting big donors. You can also publicize to companies about partnering and giving them running slots in return. This can be also leveraged on social media.
Update your donors’ post event
After the event is complete, remember to send a note to your donors about the amount of money raised for the charity and the impact that this would have on the charity’s work. It is important to make people feel special for contributing and this will help in further efforts to raise funds.
Running for charity is very popular right now and doing it the right way will always help achieve the charity goals you want.