How to Make a Successful Race Fundraiser for Your Charity

Creating a race charity fundraiser can be a very rewarding experience. There are many different types of races you can create to raise money for charity. Whether you do a running, biking, triathlon, or any other type of race fundraiser, there are many great strategies for your race fundraiser to generate a lot of money. Below are some proven ways to raise a large sum of money for your nonprofit with a race.

Create a Race Fundraiser

Top 10 Tips for a Successful Fundraising Race

  1. Select a Charity You are Passionate About -read more
  2. Start Early with Your Fundraising Efforts -read more
  3. Have specific Mini Goals that a Single Donation Can Solve -read more
  4. Be Bold in Requesting Donations for your Nonprofit -read more
  5. Contact Everyone You Know and Everyone they know -read more
  6. Keep People Updated on Your Progress & Have a Follow Up System -read more
  7. Send a Personalized Thank-you Note to Each Donor -read more
  8. Take Advantage of Low Hanging Fruit -read more
  9. Learn from Experienced Mentor and Make Your Plans -read more
  10. Use Powerful Race Fundraising Software -read more

Select a Charity You are Passionate About

If you are a founder, employee, or board member of a charity, this step is already done for you, and you can skip to planning your race event and finding a mentor. For everyone else you will first want to think of a cause that moves you and then find, or even create, a charity around that cause. If you’ve had a friend or family member die from cancer, you won’t have to look far to find a charity around that cause. However, if you are moved by a cause that is less common, you may have trouble finding a charity around that cause. In this instance consider creating a 501-c3 charitable organization for this cause yourself. You will want to find like-minded people that share your passion for the cause to be on your board. Look particularly for people that have money, or are connected to others that have money. You need your board to help bring money. One of the challenges associated with creating your own charity for a specialized cause is that you may have trouble finding large numbers of people that share your concern and are willing to do something about it.

Start Fundraising and Advertising Your Race Early

One of the biggest mistakes we see people make is delaying the marketing of their race fundraiser. It takes time for people to discover your event and then have time for their friends, family and coworkers to become involved in your race fundraiser. Start the advertising of your fundraising race right away, so that you can benefit from friends of friends referring the people they know to your race. We recommend a minimum of 90 days to promote your fundraising race, and if you have less time than that, consider postponing your event. Races have many fixed costs, and the last thing you want is to turn your fundraiser into a fund-loser. The more time that you promote your race, the more time you have available to get a good turnout to your race, and the more time people have for event fundraising.

Have Specific Mini Goals That a Fundraiser Can Solve

People like to make a difference, and if you help them understand that even smaller donations make a difference their likelihood to contribute will increase. For example, if your charity does medical procedures overseas and you can correct a cleft pallet for $15 through the efforts of volunteer doctors, tell your potential donors the power of what a $15 donation does. For your charity, you would likely list a different donation amount, but use your creativity to think of something to show your donors a meaningful impact that the average person’s money can help you accomplish.

meet race fundraising goal

Be Bold in Requesting Donations for Your Nonprofit

Your charity’s cause is important, so don’t be timid. You will be surprised how many people will respond to a bold, well-crafted call to action. When you ask for revenue, make sure it is strong and frequent. For example, you should have a donate or fundraise button front and center on every page of your charity and/or race website. This request for revenue and for people to help you fundraise should come in all your marketing efforts such as social media posts, emails, fliers, charity events, board meetings, networking events, radio ads, TV ads, posters, etc. Be bold and be frequent with your request for people to fundraise and donate. People that fundraise for your race’s cause are even more helpful than the people that donate, because they can leverage the power of their social network. You want to expand the reach of your bold request to help your nonprofit cause.

Contact Everyone You Know and Everyone They Know

Find the heavy hitters of your community and make them a board member of your charity. A heavy hitter could be someone such as a local news anchor, or a college sports coach, who know a lot of people. A heavy hitter in your community could also just be a wealthy person. Wealthy people often have other wealthy people in their same social circle. In both cases these types of people (people that are known by many people, and people that are wealthy) have the funds and the network of people to have a profound impact on the ability for your cause to be successful. These are people that often have been highly successful or highly respected in society. Success breeds more success, so fill your board with as many of these types of people as you can. Make sure this doesn’t just become a token title for any of your board members. Help them catch the vision for your goals of the 501-c3, and put them to work. Just imagine all the good you can accomplish if you have the help of some high-profile people in the community that share your passion for your charity. Involve as many people as you can in your charity fundraising race. Even if someone is not on your board, they can still be a brand ambassador for your race. Learn how to grow your race.

Social marketing crowd fundraising

Keep People Updated on Your Progress

Every little bit of progress is worth reporting. Every time you broadcast any update, it is yet another opportunity for your cause and your charity’s brand to become foremost in the minds of your charity’s supporters. It is also an opportunity for more people to discover your race and the cause that your nonprofit charity supports. Update people regularly on your fundraising progress and any other progress related to your cause. For example, if your cause is to build orphanages, report when your team arrives in Haiti and begins framing. You should keep people updated through all major progress points of your fundraising and all major milestones in what your charity accomplishes. When people can see and read about the way they or their peers helped your charity accomplish something great, it will make them want to be more involved. It will also give them a story to tell their peers about your charity’s cause.

In addition to updating your people regularly, you will also want to have an effective follow-up system with your fundraisers. If you have fundraisers but don’t follow up with them on their progress, they can feel neglected. Any effective fundraising campaign requires regular follow-up. You may find that the fundraisers have questions, or need some assistance. Your follow-ups can help them with creative ideas on how to get their network engaged. Create your race fundraiser now.

Advertising and marketing your race fundraiser

Send a Personalized Thank-you Note to Each Donor

It is remarkable how ungrateful most people in society are. This can be used to the benefit of your race fundraiser. The more personalized you can be in expressing your gratitude to your donors and fundraisers, the better. People crave validation. We all want to know we are doing a good job, and are appreciated. If you serve that human need for your contributors, they will become even more loyal to your charity and your cause. We aren’t talking about a canned response here. People can smell computer generated responses a mile away. Imagine your donors receiving a hand-written thank-you note with a photo of a project you have been working on that their funds will help to continue. No one does this anymore, and that is why it will stand out in the minds of your donors and fundraisers. It may not be feasible to do this in every instance. Maybe you don’t have the mailing address for every donor, or maybe it would not be cost-effective on the donations under $10. But regardless of what you decide to do, make sure that you are emphatically and visibly grateful to your donors and people out there doing fundraising. They are the reason your charity can accomplish its causes. Find memorable ways to show your gratitude that differ from the other competing charities out there. Many 501-c3 organizations are all fighting for donations from the public. Shower your people with an abundance of gratitude, and it will pay dividends if you do it right. It is also the right thing to do.

Take Advantage of Low Hanging Fruit

There are so many easy ways to jump start your race fundraiser, and these areas should be some of the first things you focus on for your nonprofit event. They might include the following:

  1. Google has a grant of $10,000 a month in free AdWords dollars for 501-c3 organizations. Just imagine how many people you can get to sign up for your race and/or to fundraise with all these free advertising dollars. Learn about the Google grant of $10,000 per month by clicking here.
  2. There are many other grants available for charities that you can pursue for your race fundraiser. Just be wise and coordinate with the leadership of your nonprofit before applying for any grants.
  3. Pursue in-kind donations from media outlets like TV, radio, billboards, SEO companies, public relations, etc. Many of these entities have a budget set aside for donated space. Alternatively, they may at a minimum give you some public service announcements for your race fundraiser. If they still aren’t working with you, try offering a sponsorship of your event in trade for the exposure. Make sure you leverage board members of your charity that either have the best communication skills or are the most connected with the media.

Easy race fundraising software

Learn from Experienced Mentors and Make Plans

There are many people out there that have already built successful race fundraisers. Reach out to these people. Even if you must find someone out of state, it will be well worth your time to learn from a mentor about how to create a successful race fundraiser. There are race directors out there that have convinced tens of thousands of people to run in their events. There are other people that have raised millions of dollars for their charity with their event. We have even seen a small community put on a race with fewer than 200 participants raise over $150,000 for their charity at a single race. Even if you live in a small town like the above example, you can have a profound impact on your charity and your cause. Experienced mentors have seen successes and failures. Learn from these mentors so that you can avoid the challenges and opportunities they can make you aware of. They can also put you on the fast track to grow your race fundraising revenue. Some examples of races that raise money for charity can be viewed by clicking here.

Most of this page discusses the charitable aspects for race fundraisers. For logistics on how to create a race, click here.

Use Powerful Race Fundraising Software

Software for signing up your participants and helping your people fundraise should drive awareness of your cause through each participant’s network. The race fundraising software should make it easy for people to track their individual goals, team goals, etc. This software should be engaging and should also make it easy for team captains to engage with their peers. The more engagement and promotion these charity ambassadors have with their peers, the more money they and their peers will bring your cause. has an easy-to-use solution that has been proven to increase race registrations and drive more fundraising dollars for worthy causes. Get started now by clicking this button:

Create a Race Fundraiser