One of the most effective and popular tools to create awareness, raise money and increase community support for a cause is fundraising. These events and activities can take many forms, but a healthy and successful favorite is the 'fun run fundraiser'. They are a powerful and healthy way for charities and/or non-profit organizations to spread their message to the wider community and gather the funds required.

Non-profit organizations, often educational, religious, political or philanthropic, put donations towards a variety of needs, including environmental issues, political campaigns, research organizations, religious activities, renovations and expansions. Sometimes, a fundraiser is for a specific individual or family and the funds raised are to offer support in time of hardship. So, if you are interested in organizing a fun run fundraiser for a non-profit organization or an individual in need and are not sure where to start, keep reading!

What Is a Fundraiser?

A fundraiser is an annual, ongoing or onetime event held to gather financial contributions from individuals and businesses for non-profit organizations or individuals in need. It can also include grants and other sources of capital from profitable organizations.

fun run

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Types of Fundraisers

On average, one in five Americans attend a charity event each year. These events often relate to hospitals, religious activities, educational institutes and social services and diversify the way money can be raised. These include:


  • Major-gifts Fundraisers (Usually the single, largest donations an organization receives)
  • Events Fundraisers (Fun Run Fundraiser, Comedy Night, Galas)
  • Planned-giving Fundraisers (Tax advantage for the donors, includes a variety of assets: stock, securities, property and cash)
  • Annual Campaign Fundraisers (Charity Balls, Marathons, Morning Teas)
  • Capital-Campaign Fundraisers (Hospitals and Educational institutions use this to raise money for construction and building renovations)

Direct-mailing became a successful method for fundraising in the 1960s, but with most of the world living digital lives now and attributing post to junk mail and advertising, this is turning obsolete.

Ways to Raise Funds

guys on a marathon

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There are two main ways to raise funds for an organization, and you can apply both to your fun run fundraiser:


  1. Face to Face - A more traditional approach, this involves directly asking for donations either in person or over the phone
  2. Online Fundraising - This virtual form of fundraising has emerged in recent years and uses the method of grassroots fundraising to get the maximum exposure and the maximum amount of donations (no matter the amount)

By combining strategies from face to face and online fundraising, you will expand the community's awareness of the event and increase opportunities for donations: digitally and in person.

The Importance of Planning Your Fundraiser

Whenever you create a fundraising event, it is paramount that you have a strong strategic plan of action. Having a clear idea and approach to your fun run fundraiser in terms of organization, logistics, budget and marketing will establish who you are and what you are doing for the community and your team.


A concrete plan enables volunteers, employees and donors to identify your goals and confidently support them.

The Benefits of Planning

marathon

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The stronger your strategic plan is, the stronger your benefits will be; and once the key areas are understood by your team, every person involved in creating the event will confidently know their role before and on the day.


Other benefits of a plan include:

 

  • Keeps everyone involved in the campaign on the same page
  • Builds organizational consensus about future directions
  • Establishes a time frame to start critical issues
  • Identifies those responsible for spearheading certain assigned tasks
  • Sheds light on strengths and weaknesses of the event
  • Illustrates the issues and plans behind their fundraising needs
  • Identifying and clarifying key areas that translate the organization's mission

Planning will highlight significant aspects to do with your fun run fundraiser that may not have been initially considered. These include external factors, like the environment and its effect on your organization's operations. Ultimately, it can make sure you avoid small issues turning into large issues. You may have a team or board members experienced in planning, but there is a benefit to enlisting the help of a consultant. Consultants are impartial to the operations of the organization, so they can act objectively and provide insight and guidance throughout the planning stages.

How to Organize a Fun Run Fundraiser

The stronger your strategic plan is, the stronger your benefits will be; and once the key areas are understood by your team, every person involved in creating the event will confidently know their role before and on the day.


Other benefits of a plan include:

 

  • Keeps everyone involved in the campaign on the same page
  • Builds organizational consensus about future directions
  • Establishes a time frame to start critical issues
  • Identifies those responsible for spearheading certain assigned tasks
  • Sheds light on strengths and weaknesses of the event
  • Illustrates the issues and plans behind their fundraising needs
  • Identifying and clarifying key areas that translate the organization's mission

Planning will highlight significant aspects to do with your fun run fundraiser that may not have been initially considered. These include external factors, like the environment and its effect on your organization's operations. Ultimately, it can make sure you avoid small issues turning into large issues. You may have a team or board members experienced in planning, but there is a benefit to enlisting the help of a consultant. Consultants are impartial to the operations of the organization, so they can act objectively and provide insight and guidance throughout the planning stages.

The Purpose and Goal

You will be able to determine the details for your fun run fundraiser once you know what goals you are trying to achieve. Many events for charity have more than one goal, so you need to decide if the purpose of the event is only to raise money or to gain publicity for the organization and engage a new network of people, too.

After you have decided on
the 'who' and the 'why' for the fun run, you will be then work out the target figure for your donations and create a clear plan of action to reach that specific amount of money. Consider making your target figure the 'net amount' you need to raise, as you will have additional expenses required to facilitate the fun run fundraiser.

Know Your Donors

You need to know who your current and/or prospective donors are to position your fun run fundraiser in the most appealing light. Baby Boomers (born during 1946 -1964) and Generation X (born during 1965 -1980) often base the decisions of their investments and donations on the overall objectives of the fundraiser and the financial health and long-term goals of the organization. 

Millenials (anyone born after 1981), are a more fluid and emotive generation. Millenials favor live events because of the feeling of connectedness they experience being involved and the re-energized approach it instills in the community for growth, development and advancement.

According to studies in recent years, Baby Boomers are America's wealthiest and most generous donors, whereas Millennials account for just over 10% of all money given to charity. A fun run fundraiser is a clever event as it invites and engages members of the community (from all walks of life) in a healthy, outdoor activity that anyone can take part in.

People Give to People

A positive and honest relationship between you and your donors will ensure your fun run is a success! People want to trust people, so you have to be up front about the purpose of the event and speak to them via a medium they respect. Technology gives us the freedom to raise awareness and money from anywhere in the world.

Social media is an asset to fundraising efforts and should not be forgotten. Create profiles on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to engage and update your target audience on the fun run fundraiser. This will not only attract more people to your event but also help in maximizing the amount of funds you can raise too.

Budget

It is critical to remember that you need to raise additional funds beyond your target amount to cover the expenses of your fun run fundraiser. Create a complete budget listing all the expenses that are required to hold the event. This should include staff, invitations, venue hire, catering, any applicable entertainment, transportation, security, utilities, and anything else that will ensure your fundraiser is a success.

Set Up & Practice

To ensure your fun run fundraiser goes off without a hitch, use the following guide:

  • Select a venue (being flexible with your date may secure a venue at a lower cost)
  • Plan the route of your course and check it adheres to local and state safety regulations
  • Notify and obtain permission from your local council (depending on the size and location, you may require a permit)
  • Ensure health and safety protocols are in place for the event with medical aid readily available on the day
  • Set up well in advance
  • If food is being served or sold at the event, adhere to US food, health and service regulations

You won't need to practice your event, but it is imperative that your team know what their responsibilities are, where they should be during the event, and how the event will go.

Conclusion

morning fun run

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Fundraisers are opportunities to contribute to society in bigger and more meaningful ways. A fun run can provide a healthy, community driven event that increases awareness of your cause and raises much needed finance and support. Having a strong plan for your event will lead to a clear message and a successful fundraiser, which will inevitably encourage people to donate and get involved.

Featured Image via Pixabay