Thoughts On Joining a NYCM Charity Team

As I’m sure everyone knows yesterday was the lottery drawing for the New York City Marathon.

Not surprisingly, I didn’t get in.

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This is my 3rd year applying and not getting in, so next year I’ll have a guaranteed entry.

The only problem is just about all of my running friends are running THIS year and I’d really rather do when people I know are doing it!

So, to be ready for this situation, earlier in the week I had already starting researching the NYCM partner charities and found an organization I’d be interested in fundraising for.  I e-mailed the contact a few times and told them as soon as I heard back from the lottery I’d confirm with her so that I didn’t commit to them and then accidentally end up with 2 bibs.

However, while I was waiting for my lottery e-mail yesterday I was looking through the charity team information and realized it was worded that in exchange for your fundraising you would receive “guaranteed entry” to the marathon, not specifically “entry” into the marathon, which made me wonder if I actually needed to still PAY for the race registration on top of fundraising…

I e-mailed the charity and sure enough, not only do you have to raise a minimum of $2,500 (or more depending on the charity), but you DO also have to pay the full NYRR race registration fee of $255.

I’m not quite sure how I feel about this.  Fundraising is hard work, and I think the bib should be included for your efforts, not just the opportunity to BUY a bib.

I understand that by doing it this way more money is going directly to the charity, but even if they had to raise the fundraising minimum, I think the bib should be factored in as a cost associated with the program, same as the t-shirt & bag they send you, or any cost associated with any fundraising event.  (Which by the way, IS the way that some of the NYCM charities do it, their fundraising minimums are much higher though.)

I’m not writing this post to complain, but rather to see what you think.  I’m still torn on whether I want to fundraise and pay the $255 NYRR registration fee on top of it to do the marathon this year with friends, or if I should just wait until 2015 when I’ll have the 4 year guaranteed entry.

What do you think…

Are you ok with having to raise $2,500 AND pay the $255 registration fee?

Or do you think a race entry should be included for your fundraising efforts?

**UPDATE: I just double checked and apparently I’m NOT guaranteed entry next year…2014 was the last year for that. Very frustrating!**

40 thoughts on “Thoughts On Joining a NYCM Charity Team

  1. Tough call. I’d probably wait – you could always fundraise next year and donate the money to whatever charity you want, not necessarily one affiliated with the race. Not only that, but it’s a big race, I’m sure you will know people doing it in 2015 too!

  2. I ran the 2007 NYC Marathon for charity. I fundraised and paid the registration fee. That said, the fee was considerably lower back then–about $100 lower. I guess it depends how badly you want to run this year versus next. Or why not run for one of the charities that have a higher fundraising minimum but include the bib?

    • Honestly, I think if the registration fee was less I wouldn’t mind as much.

      My only problem with doing one of the charities that includes a bib is that their minimums are MUCH more ($1,000) and I’m worried about being able to reach that goal, and I feel strongly about fundraising for an organization I have a connection to or passion for and unfortunately none of the ones that include a bib fit the bill : (

  3. My issue with this is that if I were to run for charity and not raise the money, I’m still accountable for it – so, I have to pay for a bib and potentially a big donation?! I love the idea of running for charity, but it’s a huge commitment (because, you know, marathon training isn’t enough of a commitment on its own!).

  4. That’s weird. I thought most charities included a race entry when you raise the skrilla. Bummer. I do think it should be included for sure!
    So you get a guaranteed entry your 4th year? I wish the London Marathon had that policy – I’m 0/6 so far.

  5. It wasn’t for the NYCM but when I ran Dumbo for the AT Project, I had to pay the full price registration fee separate for the fundraising…but my minimum was also only $600. I see your point, but at the same time since the only thing I experienced was this way, I never really thought about it another. I think if you REALLY want to run NYCM this year and you REALLY think this charity is something you want to raise money for (and you have the budget for it) then you should probably do it.

    • If the fundraising minimum was lower or the race registration was less I’d be ok with it, it’s the combination of high registration AND high minimum fundraising amount that just seems to be too much. And I don’t think I can say I REALLY want to do NYCM so I’ll probably just pass.

  6. From a purely financial standpoint, if running it this year means a lot to you, and you found a charity you’re happy to raise funds for, I would say pay the fee in addition to fundraising and think of it as you’re getting a discount on your fundraising goal in exchange for paying for the bib out of pocket. I know some of the charities probably offer some additional value for fundraising–like training groups, coaching, etc. but I doubt that’s something you’re in need of.

    Looking through the charity information, I’m not crazy about how some charities are really unclear about whether or not the $3,000 fundraising minimum includes a bib or not–which sounds like what you might have experienced with this charity. I kinda like the terms and conditions a little more clearly spelled out… Personally, I suck at fundraising so I’d probably never end up running with a charity.

    • So apparently I’m S.O.L. since this was the last year for the 4 year entry, I have no idea why but I really thought 2015 was the last year. Oh well. And I agree, I think the part I’m kind of annoyed about is that a lot of the charity websites are very vague and don’t flat out say you have to pay your own registration fee.

      • I was pretty surprised, a lot of them I could genuinely not discern that I had to pay for it and it never would’ve occurred to me to look at that information if you hadn’t mentioned it–I would’ve gone on the normal practice of “bib is included in fundraising.”

  7. I have considered the charity option as well. I do think the fundraising levels are high and should include a bib. I know the charities offer a ton of “extras” but I am not in the NYC area to take advantage of training runs and get together’s. I haven’t ruled it out you because I would like to run for the Hope for Warriors program. I just need to see if it is possible to fund raise with everything else going on.
    I also would check the guarantee entry situation. I am in the same situation where I was denied entry in 2012,2013, and now 2014. I think 2014 was the last year that they are letting people in if they were denied in 2011,2012, and 2013. I think we missed it by a year 😦
    Tough call!

  8. That is one hefty registration fee on top of fundraising. I hope the guaranteed entry is still in effect after trying for three years. Another blogger mentioned that was no longer an option….be sure to check that out before you make up your mind. (not trying to alarm you, just don’t want you to be disappointed.)

  9. Sorry again that you didn’t get in this year. Totally SUCKS. 😦 But it’s great that you’ll still be able to take advantage of the policy to get in next year! I was doing tons of research on this because I never expected to get in via the lottery, and I can definitely understand the hesitation — raising $2,500+ dollars AND still having to buy your bib is crazy. It should definitely be included. I know I’d have a REALLY hard time trying to find enough people to donate, and to add that stress on top of actually training for the marathon is nuts. It’s a really tough call. It sounds like you have at least one or two friends running next year, so it might be worth it to wait? Whatever feels right to you!

    • Unfortunately it turns out I was wrong and I DON’T have guaranteed entry next year. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to wait and see if I ever get in through the lottery, if not there are plenty of other great races!

  10. Fundraising for NYCM is always more because it’s so hard to get into. I think they should include the bib cost in the amount, though. But the cool thing about NYCM is no matter what someone you know is going to be running it any given year and the year you do run it, you’ll meet and make more friends! I’m so sorry you didn’t get in, but since you live so close I do highly recommend the 9+1 option.

    • I’m actually totally fine with the minimum fundraising amount, it’s paying for my bib on top of that that I’m not really sold on.

      And unfortunately 9+1 ends up being pretty expensive (especially while I’m back in school!) and I just don’t want to do NYCM bad enough to give up other races and spend all my money on the 9+1 races. Oh well, plenty of other races to do!

  11. Pingback: Weekly Training Recap | Live, Run, Grow

  12. My two cents, for what it’s worth! 🙂 I understand why they would put the race registration on top, but you’d think they would make the minimum less in that case. It does seem like the race fees should be included in the overall amount. If its something you want to do, I’d say go for it, because you never know what can happen in the next year. My question to myself when trying to make a decision is am I going to cry about not doing it? And if the answer is yes, then do it. If not, then there are all sorts of other fish (or races) in the sea!

    • Yeah, I sort of feel the opposite…I’m ok with the minimum amount to be raised, but I think the bib should be the “thank you” in exchange for raising that much $, not just getting the opportunity to buy my own bib. Oh well!

      And no, I definitely don’t think not doing NYCM this year is a decision I would cry about, I really only want to do NYCM because as a runner I feel like I’m “supposed to”. I’ll be just as happy doing a different (MUCH less expensive!) race : )

  13. I love your statement about being willing to run for a charity you have a connection to or believe in their cause. I think when you find a charity whose mission you have a passion for helping, you will have no difficulty raising the minimum requirement. I ran for the John Ritter Foundation’s “Team Ritter” last year in honor of my family’s experience with an aortic dissection, which is what the actor John Ritter, died from in 2003. For me personally, I would have felt uncomfortable if the JRF would have paid for my bib because ultimately it would mean that some of my friends’ and family’s donations to the charity were actually going towards paying for my bib. I was comfortable paying the NYRR the race fee and felt it was well worth the money for the services and high quality prevent they provided. I can’t say enough about the amazing experience of running in the NYCM and the incredible support provided by the JRF and John Ritter’s family who truly embraced and encouraged the 15 members of Team Ritter and they genuinely treated us like family. I have made lifelong friends with my teammates who are spread out from across the US, Canada and Virgin Islands. If you have any questions regarding my experience running for a charity or specifically running for the JRF, I’d be happy to help. Love your blog!

    • Hi Stacy, first of all, thank you so much for your comment, it’s great to hear that you had such a good experience fundraising and running for Team Ritter! I have to admit I sort of flip flop back and forth on this whole thing…on the one hand I completely agree that my donors shouldn’t be actually paying for my race entry, but at the same time having worked in fundraising and non-profit in the past, whenever I had any sort of fundraising event or program there were always some costs associated with it that were usually something the participant or fundraiser got in return for their efforts whether it was the event itself or some sort of appreciation gift. In this case I sort of feel like it’s a lot to have to raise that much money and pay the full registration fee…it especially bothers me that I can’t necessarily afford to pay the registration fee AND make a decent donation to the cause myself…I’d much rather be able to make a sizable donation, but with already having to pay $255 I wouldn’t really be able to : (

      Oh well, still working out my thoughts on this one!

  14. Pingback: Thoughts on Joining a NYCM Charity Team – Part 2 | Live, Run, Grow

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