If you’ve been following along on my running journey for awhile now you may know that I’ve chosen to run in support of different charities several times over the past few years, in fact, the whole reason I began running was to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) in memory of my friend Kerry. (You can read Kerry’s story HERE.)
Since my 3rd race with a charity team is right around the corner, I thought it would be relevant to share a post about running for a cause.
Many people are familiar with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s signature endurance fundraising program, Team in Training (think people in purple shirts!). Team in Training provides wonderful benefits for fundraisers that are part of their team including group coaching and training and fundraising resources.
Unfortunately because of my crazy work schedule at the time it didn’t make sense for me to run with Team in Training, but LLS was still able to set me up with a fundraising page to raise money for them on my own.
Armed with the knowledge that I was raising money in memory of someone who had meant a lot to me, I trained myself to go from a complete non-runner to completing my first half marathon in just about 5 months!
Last year I decided to join Team Animal League to run the New York City Marathon in support of North Shore Animal League, and in less than a week I’ll be on the streets of Washington DC as I Run for Autism at the Marine Corps Marathon.
To date I have raised over $7,000 for these organizations, something I am incredibly proud of!
So, here are some thoughts and tips from my experience running for a cause…
Why run for a charity?
Having a bad run? Remember you’re running for a great cause and it’ll certainly help turn your attitude around and get you across the finish line!
2. Group Support
Whether you are running with a group like Team in Training and actually doing runs together or just interacting virtually (many teams have Facebook groups), the support of being a part of a team is invaluable! There are also often great race weekend benefits such as team dinners, pre and post race charity tents to hangout in and fundraising incentives.
You’ll also most likely get a race shirt or singlet to wear on race day so a) you’ll really feel like part of a team and b) everyone will know you’re there because you raised money for a great cause!
3. Entry into sold out or lottery events.
I love that so many races that either sell out quick or are a lottery entry offer the option to gain entry through charity teams, it’s a win-win, runners get to participate in an otherwise sold out event and money is raised for a good cause!
Tips for Fundraising:
1. Choose a charity you have a connection to!
I can’t stress enough how important this is!
We’ve all be touched by one cause or another in some way, if you’re going to run in support of a cause be sure to choose one that you are passionate about! (And no, “they had the lowest fundraising minimum” does not count as being “passionate” for a cause!)
2. Tell people WHY they should donate to you for this cause.
If you’re going to ask people to donate to your fundraising efforts, you sure as heck better tell them why this cause is important to you and why you feel they should part with a few of their hard earned dollars to support you. (I can tell you I am personally more inclined to donate to someone who shows a true passion or connection to the cause they are fundraising for!)
3. Be sure to thank your donors!
As soon as I receive a donation I do my best to send a quick (and personal!) e-mail to the donor to thank them for their contribution. I also like to send a follow up e-mail to all donors AFTER the race to let them know how my race experience went and the total amount I raised – my first race I actually sent out a card with my finish line picture on it to all my donors!