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Whether you want to enhance your corporate team building or expand your community connections, charity races are exceptional opportunities to engage your community. They provide a chance to get active and connect participants under one meaningful cause.

To make the most of your charity run experience, follow these four tips:

  1. Choose a Compelling Cause to Support
  2. Recruit Participants
  3. Make it Fun for Everyone
  4. Amplify Your Impact

Keep in mind that building a community (whether corporate or otherwise) can take time, so many of these tips extend beyond just participating in race day. That means your organization might want to consider additional ways to generate excitement and foster relationships leading up to and following the event. With this in mind, let’s begin!

1. Choose a Compelling Cause to Support

There are so many causes worthy of community support, from human rights to education-based and beyond. Narrow your selection by evaluating your community or workplace’s preferences and values.

To get your community on board with your charity race plans, choose a relevant cause that resonates with their passions and values. Then, research existing nonprofit charity races that fit this description.

For example, if your organization has several employees interested in supporting wildlife, you might identify a conservation-based nonprofit to support. This way, they’ll be more likely to get involved and stay engaged throughout the planning process and race day.

When selecting an organization to support, consider these guiding questions:

  • Does it reflect my community or workplace values?
  • Does this cause have a positive reputation?
  • What partnerships or collaborations does it have with other organizations?
  • Does it offer compelling, recent examples of impact?

Once you’ve decided, browse the organization’s website and social media for more information about their charity race schedule. Then register as a “charity race runner” or “fundraiser”. You can also check charity race directories and sort them by distance or state to find a race option that works best for you.

2. Recruit Participants

Your selected nonprofit will often have helpful information in recruiting participants for the upcoming charity race. Use it as a reference to describe the cause your organization is supporting and why it matters. For instance, Break the Stigma provides this description to get more participants interested in their upcoming run/walk:

“We believe that mental health conditions are important to discuss year-round, but highlighting them during Mental Illness Awareness Week provides a dedicated time for mental health advocates across the country to come together as one unified voice. That is why we are bringing awareness through our virtual run/walk, to help spread awareness and break the stigma!”

Use this language in your race-related communications, including:

  • Informational sessions: Host a company or organization meeting to discuss your plans to support the charity race. Review registration, key dates, and why your company believes it’s a worthy cause to support. Provide additional fundraising information if your team would like to learn more.
  • Personal and professional outreach: Reach out to other organizations and personal networks to join in on your activities for the charity race day. For instance, you might encourage friendly competition between a sister company to see who can raise the most or get the best race times.
  • Local business outreach: Partner with local businesses to see if they’d be interested in joining or helping you promote the charity race movement. For example, you could print flyers and ask local gyms or running retailers to highlight them in their stores.

Throughout this process, communicate with your chosen nonprofit. Attend any planned events to connect with their staff, learn more about their cause, and explore how you can help. This way, you can connect to other passionate fundraisers and build a wider network.

3. Make it Fun for Everyone

Charity races are great fundraising opportunities, but everyone may not share the same level of investment. Just be mindful and make an extra effort to include your community leading up to and during the event. You can do this by:

  • Highlighting other ways to engage: For the most participation possible, communicate alternative ways to participate. Everyone may not be up for a physical activity like an in-person race, so, if applicable, note virtual options or suggest teammates come out for community support on race day.
  • Hosting pre-events: Think about starting a running club to increase motivation and build a reliable support network. You can use this running club to get in shape before the race day and learn more about your fellow participants. Or you can host a workout session to get everyone ready.
  • Offering incentives: Additional company-branded merchandise, gift cards, or even additional time off are compelling incentives that can convince your organization to get involved. You could even host an internal competition and recognize top participants.

Another way to increase investment is by measuring progress. Use leaderboards or fundraising thermometers to highlight how much your organization has raised and how many more participants or dollars you have left before the event.

4. Amplify Your Impact

Besides running in the race, there are a few ways to make your contributions go even further. These include:

  • Matching gifts: If your organization does not have one already, consider starting a matching gift program to match your employee’s donations and double their impact. Double the Donation’s matching gift guide suggests setting a matching gift deadline to ensure all employee’s requests are seen and answered.
  • Peer-to-peer fundraising: Nonprofits often have peer-to-peer fundraising options where participants create fundraising pages to raise funds and awareness. Use your selected nonprofit’s guidelines to look for templates and examples to follow.
  • Volunteer: If your chosen nonprofit is local, consider volunteering year-round. It will strengthen your connection to their mission and help you build community throughout the year.

Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box when looking for more ways to support. As an example, you can run an athletic shoe drive fundraiser to boost your impact. Simply partner with an athletic shoe drive fundraising partner like Sneakers4Good, and collect new and gently used athletic shoes from your organization. Then, ship the shoes and collect a check in the mail to donate to your chosen nonprofit.

Charity races are fabulous opportunities to support worthy causes and create lasting connections. Use the above tips to make your charity race experience an exciting team-building event. For more ways to get involved, reach out to your selected nonprofit organization for any additional needs they may have. That could include in-kind donations on race day or volunteering with race set-up.

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