How to Fundraise for a Charity Run

Whether you have no prior running experience, you’re in the beginner stages of the sport, or you’re an experienced runner looking for a new challenge, charity runs are the perfect way to enjoy the sport while raising money for an important cause. From training in advance of a race to ensuring you have the correct running gear, charity races or marathons are often set out in a similar way to the standard non-charity versions of the sport. However, most charity runs tend to be beginner-friendly and have the added benefit that, by raising money for your chosen non-profit, you’ll not only be helping a cause that you may feel passionate about but your funds can help them to support more people in need.

No matter if you’re planning your first run for charity, or you have completed a number of charity runs in the past but are looking for extra tips and advice on how to attract sponsors and make the most of your run, read on to find the best ways you can fundraise for your charity race.

Why run for charity?

Whether you’re running for a cause that supports an issue which has affected you personally, or a charity that has helped you or someone close during a tough time, running for a particular non-profit that means a lot to you or your family is one of the best things you can do to support the cause and return the favour. By running for charity, you’ll be raising vital funds that can help the charity itself and the individuals they support in a number of different ways. For instance, among other things that the money you raise can do, it can help to fund potentially life-saving research, or provide the people that the non-profit helps or looks after with the support or assistance they need to live a normal life. 

As an additional benefit, particularly for smaller charities, is that by running for them, you will be raising important funds and awareness, which they might need to continue operating as a non-profit. But most of all, running for a charity close to you can provide that extra motivation you may need to perform your best on race day and help you raise as much money as possible. 

What charities can I run for?

In most cases, there are two main ways in which you can run for charity. The first option is to participate in a race hosted by a particular non-profit. For instance, a popular charity race in the UK that attracts thousands of participants each year is the Race for Life, which is hosted by Cancer Research UK. With a number of running and walking races in many locations across the country, these usually take place in spring and summer. The money raised by those competing helps to fund cancer research, as well as helping the charity support those affected by cancer.

However, many other non profits also host charity runs or other sporting events across the year, so if you see a charity you’re keen to support, we would recommend looking at the relevant pages on their website for upcoming events, or keeping up to date with their social media.

Alternatively, the second option is that if you already have a charity in mind but find that they don’t host any running races or sporting events, you can still run in aid of this charity at a local running race or marathon. 

Whether you plan on running at an event organised by a charity, or running in aid of a charity at a standard race or marathon, we advise choosing a cause close to you, or one that has had a positive impact on your life, or the life of someone close to you. Choosing a charity this way can act as a motivating factor that will help to drive you to do well and even raise more money during the run. If you choose a charity that means something to you, it’s likely that this non-profit will also hold some meaning for your friends and family, so this could make them more inclined to donate to help you support your cause.

PRO TIP: If you’re keen to run for charity but aren’t sure where to look, the Find a Race website is a great tool to use. Showing races for runners of all levels that are looking to participate in either charity or non-charity running races, we would recommend using this finder if you’re struggling to find a race near you.

How do I prepare for a charity run?

Once you have chosen a run, we would recommend preparing well in advance for this. There are a number of steps you’ll need to take to ensure you’re ready for the day, and you may need to have enough sponsors for your run to participate. Some charity runs even set a minimum donation amount that runners need to meet to take part. Below are a number of ways to prepare before running for charity. 

Get your kit ready

Whether it turns out to be warm and sunny or cold and rainy on race day, we would recommend having running wear prepared for all kinds of eventualities. Even if you don’t end up wearing some of the running gear on the day, you can still use it to practice in. From when you start to train until you run the race, our guide on what to wear when running can help you decide on all the essentials you might need. If you’re looking to add a message or charity logo to your running wear, or the branding of a local business that may have offered to sponsor you, we offer personalised training wear. To customise your running gear, select ‘customise’ and ‘sponsors’.

Book well in advance

Since you’re running for charity and not just for yourself, we would recommend taking steps that will help you get the most out of the race and support your non-profit. For instance, one tip is to book the race a few months in advance so you can fit plenty of practice in, which is particularly important if you’ve signed up for a longer charity race, such as a 10k. If you’re not sure how to prepare, although a running race is generally seen as shorter than a marathon, you can still pick up some useful tips from our blog on how to train for a marathon. You’ll also need this extra time to promote your run, raise awareness of your charity and gain enough sponsors before the day.

Set up an online sponsor page

Gone were the days of sponsor forms, which often get muddy, wet and misplaced. Although you might be able to use a sponsor sheet, we would advise setting up an online fundraising page, such as a Just Giving page, prior to the run. This also means that money can be deposited straight away, so that you don’t have to chase any sponsors for payments or keep track of cash. However we would recommend setting up the page while keeping the governments’ guidance on fundraising legally and responsibly in mind. It’s also advisable to check the regulations of the race before signing up.

In addition to following the guidance, another tip is to always add a personal perspective to your page. Talk about why you want to raise money for that particular organisation, and why they mean a lot to you. Adding pictures of you, or another image relevant to your story, can help viewers form an emotional connection to your experience, making them more inclined to donate. 

How to raise money for charity by running

Once you have everything you need for the race, it’s time to think about how you can fundraise in-time for your charity run. Below, we’ve listed a few examples of the different ways you can raise money for your charity for the walking or running race and secure as many funds as possible to support your non-profit.

Use social media to promote your run

There are many ways you can use Facebook, Instagram or other social media platforms to let your followers know that you’re running for charity and are looking for donations. One way you can do this is by using a Fitbit or the Strava app to track your progress during practice runs and posting your progress from these to social media in the weeks leading up to the race, while encouraging friends and family to share these posts. The more people that are aware you’re running for charity, and that see you’re making progress, the more likely you are to attract a high number of sponsors or donations. We also recommend using the platforms to raise awareness of your charity of choice to your followers, which can help to give them a better understanding on the ‘why’ aspect. 

Set a recommended donation amount

As a general tip, we would also recommend specifying how much you want people to donate, as you may get some people asking you. Depending on the size of the race, around £5-£10 per mile seems a fair ask. Some charity races even set a minimum donation requirement for their participants.

Get your local community involved

A great way of raising funds while getting your local community involved is to host a bake sale or coffee morning. Allowing you to spend time with your friends and family while raising funds for your charity of choice, organising a small-scale event is a fun and effective way to raise money. 

If you’re looking at organising an event to raise funds before you run for charity, start by contacting your local community centre or village hall. When you’ve found a spot, advertise your coffee morning or bake sale on social media and put posters up on community notice boards. Next, put a Facebook event page up, which can help give you an estimate on how many people are interested in attending the event. Once you have an idea of how many are going to be attending, the next job is to bring enough baked goods along with you to cater to this demand. If there’s a lot of people going, you could even get your close friends and family to take part and bring some along too. Set enough tables up for the attendees to eat and drink at, while ensuring

there's enough hot and cold drinks. You may also wish to charge a small entry fee to the event. 

Alternatively, if you know someone else who is running an event, such as a book club or coffee morning, why not ask them if you can run your event alongside theirs or host a joint event? This will help save you from having to organise it all.

Encourage friends to run with you

If you find the charity you’re running for also has some meaning or plays some part in your friends’ or family members’ lives, encourage them to run with you! Having more people on board to support, raise awareness and ultimately raise money for your charity of choice means that even more can be done to help a non-profit that may have helped you or someone close in the past.

Running wear at Avec Sport

There are many ways you can fundraise for your charity run, but another important aspect that we recommend considering is the running wear you’ll be wearing on the day. We advise planning this well in advance of the day. From running shorts to leggings, overlays and more, the range of running gear at Avec Sport features high quality and durable pieces for everyone.