BY NICKI CONROY, A 2016 ASHEVILLE MARATHON AMBASSADOR
Runners, as a general rule, are very giving people. There are photos that make the rounds of a variety of internet sites almost weekly of someone being injured near a finish line and being helped across by other runners. If one runner has stopped during a race, others will undoubtedly stop and ask if he or she needs help. Runners also help others who are not runners. Read on to see how awesome it is to run for charity and get to know our 2016 Asheville Marathon Charity Partners.
How, you may ask, do runners help others? Many runners run races for charities. The process for this will vary by race and non-profit organization but keep the mission similar. A non-profit will purchase or be given – this depends on the race – bibs for a specific race. The non-profit will then decide on how much money is going to be raised and set a fundraising goal for each charity runner.
As a charity runner, you are generally given a page where people can donate money. This page makes fundraising so much easier than when my kids were in school and they would sell all kinds of stuff for this group or that. When I ran my first race for a charity, I started by making a donation of my own. I figured I would donate the amount that I would have had to pay for my registration. This always gave me a start on my fundraising. And, when you think about it, I was going to register for the race anyway so had planned on spending that money.
The fundraising page is set up to allow you to email people. My next step was to email friends and family. I find that running for a cause I really believe in is best. I can pour my passion into a request for donations. Don’t just send out the canned email request for a donation. Explain to people why you are personally running for the organization. I have run for the American Lung Association – my mother died from lung cancer. I have run for ZERO Prostate Cancer – a friend had prostate cancer at the time. Letting people know that the cause you are running for is something you believe makes it easier for you to ask for a donation and easier for other people to want to help you.
Asheville Marathon ambassador Crystal Shirk has run on a charity bib and gives this flowering advice: “Running for a charity bib (for Teaching and Learning Collaborative) for the Disney Princess Glass Slipper Challenge was so much easier than I thought it would be. I looked for a location that donates to non-profits with sales, and they helped me the whole way. A little marketing and a few hours promoting my fundraiser on site, and thanks to Chipotle, I was able to raise well over my required amount for my charity bib!”
Once you’ve asked those close to you, go ahead and branch out. Ask local service groups if you can speak to their group about your cause and the race you are running. Post on Facebook, Twitter and other online sites asking these acquaintances to donate to your cause.
Talk to people in groups you belong to about donating to your cause. You may wonder what groups I’m referencing. Here’s a partial list to consider:
- adult sport leagues
- social clubs
- service organizations – touched on a bit above
I put a link in my email signature so that every email I sent out basically asked for support for my charity. I had clients that I work for donating to my cause.
Asheville Marathon ambassador Leslie Sloan says that running for a charity gave her motivation to train, “Every time a donation came in, it gave me another reason to go for a run. Not just for myself but because I knew I had a whole crew of friends and family that were supporting me and cheering me on before I ever crossed the start line (running for the NYC marathon with Inheritance of Hope).”