Going the mile for philanthropy: Raising Awareness and Funds Through Running Events

Here on the blog, we’ve consistently pointed out that philanthropic action lies on a spectrum: You can organize huge events to raise money for a cause or you can do small acts of kindness that also make a huge difference in people’s lives. In this entry, I’m going to discuss how you could utilize one of those larger events, a charity run, as an event to support a cause you work with or care about.

We all understand the point of a charity run. For the most part, you donate a certain amount of money in order to participate in the race, and you don’t even have to run! You can take your time, enjoy the day, and walk the event. The great thing is that you can be active, get some fresh air, and contribute to something good in the process, regardless if you plan to run or walk the race.

These events can also run the gamut of 5 kilometers (also known as a 5k) to a full fledge marathon. Some of the events are purposefully used to give, while others require a fee to participate with possibly an option to give part of the money you provide the organizers to a cause or local non-governmental group. So, there are a ton of different models out there when it comes to organizing a run.

Source: http://www.tower-center-rijeka.hr/

Source: http://www.tower-center-rijeka.hr/

There are even charity runs with a mixture of activities like Rijeka Shopping Tower has done by combining different sorts of events along with several runs. The participation fees from the event were donated to a local children’s hospital. There are also large networks of runs that run the globe. In Zadar, there has been an opportunity to participate in the Wings for Life World Run for three years now. Six-thousand runners (yes, 6k!) from Croatia ran, joining over 130,000 people from over 200 countries. The total kilometers ran, taking in account all the participants around the world, came to 1,255,000km! The organization Wings For Life seeks to find a cure for spinal cord injuries.


Even if you don’t want to participate fully in the run or race, you can also sponsor runners or get the companies you work for to sponsor them for a good cause. Borislav Bućan ran the Belgrade ultramarathon in September and raised money for high school student, Teodora Milić, who needed medical treatment for a rare form of leukemia. For each kilometer that Bućan ran, his sponsors agreed to donate a minimum 100 RSD to Milić’s treatment.


So now that you get the different ways you that these runs can be organized, lets talk about how you could organize one yourself!


Race Entry has a pretty great breakdown of how you can actually get a run going. Though they don’t focus on the charity run, the things they go over definitely apply if your adding some philanthropy into the mix. Obviously, organizing a run isn’t an easy endeavor. They have a good how-to guide that reminds you of the things that might not come to mind when planning a run. This includes planning the racecourse, naming the run, getting the required government permits, making sure there are places to rehydrate, cleaning up the course after the run, and more.

Alison Gauss, writing for Classy, takes the advice on the charity run a bit further and actually provides you with a 9-week schedule on getting your run organized and ready. She emphasizes that you should break down the organization into smaller parts and go from there. Gauss divides the tasks for the 9 weeks into three groups: Administration, Sponsors and Supplies, and Promotion and Recruiting. It’s safe to say that there should be dedicated teams that oversee each one as well as solid communication between the groups. Overall, Gauss suggests you to “remember to take it one step at a time” to ensure you have a productive, safe run.

All in all, charity runs can be a great way to get the community in on some philanthropy and to raise money for those in need. There’s also a thousand different ways to create one, so they are super adaptable to the needs of your cause or organization. The community aspect can’t be ignored either. Volunteers, runners, walkers, and those coming to cheer people on all can come together and really bring attention to the point behind the race.


Have you organized a charity run? Or participated in one? Let us know in the comments!







About author


Alex Cooper

Alex is Catalyst's copywriter. He heads Catalyst's blog where he writes on all things philanthropy and the Balkans. Alex can be reached at alex[at]catalystbalkans[dot]com. You can also follow him on Twitter @wgacooper.