5 (More) Fundraising Tips for Marathoners

Those of us running the 2019 Chicago Marathon next month are less than four weeks out. In our training, this is “peak week.” I realize for many running for a charity, this may also be crunch time if you haven’t yet raised the required amount. For me that was $1500. For some charities – or other marathons, like New York – the goal may be $3000 or even $5000!

If you are stressing about making your marathon fundraising goal for Chicago or another fall marathon, I am expanding here on the 10 Fundraising Tips for Marathoners that I published two years ago. I know you are all getting some fantastic advice from your charity representatives. I just wanted to add a few more ideas that are perfect for these final weeks.

I spent almost 25 years of my career as a professional fundraiser and have also personally raised closed to $100,000 for a variety of charities through personal cause-running efforts. I thought it might be helpful to anyone still stressing about this part of marathon preparations to share some techniques that worked for me and got me – easily – to my goal this time around.

  1. Seek the support of others in soliciting their contacts – my boyfriend and another friend wrote amazing things about me and their connection to me and the charity which they shared along with the link to my fundraising page on their social media accounts. This was particularly helpful to me since I’ve done this so often, my personal network is suffering from donor fatigue. I even got a donation from my boyfriend’s ex-wife!
  2. Post a heart-tugging message on facebook with the link to your personal fundraising page that also includes an “honor roll of donors” (people who have already given) tagging them – that way friends of friends and mutual friends will be alerted and some peer pressure is a good thing here.
  3. Use all your social media accounts! In addition to facebook posts, publish an “article” on LinkedIn with your story and a case for giving with the link; also post a picture of yourself in training action on Instagram (the timer in burst mode on your phone is a great way to capture an action selfie); include your “why I’m running for this charity” text, tag the charity, include a few popular and appropriate hashtags, and add the link to your fundraising page in your bio. Share on Twitter too! I got two donations from total strangers!!
  4. Use MailChimp (it’s free for up to 2000 contacts), or similar service, to broadcast an appeal to a large audience provided you have their emails in a format that can be uploaded (like excel). It’s fairly intuitive and simple to use.
  5. And finally – get more personal! Get off social media, send your last email and pick up the phone! Personally speak with people who you know have the means to give and ask them for something specific (that’s a little more than what you want or think they can give). I know it’s difficult to ask people for money….BUT you are not doing it for you, you are asking on behalf of those who will benefit from the money you raise and ultimately the work of this wonderful organization you are so passionate about!!

For those of you running for charity this fall who have already exceeded your fundraising goal, I want to hear from you! What techniques did you use that worked particularly well? Please share!

iPhone selfie. Timer and burst mode; garbage pail tripod. North Avenue Beach. Chicago, Illinois. July, 2019.

And of course if you are so inclined…

Please help me celebrate my five years as a cancer survivor by supporting me in my effort to raise funds for Gilda’s Club Chicago through the 2019 Chicago Marathon. Please use this link.

What I like most about GC is that they support the emotional side of the cancer diagnosis – for everyone living with cancer – regardless of the type of cancer or your roll (the one with cancer, family member or friend). Cancer touches all of us – and coping with the effects of that diagnosis, as I saw the toll it took on my family, can be extremely difficult.

In addition to being a member of Team Gilda for the Chicago Marathon, I am also volunteering my time to coach a 9-week 5k training program for Gilda’s Club members who are new to running or looking to get back to running. They will be participating in the Bucktown 5k on October 6, a week before the marathon. If you’re in the Chicago area, please come cheer them on. If you are not, please consider making a donation to my fundraiser. No gift is too small…or too large. 🙂


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