Fun runs are a reliable form of peer-to-peer fundraising that is sure to get your supporters and their families excited. Part of what makes fun runs so successful is their versatility. Your fundraiser can be adjusted to suit any age group, can include a wide variety of “fun” aspects to make it exciting, and can even be done in a hybrid format if necessary. Plus, fun runs are great fundraising ideas for a wide variety of organizations, from schools to community groups to sports teams, such as youth basketball teams.
In this guide, we’ll cover the basics of fun run fundraisers and how you can organize your own:
- 1. How Do Fun Run Fundraisers Work?
- 2. Software for Fun Run Fundraisers: What You Need to Know
- 3. How to Organize a Fun Run: 7 Steps
Fun runs are a great way to get your community involved in fundraising and utilize your supporters’ networks to maximize your funds. Let’s dive in!
How Do Fun Run Fundraisers Work?
Fun run fundraisers are easy to plan and set up with the right resources and team. Take the time to brainstorm with your team and get creative to give your participants the best experience possible.
1. The organizers plan the event
The organizers (in this case, you) have to decide when, where, and how they’re going to host this fun run fundraiser. The planning process can include decisions like:
- Deciding if it will be in-person or hybrid.
- Picking a date and time.
- Choosing a location, like a local park.
- Getting any authorization or permissions needed.
- Planning out the “fun” elements of your run.
- Advertising your fundraiser.
Once you have a plan in place for the logistics of your fundraiser, you can actually start getting supporters involved so that your event is a success.
2. Participants sign up and create donation pages
Once your fun run is planned out and your main fundraiser page is created, your participants can begin creating their own donation pages to share with their family and friends.
To create individual donation pages for your participants, you’ll need peer-to-peer software. This will make it easy for participants to set up their pages on their own and share them with friends and family before your event. Your participants’ friends and family can then pledge their support before the fun run.
3. Supporters pledge donations
Now that your participants have their own donation pages set up, they can get friends and family to pledge donations that correspond to the distance or time that they run for, or how many fun challenges they complete during the fun run.
Supporters will donate through your participants’ personal donation pages, supporting both their loved one who is participating in the run and your organization’s cause. Peer-to-peer fundraising is effective because of the personal connections it relies on to garner donations. Even people who may not be familiar with your cause are more likely to donate if a friend or family member is participating and soliciting donations. They might even become dedicated supporters down the road.
Software for Fun Run Fundraisers: What You Need to Know
The right peer-to-peer software can make a huge difference in how much work it takes to set up your fun run fundraiser. Ideally, you want it to be simple to set up, have the necessary customer support, and do all of this without breaking the bank. After all, peer-to-peer fundraisers like fun runs are meant to be a low-cost form of fundraising that is driven by community involvement and personal networks.
To help you pick the right software, we recommend you look for the following features:
- Affordability. A fun run shouldn’t break the bank! 99Pledges has no startup cost and no platform fee to make it affordable for you to start your own fundraiser. The only costs are standard credit card and PayPal fees of 2.9% + $0.30/transaction.
- Flexibility in payment methods. While most people have credit cards, some of your donors may still prefer to pay with a check or even cash. Flexible platforms will allow you to accept both online and physical donations.
- Individual donation pages. Allowing your supporters to create their own donation pages gets them more involved in the fundraising process as they reach out to their network to meet their fundraising goals.
- Easy setup. Even if your team is tech-savvy, not all of your supporters will be. Finding software that is easy to use makes it possible for any of your supporters to get involved with their own donation page.
- Reporting. At the end of your fundraiser, you want to know how you did! Reporting features allow you to gain insight into the success of your fundraiser beyond your monetary fundraising goal so that you can improve for next time.
- Good customer support. Whenever you invest in software, it’s crucial to make sure you’ll have the proper support you need in case something goes wrong.
How to Organize a Fun Run: 7 Steps
Despite the many potential participants and donors, organizing a fun run doesn’t have to be complicated. Especially with the right software to help you, it can be a breeze. If you’re ready to plan your own fun run fundraiser, follow these seven steps to get started:
1. Plan out your event
Before you can begin signing up participants and soliciting donations, you need to figure out the basics of your fun run.
Decide when and where you’re hosting it, make sure you have all the necessary permissions, and plan out the “fun” elements of your fun run. From color runs to bubble runs, there are a variety of ways to make your event exciting. Additionally, if you’re not already set up with peer-to-peer software like 99Pledges, picking out software to make your fundraiser possible will be a crucial part of the planning process.
2. Promote your event online
Create a strategic marketing campaign to help you get the word out to your community. Make sure to start sharing about the event online at least one month in advance to ensure you reach your audience and give them enough time to register.
Social media is a great way to get the word out. Choose popular social media platforms that your audience is already using. For a diverse social media marketing strategy, use platforms like these that feature different types of media:
- Instagram, which showcases images and infographics so you can highlight behind-the-scenes photos from your fun run or graphics that illustrate the event’s intended impact.
- TikTok, an app that features video content. Due to its innovative algorithm and fast-paced trend cycles, it is relatively easy to gain a following and create viral videos.
- Twitter or Threads, which prioritize short-form, written content. This is a great way to share quick updates about the event or connect with supporters through replies and retweets.
Keep in mind that your organization can also guide users to its platform via other online platforms like search engines. Search engine marketing, which refers to the practice of increasing your website’s ranking on search engine results pages via paid ads and content optimization, can help you land your campaign page in front of more eyes.
While you can boost rankings by creating educational content that addresses relevant keywords, search engines like Google also sell paid, top-of-page positions through Google Ads. Nonprofits and other tax-exempt organizations can apply to the Google Ad Grants program to receive $10,000 of Google Ad credits each month. Working with a specialized Google Ad Grants agency can help you determine whether you’re eligible, apply for the grant, and manage your ads.
3. Recruit participants
Once you’ve begun advertising your event, it’s time to start following up on any interest from your supporters. Make sure anyone interested in participating has all of the correct information, understands how the event will work, and knows what they will need to do as a participant.
Depending on the size of your event and the number of interested participants, it may be helpful to create a resources page or hand-out that will give them all of the necessary information. This type of resource ensures that you won’t have to have the same conversation over and over.
4. Make sure every participant gets a donation page
After talking with all of your prospective participants, you can begin finalizing who is still able to participate.
Using your peer-to-peer software, you can get participants started setting up their individual donation pages. With 99Pledges, your participants’ donation pages will automatically be set up, reducing the work for them and eliminating any troubleshooting and stress.
5. Share tips on getting donations with participants
Every participant’s individual donation page will be shareable, as will your main donation page. For maximum success, you should encourage your participants to share their donation page as widely as possible.
It’s a good idea to provide them with tips on engaging with their friends and family to secure pledges and donations.
6. Keep the energy high during your event
IIt’s finally the day of your event! Make sure all of your hard work pays off by ending on a high note.
Your staff that are helping run the event can be a big part of helping to keep the energy high by having positive attitudes, cheering on participants, and providing support when necessary. In addition to your staff, you should encourage all participants to bring friends and family to the event to cheer them on. Bringing signs, megaphones, and more can make the event much more exciting!
7. Don’t forget to thank your participants and donors!
Once your event is over and you’ve met (or even exceeded!) your fundraising goal, you should take the time to extend your thanks to all of your participants and donors.
Send a timely thank you to participants and encourage them to get involved again in the future. While you may not be able to thank every donor individually, you should still acknowledge all donors publicly.
A social media post after the event is a great way to do this. Additionally, it’s a good idea to ask your participants to thank all of their donors to make sure everyone feels appreciated.
A fun run is a great way to bring your community together for a worthy cause. Because this fundraiser is so versatile, you can engage families, teens, and even seasoned runners. If you’re thinking about starting a fundraiser of your own, work with 99Pledges to streamline the process.
For more fundraising tips and ideas, check out our other helpful resources:
- 35+ Best School Fundraising Ideas to Raise More in 2022: Explore more creative fundraising ideas that are suitable for schools.
- 30+ Simple (& Effective) Fundraising Ideas for Kids: Engage the kids in your community with these fundraising ideas that are sure to excite them.
- 20+ Amazing PTA Fundraising Ideas for Every Occasion: These ideas are perfect for a PTA fundraising campaign at your school.