Representing a charity, helping them achieve their goals and vision for an improved world, is a wonderful thing anyone can do.
Charitable activity is something we all mean to get around too one day, but struggle to find the time. In life, we’re all the stars in our own movies, with our own goals and pursuits to focus on.
Charity isn’t often at the top of our agendas. We have other goals like raising our kids, working, or focusing on our fitness and health (maybe through running).
Guess what? You can make running charitable. It’s one of the best, widely known ways to help a charity.
Each year, millions of runners participate in events – 5Ks, 10Ks fun and mud runs, half marathons, marathons – for charity. They enter an event, chose a charity to represent, start a fundraising and awareness campaign for the charity, train hard, and proudly wear their charity colours on race day.
Believe me, running for charity is just one of the many ways running can change your life for the better.
Here’s 5 great reasons you should run for charity too.
1. Running to raise money for charity increases motivation
When you run for personal reasons like being slimmer, fitter or more energetic, slacking off during training will only affect you. No biggie, right? After all, it’s only you who won’t benefit.
Running for charity is different. You’re running for others.
Signing for a charity race means you have responsibility. Often you will be asked to pledge a minimum amount of sponsorship money, to fund the charity to carry out their mission. Game changing stuff.
You’re running could fundraise money to help end Parkinson’s or Cancer, tackle child abuse, prevent poverty, provide better care for the disabled or a hospice, fund an air ambulance, support mental health.
Think of a time people have counted on you. A sports team, colleagues during a project, children who need looking after, a crying partner who needs comfort. You wouldn’t say ‘I don’t feel like it today. Sorry.’ No. When others depend on us, we deliver results. Regardless of how tired, interested and how much willpower we have.
I slacked off during the first few weeks of starting running. I entered a half marathon for a charity, and everything changed. I had a reason, a cause to contribute to, a difference to make in the world. Running for charity makes you more motivated.
2. You can make your fundraising creative
In the lead up to the event, a popular way to raise money is to ask friends, family and colleagues for donations. A great method, but there are other ways to fundraise.Why not get creative and have some fun? Generate your own fundraising opportunities. Doing something different, using your imagination, makes fundraising fun and creates remarkable memories. Creatively fundraising makes the lead up to the run extra special.
You could host fundraise with any of the following: a coffee morning, a gig, a man versus food eating challenge, a pub quiz, creating and selling things, body waxing (for the brave hearted only), dye or shave your hair, teach someone something, a cake sale, sports match.
Think of something you’re interested in and turn it into a fundraising opportunity.
3. Running for a charity makes you feel more fulfilled in life
Ghandi said “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”Naturally, us humans are concerned with acquiring things. A family, a job, money, a house, nice materialistic items. It’s great to make yourself rich in these life areas. But often, something is missing. There’s something not quite right.
Giving back, helping those in need, knowing you’ve made a true difference will make you more content and fulfilled. Suddenly, you have a life-changing purpose.
Imagine the feeling you’d get when you find out your efforts helped feed starving families living in poverty, or saved a child’s life in hospital, or gave teenagers suffering mental health issues the confidence to get a job or helped fund research to end a terminal disease.
For example, I ran the Brighton Half Marathon for MacMillan after my great nan died of cancer last year. I raised way above my target, and after the race, Macmillan called me to see how I got on. They explained what my fundraising would help them achieve. Providing excellent care for those struggling with cancer. I felt incredibly proud of myself, and more fulfilled.
I used my love of running, to give something back. To make a difference. You can do that to.
4. Run for charity to connect with your family, friends and work colleagues
Running for charity creates lots of ways to connect with the most important people in your life.
One way is to enter as part of a group. Enter with your friends, a romantic partner, your work department, a mentor. Training, fundraising, then doing the event together, will build and develop relationships with those we associate with most. Your altruistic efforts, training and raising money for the good of a shared goal, will develop a deep bond between you.
If they’re not the running type, there are other ways to connect. Get them to spread the word, help you organise a stand-out fundraising event, discuss your training progress, support you from the side-lines on race day.
Whether running in a group, or on your own, running for charity helps you connect with those closest and most important to you.
5. Develop marketing and sales skills
Fundraising for means you’re going to need to raise awareness of fact you’re running for the charity (marketing) and create a desire for people to donate to your cause (sales). Without the ability to market and sell yourself and your efforts, you’ll struggle to hit your target.
Marketing and sales skills are invaluable in all wakes of life. The ability to communicate a message, tell a story, get people to believe and buy into your vision, is exceptionally useful.
Whether you’re pitching an idea in the workplace, negotiating for a mortgage, persuading your kids to do their homework or join a sports team, the concept is the same. Communicating a message and getting people to buy into it is a skill we need for a great life.
Market and sell your campaign by posting pictures of you training, creating status updates, messaging friends and family, creating posters to leave at any clubs or groups you’re a part of, comment in online forums. Raise awareness any way you possibly can. Shout it from the roof tops if you must.
Make a Just Giving page and attach it to every piece of marketing you do. Have a valid, urgent, trustworthy call to action to get people to donate. For example, ‘please help me change lives, and donate here! The race is soon so I really appreciate your kind donations’.
Run for charity to develop marketing and sales skills.