Best Practices

To help athletic event fundraising organizers avoid reinventing the wheel, we'll be turning to authors and organizations to share insights into best practices.

Best Practices Articles

  • 10 Best Practices for Matching-Gifts Success  At Blackbaud's annual bbcon earlier this week, Blackbaud Chief Scientist Chuck Longfield gave an overview of matching gifts and provided best practices for running a matching-gifts campaign in his session, "Don't Leave Money on the Table: 10 Best Practices for Success With Matching Gifts." permalink
  • 5 Event Fundraising Best Practices  Fundraising events can be extremely valuable sources of revenue and awareness for any nonprofit organization. However, there is a lot more to successfully pulling one off than mobilizing a few volunteers and getting participants to encourage pledge donations to walk (or run or swim or bike, etc.).  permalink
  • 5 Ways Autism Speaks Is Increasing Peer-to-Peer Revenue
    Lessons from Walk Now for Autism Speaks
      In six years, Walk Now for Autism Speaks has grown to a series of 95 events involving 400,000 participants who raise more than $30 million for the nation's largest autism science and advocacy organization. National Walk Director Paul Irwin-Dudek points to five initiatives as key drivers of the growth that catapulted Walk Now for Autism Speaks to the #17 slot on the 2011 Run Walk Ride Thirty list.  permalink
  • Academic News You Can Use: You Can Create Too Much Awareness  According to a recent study by Robert Smith and Norbert Schwarz of the University of Michigan, an organization hurt itself by creating too much awareness. permalink
  • Academic News: Ask and You Shall Receive  New research from the Stanford Graduate School of Business verifies the old adage, Ask and you shall receive.  permalink
  • Cashing in on race day  If you're a runner, you know the local organized opportunities to hit the road with those who share your passion are almost limitless. The sport has developed from a handful of enthusiasts in the late 1960s to what is estimated to be nearly 8 million runners a year participating in organized runs.  permalink
  • Charities Can Minimize the Strain on Volunteers Too Close to a Cause  This Chronicle of Philanthropy article provides nonprofit managers with insights into protecting volunteers and employees who have been directly affected by a group’s cause while making sure that the cause is well served. permalink
  • Event Planning Ten Tips for Success  Live events can contribute to fundraising success and provide another powerful channel that both you and your thon participants can use to raise money and local awareness. Here are Eventbrite's ten essential 'crush fundraising' tips to ensure success at your next event. permalink
  • Extreme Fundraisers Take Charity to the Limit  Forget extreme sports. If you want people to really applaud while you take your favorite leisure pursuit to the limit, try extreme fund-raising. permalink
  • Faith, Hope & Charities: John "The Penguin" Bingham on Charity Runs  Running for something other than yourself is the greatest gift of our sport, writes Runner's World columnist John Bingham. permalink
  • Helping Your Participants Maximize “Return on Effort” for Independent Events  When combined with traditional online fundraising strategies, participant-planned independent events can be an extremely powerful tactic for peer-to-peer fundraising. Live events, like happy hours, allow thon participants to raise awareness about their efforts for your cause – and have the potential to raise a lot of money, quickly.  permalink
  • Is Twitter Important for Thon Participants?  Some early analysis of integrating Twitter into online thon fundraising from Blackbaud's VP of Product Development Ian Gruber. permalink
  • Key Measurements To Ensure Your Event Will Be A Success  What Data to Use Before, During and After the Event  permalink
  • Mass Audubon Aims for $200K via Annual Bird-a-Thon  Mass Audubon, a Lincoln-based nonprofit that works to protect the nature of Massachusetts for people and wildlife, announced that its annual Bird-a-Thon, its largest fundraiser of the year, may raise $200,000, surpassing the largest amount ever raised at the annual, one-day event. permalink
  • Mudderella Launches Among a Growing Field of Women’s Obstacle Runs  Obstacle races are having a field day; and women’s focused events like the new Mudderella series are getting in on the action. Women’s obstacle events are proliferating thanks to the obstacle racing and women’s running booms. Mudderella officially launched in June as the newest obstacle series for women. Their 5- to 7-mile races have 12 to 15 obstacles designed to test stamina, willpower and strength. Like the vast majority of women’s obstacle runs, there is no time clock. It’s not about speed, but about teamwork. permalink
  • New Study Shows 'Thon' Programs Offer Powerful Benefits for Corporate Sponsors  Of the top 25 properties that created strong emotional connections with sponsors, 24 were charities  permalink
  • Peer to Peer Fundraising and Social Media  Convio's Sally Heaven opines that "the real power for nonprofits to exploit social media lies in the peer-to-peer fundraising area, much more so than direct fundraising", suggests why and offers up a personal example. permalink
  • Pre-Event Communication Key to Incentive Program Success  A white paper by Turnkey Promotions shares results of a rigorous study on the dramatic impact of incentive program communication on fundraising success. (You must share your contact information with Turnkey to receive a copy of the white paper.) permalink
  • Reducing the Runner's Footprint: NY Times  Biodiesel buses. Biodegradable cups. Organic T-shirts. Trophies made from recycled bicycle parts. Yes, the great green phenomenon has come to marathons too. The November issue of Runner’s World magazine ranks the 10 greenest races. The Austin Marathon wins, with its finish-line farmer’s market, Porta Potty toilet paper made from recycled materials, and biodiesel support vehicles.  permalink
  • Running for a Cause: Why Fitness and Philanthropy is Such a Popular Mix  When breast cancer survivor Eloise Caggiano decided to participate in last year’s 3-Day Walk, she was excited both to raise money for a cause so close to her heart and take on a significant physical challenge. “Walking 60 miles is a true commitment of time and physical effort,” she says. And since the walk requires participants to raise at least $2,200, “everyone who does it is really passionate about the cause.”  permalink
  • The Changing World of Event Fundraising:
    Insights from Event 360 CEO Jeff Shuck
      After the economic doldrums in the late 2000s, the U.S. economy is trending upward and, according to the Giving USA Foundation, charitable donations are also on the rise, albeit slowly. But the charitable event fundraising industry faces heavy strong winds, forced to do more with less – fewer staff, tighter budgets, more competition and an ever-growing challenge to stay relevant. permalink
  • Tips for Effective Storytelling to Create & Build Connections  The four most powerful words in the English language are “Once Upon A Time,” according to Matt Glass, partner and chief creative officer of Eventage during Run Walk Ride Fundraising Council’s November webinar, “The Art of Storytelling.” Glass focused on how telling effective and powerful stories can help thon fundraisers create and build valuable connections.  permalink
  • Up and Running: The Rise of the Themed Road Race  Growth among massive, branded racing series like Tough Mudder and zombie runs is exploding. Racing used to be a straightforward affair for runners, involving little more than a bib, a stopwatch and the directive to get from the starting line to the finish line as fast as possible. Now, racing can involve escaping from zombies, getting spattered with colored powder, crawling through mud or listening to over two dozen rock bands perform along a single course. The proliferation of massive themed-racing tours is a relatively new phenomenon and might be considered a case study in economies of scale, as companies grow and improve their races. As a sport, running is experiencing tremendous growth, and these novel racing series are feeding off of the recent boom, both benefiting from the new interest in running and inspiring new athletes.  permalink
  • Windy City Meltdown: Reflections on the 2007 Chicago Marathon  Running industry expert Don Allison reflects on the challenges faced by "mega" events when they are hit by extreme conditions such as the heat at the 2007 Chicago Marathon. permalink
  • Zumba-Thon Helps Raise Money for Animals  Ocean Springs, MS, Zumba lovers were sweating for a good cause over the weekend. A Zumba-thon was held to raise money for the Jackson County Animal Shelter and the Humane Society of South Mississippi. Zumba is a workout program that mixes Latin dance and aerobics. Instructors from all over the coast came to support the cause on Saturday. permalink

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