Many people put on races as a way to make a living. It's their day job so to speak. If any part of your event is going to benefit a charity you need to very clearly state upfront exactly how the charity will benefit. A nebulous statement like "a portion of the proceeds" does not cut it. If a portion of every entry fee will be donated, then be very clear exactly how much. The most important thing: Follow through on what you say is going to be donated.
Every event should have an umbrella liability policy whether you are for-profit or donating 100% of all proceeds. This type of insurance is relatively inexpensive considering the protections it puts in place for yourself and any other entities affiliated with your event, especially the charity you are trying to help. Consider joining the Road Runners Club of America. A primary benefit to membership is access to low-cost event insurance.
Get other relevant and interested groups involved to help organize, promote, and execute your event. An example would be to partner with your local Parks and Recreation department. They have an inherent interest in supporting community events. You can still lead the charge, but they could be very helpful with providing a venue for your start/finish, issuing permits, and connecting you with other local resources. Your local schools are another great organization to bring into the fold.
Get the charity's organization involved from the very beginning. We are sure they would still be happy to get a nice check out of the blue one day, but it helps them promote support for their cause even more so by having a robust community event that they actively participate. Ask them to directly help promote your event. Most are excellent at this kind of communication and deal with media outlets and the press on a regular basis. Be sure to also tap into their volunteer infrastructure. You will find that they will be more than happy to rally their troops for the event.
The goal is to be able to present a giant check with four or five zeroes on it. Right? To make that happen you have to have a solid budget. Obtaining sponsors may be the best way to reduce your overhead. If you can get local businesses to offset most of your costs such as insurance, race timing, t-shirts, and finisher's awards, then you can give more back to your beneficiary. Check out our previous article How to Attract Race Sponsors for more ideas.
RaceDirector has many features that have been created specifically for Charity Races. We recently added race fundraising pages to allow you to leverage the reach with your participants' networks to obtain more donations. You probably will also be interested in our article about Free Registration for Fun Runs & No-Cost Charity Events.
Our final thought on creating a successful charity race will be this: Think long term. It takes a lot of effort to create a new event. Year one your giant check may not have as many zeroes on it as you would like, but each year you should be able to greatly increase the donation as you create a fun, successful event that is embraced by the community. At RaceDirector, we love to support great causes. Our job is to give you the tools to make it happen! Sign up now for a free RaceDirector account and make your next charity race a success.