Do not make it ALL about the Cause
This may seem counter-intuitive, but there is some logic to this madness. If every aspect of your race is all about the cause, you may be limiting the potential audience you are trying to attract to your event. If you do a solid job of partnering with the agency you are benefiting, then you will most likely reach the people in your community who care deeply about that cause whether they are a runner or not. The key to growing your event and ultimately being able to contribute more to the charity will be your ability to appeal to a wide range of the running demographics in your area.
Related: Key Elements of Organizing a Charity Race
Come up with a unique theme for your race
Instead of calling your event the Run for the Cure for XXX 5k, find a theme for your event that will be appealing to your entire community. Again, we are not saying that helping a charity is not appealing, but in an oversaturated marketplace you have to find a way to stand-out. If your run takes place in the fall, you could adopt a Turkey Trot theme or something related to an existing event or a unique aspect about your community. Your goal should be for your event to be the place that EVERYONE in your community wants be on race day.
Related: Free Race Registration for Fun Runs and No-Cost Charity Events
Make it a festive event for runners and spectators
People like to run, but they really like to have fun when they run. Yes, there will be some serious folks looking to set PR's, but 95% of your crowd is there to have a good time with their friends and neighbors. The fact that it also supports a great cause is a bonus. Make your start/finish area ground zero for the celebration. Have music going to keep the crowd engaged. Encourage local restaurants and businesses to get involved. Partner with other civic organizations that will help promote your event. Face painting for kids. A live band. Think about the elements that your community responds to at other successful events and emulate them.
Related: Turn Your Event into a Runcation
If you do a great job as a race director applying some of the above tactics, you will have plenty of opportunities to share with people the great cause that is so near and dear to your heart. The benefit will be that many more people will be exposed to your message and have an opportunity to show their love to the cause as well. Jump over to our article about Race Fundraising Pages to learn how to leverage this increased participation into more money for your charity.