This fundraiser has been the hardest, most rewarding, stressful, most fun event I have ever put together. Hahaha, so many emotions in one small sentence. But it’s true! If you’re thinking of putting together a 5k (run/walk) fundraiser, prepare yourself! It isn’t a walk in the park, but if you do it the right way it is pretty simple!
I’ve broken it down into 6 sections on how to organize a 5k and then at the end you’ll find some questions I’ve gotten. Please remember, this was my first time ever doing something like this. I did hours and hours of research before hand and felt like I knew what was best for our situation. So, if anything rubs you the wrong way, totally fine, you can do it a different way and how you see fit for yourself. This is just what worked for us 🙂
You NEED a good team behind you. Delegating is one of my worst traits (I think most people have a hard time delegating) But let me tell you, this is what made me so calm the months, weeks and days leading up to the 5k. I had my right hand “woman”, my dear friend Kelsie, right beside me the whole time. She was able to tell me what didn’t look right or things that I forgot to add. Find yourself a “Kelsie”. They will save your butt! I also had a few other people to contact the food trucks, balloon arch, certain booths, etc. If you don’t have yourself a team then you will drown! I assigned each person something specific so that way it was organized and I knew something was getting done. we held meetings monthly to see where everyone was at with their tasks and we would then reevaluate. If someone finished their task early then I was able to rely on them for a quick run to the grocery store to grab ice or to make sure we had enough waters to hand out, etc. Meet with your team often! We met about once a month and then text periodically. You want to make sure you are all on the same page and if anyone is struggling with their task you are able to jump in and help.
If you are planning on doing a 5k at a park, pavilion, pretty much anywhere but your house. You will need a permit. This was the first thing we made sure we had. You can’t advertise about your event until you have a spot secured. Look up your cities permit requirements and get a hold of them ASAP! We actually had a few locations picked out just in case the one we wanted wouldn’t work out or they were booked for the date we wanted to do the 5k on. Make sure you are following their rules on what you can and can not have. For instance, I wanted a jump house at our 5k, but our city wouldn’t allow it. So that went out the door quickly (saved us money too) Have all your paperwork and fees ready to be turned in on time. You don’t want to have to switch locations last minute all because of one little thing you forgot to turn in. And yes, permits do cost money. Don’t forget your insurance! Our city required insurance on our event and even if they didn’t we still would have gotten it (my husband’s and insurance agent so we understand how HUGE insurance is) We also printed out liability forms for the participants to sign. We wanted to make sure our backs were covered, we weren’t about to loose everything we worked hard for. Have a good route that can easily be approved by the city and ran by the participants.
I think this is something we could have done a little better, even though I felt like we flooded your feeds about our fundraiser 😉 Social media is your best friend during this. You do not have to have a huge following to advertise. Just post and ask for others to repost and the word will get out. But remember, there are still a lot of people who don’t use social media. You’ll need to go to restaurants, running stores, shops, anywhere you can think of. We actually had the college cheer team hand them out at a city parade. Just get your name out there! You can pay for advertisements online also. You can not rely on word of mouth between family and friends. This is hard for someone who is more reserved and hates advertising, but it’s the only way you’ll get people to your event which means you’ll make more money at your fundraiser! Don’t forget sponsors! You’ll need a few sponsors to help get the ball rolling. Make sure you set very detailed goals, i.e. sponsorship costs, benefits of being a sponsor, logos, etc. Sponsorships are what’s going to help bring in a big chunk of donations. But you also need to make sure it’s benefiting them too.
4. Shop Around
You will need some type of merchandise that will set you apart from other fundraisers, ex: shirts, medals, bracelets, etc. We chose to have shirts made for each participant. We also (remember this is a personal preference) felt that if someone was paying to participate in our 5k, they better get something out of it (a shirt) We contacted a few companies to see who had the lowest prices and was willing to help us out since it was a fundraiser. I was very satisfied with the company we chose! We also decided to have food trucks at our event. We wanted everyone there to have fun and make it a family night. We contacted quite a bit of food trucks and some had certain requirements, while others were more then happy to be there. **Make sure you look up your city permits on having food given out at your event** If you are having food trucks at your 5k, ask if they have their own city permit, if they will donate a certain % of their profits that night.
5. Make It Fun!
We didn’t want people to feel like they were just handing us over money and having a boring experience. So we had games set up that didn’t really cost us money, a silent auction going (another way to raise money) and the college cheerleaders and even our NBA mascot stopped by! Look for the connections you have and go from there. And then of course we had the food trucks.
6. Misc Items.
I had lists upon lists of the random things we needed to make sure we had. Balloons, signs, pens, paper, candy, tape, tables, chairs, blow horn. I also wanted the running participants to have water and some snack afterwards so we got a hold of our local grocery store to see if they could donate some to the run. We ended up getting water, granola bars and peanut butter packets (from a different company) donated. Call around and see which local stores will donate to a fundraiser. It may take a few phone calls but keep trying.
A few Q&A’s that I know people were curious about.
Q: Was it hard to put together?
A: Not really. There are a lot of t’s to cross and i’s to dot but as long as you follow everything by the book (permits/city rules) then it’s not that hard. And like I said, delegating is a big help. I had about 5 tasks out of 15.
Q: Was it worth it?
YES! Even though we didn’t make the amount we were hoping, it was so awesome to see everyone have so much fun. Then to see all the support we had, made this adoption seem like we could do it. Because we all know how hard adoption is. But a little advice, don’t go into thinking you’ll raise tens of thousands of dollars. But it’s better to have worked hard for your money then it just given as a handout. Work hard and the more success you’ll see!