A charity run is not only a healthy way for your students to raise money for a good cause, but also a very visible way of publicising your chosen charitable cause to the community.
Here are some considerations for organising a fun run:
- Plan your options for a location where the race will be held
- Think about a race course that gives runners a unique experience. This could mean a nice gentle downhill course, or prehaps conversely, a challenging uphill one. You can use a free race map creator to figure out different course options
- Consider the expenses associated with your chosen theme, and make adjustments to your race to fit your theme
- Plan how to best promote your race to get participants and students involved
- Simplify your registration process
- Explore what runners will need, including recharge stations, hydration, race shirts and first aid
- Think about how the winners will be decided on, for example by age division
Recharge stations & hydration
Provide plenty of water, and if possible, another beverage with electrolytes to runners. Often recharge stations are placed every three kilometres. For longer runs like marathons the recharge stations sometimes include food and pain relievers.
Most races provide their runners with a race shirt. Often this is an athletic polyester shirt, but first year races sometimes provide cotton shirts to reduce cost. Try to find a shirt vendor that will allow you to make a shirt order a couple weeks before your event, and then make a smaller follow-up order a few days before your race. This can help a first year race because you won’t know exactly how many people are going to sign up on race week. Newer races can double in size in the last couple of weeks. This makes ordering shirts tricky. Some shirt vendors will be more willing to commit to meeting your last-minute needs than others, so price is not the only factor you should consider when choosing a company for screen printing your race shirts.
It could be a good idea to support not just one cause. Why not let runners pick a charity of their choice to promote. Then they could get their running shirt directly from that charity. This would create a more inclusive race where hopefully bigger well-known charities and smaller community groups alike all get promoted.
How to find volunteers
Recruit volunteers from your student cohort. Check in with student volunteer groups, youth organisations, and other local race volunteer mailing lists. Ensure volunteer management good practice by regularly communicating with your volunteers in the lead up to your event to maintain their motivation, hold a training workshop or webinar so they can learn all about their role on the day and the importance of their contribution. It is good to have a volunteer recognition event post-race, providing a gift or party for your volunteers. This event can be a great way of de-briefing with an evaluation of how the race went and where improvements can be made for the future. This will also enthuse your volunteers to be excited to continue volunteering for years to come, or to tell their family and friends what a great experience it was and encourage others to get involved.
Resources & staff
The number of participants and spectators you expect on event day as well as length of course are the two main factors that will determine the size of your volunteer, staff and resources needed. Here is a list of items commonly used by running events:
- Two-way radios
- Rope, tape and cones for course marking
- Signage for start and finish areas
- Signage for services and support areas
- Portable toilets
- Rubbish bins
- Stage for awards ceremony
- PA system
Looking at your course map, you will be able to strategically position your recharge stations, rubbish bins, portable toilets, stands and so on. When placing these resources, keep in mind that many people will want to gather around in the finish/celebration area after the event so you may need additional support in that area. When planning for food and water for your participants, you may want to ask local shops or markets to sponsor the event with donated oranges, watermelons, bananas and water that you can position along the course. For your spectator stands, you will need to determine what types of food you will sell and if you will need to prepare or cook food on site. There are many companies that you can hire to staff and prepare food at your stands. Check to see if you need a special permit to sell or prepare food for the public.
The distance of your event and the number of participants will determine the amount of medical personnel needed. Longer races such as marathons should have emergency medical technicians on the route, and a medical tent in the finish area with professionals handy to help with minor medical problems. It is wise to have an ambulance in the finish area to take care of runners that need serious medical attention. It would be wise to consult with a sports medicine professional to see what the specific needs of your event may be.
Coordinate the police and security for your event. Make sure that you have traffic safety devices like cones, and crowd control barricades if your venue requires them.
Legalities of a charity run
There are many legal issues to consider when holding an event. There are detailed fact sheets on different kinds of events at the link below, and a checklist to help you identify which permits and legal issues you will need to consider.
View permits you might consider before organising a fun run: nfplaw.org.au/events
The key to a successful event is to steadily build the participant’s excitement and anticipation from the day they register all the way up until they arrive on event day. Participants that register months prior to the event may loose interest or slow down their fundraising efforts if they are not engaged and encouraged on a regular basis. This is where collecting your registrations online will be useful. Since you have a database of registrants including their email address, you will be able to send out reminder emails and keep the communication going up until the event. Some content ideas for a regular newsletter could be:
- Updates and special announcements of developments to the event schedule or added entertainment
- Fundraising tips
- News and articles from the organisation/s your event will be raising money for
- A training plan for those getting in shape for the event
- Special contests for the post-event awards ceremony
- Free prizes and incentives for those participants that recruit friends to join the cause
Have you held a successful fun race?
Spare some change for a good cause, let your hair down, and let those vocal chords rip. Reaching out using music helps in attracting a wider audience to your event.
Here are some considerations for organising a karaoke night:
- Have a variety of music from different eras, cultures, and genres to attract as many from the community as possible. Alternatively, you may like to theme the night around 80's, 90's, etc. music and encourage people to dress up accordingly.
- Think about having music that's related to the cause you're championing. The more people can relate to the cause, the higher the chances of them contributing.
- Preparation is key! Make sure your singing machine is hooked up, you have adequate tasty snacks and drinks on hand, and the lighting sets the ambiance.
Who has done it?
- Federation University
Have you run a successful karaoke night?