Train Like a Mother: Charity Fundraising Ideas

You don't need to raid piggy banks with 2% body fat to meet your fund raising goals.

If you've run a race for charity, major props to you. Training and fundraising and tending to a family--a brief, neutral way of not going into all the chores we do not easy. But, as I'm sure anybody who has ever crossed a finish line in honor of somebody else could tell you, it's beyond fulfilling--and worth the extra time it takes to shake the trees for pennies. Here, some great ideas that we wish we had room to include in Train Like a Mother.

Take it From a Mother: What are your best fundraising ideas?

“I listed a bunch of my son’s outgrown toys and clothing on Craigslist, auction style, and told people that all the payments would be through so it would qualify as a charitable donation for them.” —Alisa (has improved her per-mile pace by 33%)

“I started a blog to show people what I am running for and how my training was going – and included a link to where they could donate.”
—Bev (ran the London Marathon to raise money for women’s literacy and clean water projects in Liberia)

“I offered to have businesses airbrush their logo on my shoulder for a race, but none of them agreed to sponsor me.  Thankfully, I raised a decent amount of money selling pink bracelets instead.”
—Christy (started fundraising after her mother-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer)

NephCure helped me set up a donation website, and I used email and Facebook to ask friends and family for donations.  I also sent in a picture and letter to our local newspapers and received some donations from people living in our town.”
—Erica (training for her first marathon coincided with her daughter’s chemotherapy treatment for kidney disease)

“I changed my email signature to ‘Please consider supporting me in the          , which raises money for          .  Check out my webpage at           .’”
—Julie (proudest running moment: running an 8K by her 11-year-old son’s side)

“I was able to raise my minimum by email solicitations to family and friends, but some other ideas: talk to a local restaurant to find out if they will donate 10% of a certain day’s proceeds; solicit small business sponsors and wear their logos on the back of your race shirt; car washes, dog washes, garage sales.”
—Danielle (ran the PDX Half Marathon for American Cancer Society. “I lost my dad and grandpa to cancer so, ACS was logical”)

“I just pimped it on Facebook constantly.”
—Suzanne (raised money for Roswell Park Cancer Institute)

“I rely on fundraising letters. I’ve been very successful with the letters and simply asking EVERYONE. Some of my teammates host wine tastings, dinner parties, casino nights at local bars or clubs. Also a pedicure outing.”
—Maggie (in her second season with The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training, “It’s all worth the hard work.”)

“Bunco games and yard sales always make lots of money.”
—Tina Mickelson (raises money every year for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer)

“I have a raffle in my classroom, but other than that…I just ask!”
—Kristine (coaches and runs with Girls on the Run, and also runs for a local school for Autistic children)

Now we're taking it to you mothers: What are your best fundraising ideas?

18 responses to “Train Like a Mother: Charity Fundraising Ideas

  1. Fundraising organizers are realizing that in order to complete the event with a significant amount of raised revenue, it must be run as efficiently and resourcefully as a business. Websites, online payment capability, and electronic payment processing are three key factors that can help overcome many of fundraising’s obstacles. -‘

    Latest blog post on our webpage

  2. Hey there superb website! Does running a blog similar to this
    take a large amount of work? I’ve absolutely no expertise in coding however I was hoping to start my own blog soon. Anyways, should you have any ideas or tips for new blog owners please share. I understand this is off topic nevertheless I just had to ask. Thanks!

  3. I’m raising money for GOTR, Girls on the Run, and organization that encourages preteen girls to develop self-esteem and healthy lifestyles through running. I’m close to meeting my minimum for the Sun Trust Rock and Roll Half Marathon (my first half!) I’ve emailed all on my contact list, but the best response was when I posted a blog post on the ‘5 Reasons why I need your help'(, then tweeted about the blog post, and posted on Facebook.
    I’d love for you to help me…..

  4. I’ve raised more than $15,000 for the LLS through Team in Training over just 3 seasons. I’ve never had to do a fancy fundraiser. All I’ve ever done is just ask! Letters, emails, facebook. Most people that know me know that my father and sister both died of Leukemia so it is a cause near and dear and people have bent over backwards to help me.

  5. I ran the Disney Marathon and raised money for Team FARA since my friend’s 2 sons have Friedreich’s Ataxia. I sold space on my marathon playlist. It was $20 to add a song or $50 for 3 songs. There were a few restrictions: less than 5 minutes, have lyrics and some sort of melody. I wanted people to feel like by donating, they were participating in the race with me. I was surprised how much thought people put into their songs, and now whenever I hear the songs that people chose, I instantly think of the person who added it. It was a great success, but I must admit that having to listen to “Top of the World” by The Carpenters during mile 18 is something I hope to never experience again 🙂 .

  6. Just ask, be genuine and you will be amazed at the generosity and support. You will never run again like you do when you have $10K of supporters and their stories behind you.

  7. I run all of my races for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. I am a Registered Nurse of 14 years and a mom. When I leave my workplace I feel like I should be doing more. I have a group of local teens who joined me in raising funds last year when they heard about what I do and now I have a group that is growing larger. We run lemonade stands to raise funds and I train/run.

  8. We have a family team that fundraises each year for the Walk to Cure Diabetes in honor of our son, Dylan, who was diagnosed with Type 1 as a baby. We do a letter each year with an update on Dylan and information on the Walk and send to our friends and family and they typically forward along to their contacts. Every year we have a couple of friends who really reach out and are able to come up with $500 to $1,000 each from their contacts. The friends who go big each year are different, but in the end we average around $6K per year. Facebook has been great to get info out as well. This year, our neighbor who is a fine artist committed 20% of the proceeds from a particular piece of art to JDRF. We advertised in a gallery, on ETSY and on Facebook. The piece sold in less than two weeks for full price of $2,500. The person who bought it had a personal connection with diabetes which was part of the reason she made the purchase.

  9. I ran for St. Jude Hospital and raised the money by hosting a clothing swap. I asked each attendees to bring $10 and at least one bag of clothes to swap. A local business also donated a few new pieces to scatter in the tables and racks for a scavenger hunt feel, and we raffled off a beautiful purse they gave us. One night brought in $500, and everyone went home with bags and bags of great ‘new’ clothes. I used to publicize, collect donations and thank attendees.

  10. I have been raising money for the fight against breast cancer for 6 years and will be running the Marine Corp Marathon for the second year this year for the Susan G. Komen foundation. This past year anyone who donated $50.00 or more I put their name on my race day shirt so they could run along with me. I was able to fill my entire shirt and ended up raising over $3,000.00!

  11. My training buddy and I set up a “food day” at work, including a crock-pot lunch. Anyone who wanted to eat the yummies had to contribute money toward our fundraising goal. We had tons of support of extra food and such from our co-workers, and made quite a dent in our fundraising goal!

  12. I have run the NYC Marathon the past two years for the Michael J. Fox Foundation (TeamFox). It is an amazing experience!

    My best fundraiser was a movie night at a local theater where I showed Back to the Future. I had a raffle that raised a bunch and also allowed people if they couldn’t make it to buy a ticket for children in need. I then donated those tickets to the local boys and girls club so my fundraiser helped 2 causes at once. I think I got more donated tickets than actual attendees in the end.

    The most inspiring part of my marathons and fundraising was last year when I was at mile 24 on a hill in Central Park. I had put the words “For Mom” on the back of my TeamFox singlet and my name on the front. Someone in the crowd yelled, “Keep going Karen. It’s for Mom!” That little bit of encourgement got my butt up and over that hill and to the finish line in no time.

    I’m running NYC for TeamFox this year too so if anyone wants to help me towards my $5000 goal with a $5 donation. I won’t turn it away. 🙂

  13. Well, I happen to be a professional fundraiser for a nonprofit social service agency…what works very well for individuals raising money for great causes is peer-to-peer asking..holding house parties, receptions, gatherings and asking guests to bring a friend. Ideally, have someone speak to your guests who has direct experience with your cause: another supporter, a recipient of your charity’s services, a former or current patient etc. Donors and potential donors need to connect to your cause through another human being (or animal for those fundraising for animal causes!)

  14. Bucket shakes and letters/emails to family and friends (a.k.a. your entire contact list!!) helped me reach my minimum to walk the Chicago Marathon with TNT. Make sure to ask if the store matches your total amount raised for that day. A certain large store matched my $100 raised for the day…x 10!!! and gave me a check for $1000!!! 🙂 Also, get crafty! My good friend has found a calling in making braclets and setting up outside stores. She sells them by donation only. She’s raised thousands for St. Vincent’s Walk for Hope here in Indiana!! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*Exclusions Apply

Want some mother runner insipiration with special content and deals? 

You will receive an email within the next 24 hours with your discount code!