What a beautiful day for a road race! The temperature is comforting. The skies are blue with watercolor clouds daubed here and there. The runners are wearing their shorts and t-shirts, jogging in place, ready to begin.
Lots of nonprofits hold road races as fundraising events, and some races make money for the organization.
But are the people who participate donors? Or are they just runners?
It makes a difference in how you communicate with them between events.
The Difference is Commitment
For a certain number of runners, your 5k is just a chance to do what they want to anyway: run. They can feel good about themselves because they’re helping a cause, any cause. But it may be kids with multiple sclerosis one week and homeless families the next.
We’re not picking on runners here. Foodies like to go to Taste of events. Socialites like to go to galas to see and be seen. That’s why those kinds of fundraising events are popular in the first place.
It does mean, though, that you can’t gauge the depth of a person’s commitment to your cause, or your organization, by their participation in the event. They may not even know what you do. They may just be taking part to oblige a friend!
Focus on Your Loyal Supporters
Of course, you want to thank every participant. Realistically, however, you have only so much time to spend, and you want to spend it well. That means putting it where it will be most valuable: with the most loyal supporters of your organization.
- Which of your runners also spends a ton of time recruiting other people to participate and/or donate to your organization? Give that person a variety of thanks throughout the year.
- Which runners dip into their own funds to give to you, not just for the race but for your end-of-year appeal? Make sure they know that you know how generous they are. Personalize the ask and the thank-you.
- Be on the lookout for the moment when a runner becomes a donor through some other channel. That’s a sign of deepening commitment. Give them a call and find out what’s touching their heart.