Marathon Fundraising: Using Peoples Passions to Move Your Cause Forward


The Chronicle of Philanthropy recently released a story featuring the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s video game marathon, where gamers played a variety of consoles and games non-stop during a six day event, and succeeded in raising $1.5 million dollars.

Not only was the event a success at the physical marathon location, but it was also an online success as the competition was  available via lifestream, bringing in 9.4 million viewers that weren’t able to attend the event in person.

In addition to watching the event, online viewers were also given the opportunity to donate on the event sponsors website. Offering this option not only increased the amount of donations the foundation received, but expanded their exposure and widened their audience base.

How can this benefit you? 

As the fundraising world continues to fight for donors, it’s important to consider small niche groups, such as gamers, sport specific athletes, or other tight knit, narrowly focused assemblies as potential fundraising partners.

Consider reaching out to a group or organization in your area that may be willing to partner with you to facilitate your own special “marathon.” Whether it be video games, knitting, volleyball, poetry, or dancing, getting people involved beyond the traditional volunteer avenues will help increase awareness and raise funds.

People love to doing things that make them happy and create excitement, so why not use that enthusiasm for your cause while offering a chance for community engagement and a little friendly competition.

Consider what the Children’s Miracle Network had been able to do with Dance Marathon. Since 1991, over $62 million dollars has been raised by getting people involved in an activity, and channeling that involvement into a fundraiser.

Don’t forget to think digital.

Never underestimate the importance of using social media to spread the word about your marathon, or any event for that matter. The digital world gives you access to untold numbers of people you could never reach on your own. Use it not only as a way to tell people about the event, but also as a way to offer options for involvement and donations.

The more likes and shares you can get, the more participants you are likely to enlist, the more participants you enlist, the more spectators you will garner; and every new person to hear about your cause is a new opportunity to grow your support network and increase recognition for your nonprofit and it’s cause.

About the author: Olivia is a senior at the University of Iowa pursuing a degree in journalism and mass communication as well as a certificate in writing. She is interested in how effective writing can benefit non-profit causes as well as traditional media. In her free time she enjoys reading, and photography, and has a passion for travel. 


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