The 10-Point Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Run/Walk/Ride Event Checklist
Peer-to-peer fundraising events continue to grow in popularity across the nonprofit sector, and the most common form is the run/walk/ride event.
They are a great way to raise awareness, raise money, and actively engage participants and supporters. Plus, the participants and their friends do a large portion of the fundraising for you.
However, planning and executing a peer-to-peer fundraising event isn't as easy as snapping your fingers. It takes a great deal of planning and consideration about things that may not be evident at the outset of deciding to embark on such an event.
At the 2014 Bridge Conference in National Harbor, Md., three fundraising professionals provided a checklist for launching a peer-to-peer fundraising run/walk/ride event. In their session "From Zero to 5K in 10 Months: The ABCs of Launching a Peer-to-Peer Based Run/Walk or Bike Ride," Sharon Kessler, interim director of special events at Children's National Medical Center Foundation; Hossein Noshirvani, executive VP and co-founder of Motionsoft; and Philip Schmitz, partner and CEO of CharityEngine, shared their insights.
The first question you have to ask yourself when deciding on whether or not to embark on a run/walk/ride peer-to-peer event is why you are doing it in the first place, Kessler said. You must clearly define your mission before really getting started.
For example, "The Race for Every Child to benefit Children's National Health System is a fun-filled annual family event with a serious purpose: To bring the DC metropolitan community together to encourage children's health and wellness and to raise much-needed funds that help the region's only children's hospital provide world-class preventive and critical medical care to every family in need."
Once you have the mission defined, it's on to the checklist:
- Set the date and location — Think long term about a place that could be great annually, Kessler suggested.
- Time of event — Is it a timed race? A family event? An early morning run/walk/ride or later in the day?
- Secure permits — It is one of the most important and hardest things to do, Kessler said — and an absolute must.
- Hire logistics management company or be prepared to do it in-house — It's a lot of work to get the logistics right … and can make or break your event.
- Identify event chair and committee members — Your event chair is your leader to help raise money and reach out to the community, Kessler said.
- Develop your fundraising plan — You must lay out financial goals and participation goals to track success. That also means having a timeline for meeting those goals.
- Create a sponsorship deck — Determine sponsorship opportunities and associated prices. Sponsorship packages can include vendor tables and tents; recognition on the website, email and print materials; race day signage and PA acknowledgments; logo or listing on select ads; complimentary race entries; VIP access on race day; inclusion in a goodie bag; naming rights to tents and category exclusivity; and podium for winners.
- Assign internal race team responsibilities.
- Map the budget — always an important part of any fundraising activity.
- Create the full timeline — including the day-of agenda.
Check back next week to gain more insights from this session, as well as some peer-to-peer fundraising run/walk/ride technology tips.