How to Raise Money for Your Marathon: A Comprehensive Guide for Fundraisers  

Running a marathon is a feat of human endurance and a story that many people can get behind. If you’re considering running one, it represents a huge personal challenge but also a fantastic opportunity to raise money for a charity that’s close to your heart.

When raising money for charity by running a marathon, you have a range of online and offline ways to do it. Here we discuss both (and give you some tips too) in our guide to raising money for a marathon.

Setting Fundraising Goals and Planning Ahead

Women running marathon

Before you start fundraising, it’s key to set yourself fundraising goals. Having a goal helps you to stay focused and gives you something to work towards. This could be reaching a specific total or securing a certain amount of donors with a minimum contribution.

To start planning ahead, put together a fundraising page and list out your potential donors, whether colleagues, family or friends. Also consider how you’re going to promote your page – social media is a great way to do this. This will help you gauge an understanding of the potential of your fundraising efforts. 

When setting goals for your fundraising, it helps to use the SMART technique. Your goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. It makes no sense to set a fundraising goal into the thousands when you’re running a less-high profile race and only have a few connections. What is achievable and realistic in the time you have? Think about the race you’re running, the charity you want to support and how many potential people you think you can reach with your fundraising efforts.

It’s also important to measure your goals and plan ahead with key milestones to tick off on your way to your final goal. Create a fundraising timeline to help you do this.

Creating a Compelling Fundraising Story

Yes running a marathon is a feat in itself, but it doesn’t necessarily make for a compelling story on its own. Nearly 50,000 people ran the London Marathon in 2023!

But it’s fairly simple to make your personal journey one people want to get behind. Engage with your potential donors by creating videos and vlogging along the way. Show them how hard you’re pushing yourself and don’t shy away from the ups and downs. You’ll be creating a human narrative – people love a story of someone pushing against adversity.

If you give people something they can get behind, they will be much more likely to part with their cash in donations. Let them know about the charity. What is the cause? Why is it so important? What affect will donations have on the charity and its purpose? Why does it mean so much to you?

If you have personal experiences with the charity or someone close to you has been affected, tell the story. If you give people a reason to donate, it will feel like a no-brainer. Also, if you have a fundraising goal that truly inspires – that shows you’re going above and beyond – it’s likely people will get behind you too.

It’s all about the message, and getting it out there!

Raising Money with easyfundraising

The easyfundraising mobile app

As well as setting up a fundraising page on JustGiving for example, you can raise money for your personal fundraising efforts through easyfundraising. It’s a super simple way of promoting your cause and receiving donations. It works like this:

  • Sign up your personal fundraising efforts on our website.
  • Secure donations through online shopping. All you need to do is invite people to join easyfundraising and support your cause. They can then shop with more than 7,500 online retailers – the retailers will then donate a part of their total spend to your cause as a thank you for shopping with them.
  • You can also boost your fundraising efforts through our app and browser extension. And you’ll have your own personal dashboard where you can check how many supporters you have and donations you’ve secured.

To make your page and cause stand out, there are plenty of things you can do. Think back to your story and make sure it’s front and centre on your page. Consider every word you use carefully and how you can bring your messaging forward. The images you use to highlight your cause will be super important too. If you showcase your fundraising goal on your page, your supporters can see how close you’re getting to your target and the impact of their donations.

And don’t forget to share it on social media too. It’s all about creating awareness! Remember, when you’re doing it for a good cause, people will naturally want to get behind you. You just need to give them a reason to believe.

Offline Fundraising Methods: Events and Sponsorships

Online fundraising opportunities have changed the game, but you shouldn’t forget the traditional ways. The oldies are still goodies! Offline fundraising should also form a key part of your fundraising strategy.

Options like bake sales, coffee mornings, raffles, pub quizzes or casino nights are all great ideas. Pick which you think will work for you and the messaging of your charity. For example, a bake sale might be more appropriate than a casino night for your cause. You’ll need to plan your event appropriately and put a specific budget behind it – remember it’s about making money rather than spending too much. You’ll also need to promote it. Social media is a great tool again, but you can’t beat a little bit of community word of mouth too. If you’re holding a bake sale at a community hub or a pub quiz at your local, create posters and flyers to put up at the venue or hand out during other events.

Corporate sponsorship is also an avenue to consider. Can you speak to your boss about the potential for sponsorship? Are there local businesses in the area that can get behind your cause? Again, your story and the reasons behind your fundraising efforts will be integral to sponsorship. And how do you thank these sponsors? By talking about them on social media? Or running with their name on your gear? It’s up to you and can be agreed between you and the sponsors.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much money should I aim to raise for a marathon?

For some marathons, like the London Marathon, you can secure a charity entry where the charity pays for your place in the event in agreement that you raise a pre-determined amount. If you secured a place through the ballot and plan to raise money for charity, the amount you aim to raise is up to you. Remember, choose an amount that is specific, realistic and achievable.

How do I choose a charity or cause to fundraise for?

It really is up to you. Try and find a charity that resonates with you. Look at your interests. What are you passionate about and what gets you thinking? Have you or someone close to you been affected by the cause the charity supports? If you’re running for a charity that truly means something to you personally it will show in your fundraising story. Plus, it will help keep you going if you hit the wall at mile 20.

Realising your Fundraising Goals

There you have it! Some essential tips to get you started on your marathon fundraising efforts. Remember to set fundraising goals and create a compelling story that your supporters can truly get behind. Push your cause online, but keep it classic with some traditional fundraising methods too. Don’t forget to create a fundraising page on easyfundraising to give your supporters a simple way to donate to your cause whilst they shop online.

Running a marathon for many people is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and achievement. It’s a great way to challenge yourself and a fantastic opportunity to raise money for a charity that means something to you. And you just might inspire others to do the same.