The Childhood Cancer Blog

3 Tips to Turn Your Virtual 5K into a Charitable Fundraiser Success

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By: Shannon O'Connor

Are you running a 5K this year? It’s easier than you think to turn your race into a virtual fundraiser to help kids with cancer.

Just ask John – a member of Team Lemon, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation’s (ALSF) charity racing team. John is an elementary school teacher and avid runner who plans to race in the TCS New York City Marathon for ALSF later this year. Knowing kids needed his help now, he decided to hold a motivational race of his own to fundraise for his marathon goal, setting up a virtual 5K that anyone could join.

His virtual 5K was held in March 2020. John accepted donations of $5 or more from participants which brought him close to his $3,500 goal.

“I’ve realized that a lot of runners would be missing upcoming races for the next few months and they wouldn’t have anything to look forward to,” said John when asked what inspired him to hold the 5K.

“As a runner, I see a race as my motivation, so I decided to plan a 5K to motivate myself and encourage others!”

Lots of races are taking a page out of John’s book and holding their 5Ks online: like ALSF’s free Virtual End Childhood Cancer Walk/Run on May 23.

Whether you’re holding your own virtual 5K or joining others for the Virtual End Childhood Cancer Walk/Run 5K, here are a few tips to make your virtual 5K fundraiser a charitable success:

1.    Send email updates.

One of the most important things to do is to keep your participants or teammates in the loop by sending regular updates. Sending your own motivational emails will not only get people excited about race day, but also create a sense of community and encourage them to move!

2.    Post about the 5K on social media.

In addition to emailing friends and family, John shared information about the upcoming race via his Instagram. He included when it was happening and how to participate so others could get pumped up about it too!

3.    Share photos before, during and after.

Posting pictures is a fun and easy way for runners and walkers to engage with you and each other and attract interest from possible donors. There’s no need to worry about taking that perfect selfie – a shot of your running shoes or the mile tracking app you use will do the trick!

Steal these ideas to get started and check out extra tips to help you fundraise on ALSF’s 5K webpage. 

Getting active for a good cause is a selfless choice to make and one that shouldn’t be taken for granted. While some of us can step outside the safety of our homes, childhood cancer families don’t have that option. Taking care of a child sick with cancer is one thing, but the threat of a global pandemic adds increased fears for these families. Not only are these kids immunocompromised, meaning they are more at-risk of severe complications if they contract the disease, they also can’t stop treatment for their cancer. They must continue to visit hospitals and clinics to get better.

Money raised through the Virtual End Childhood Cancer Walk/Run 5K will support the ALSF COVID-19 emergency fund. This fund was created to provide immediate aid to these kids and their families through grocery assistance, extending safe, isolated lodging near treatment centers, and facilitating travel for care where possible. You can designate the funds from your 5K fundraiser to the emergency fund too and make an impact on kids who need your help.

So, get on your feet for a good cause! As John said, “What better way to help children end their fight with childhood cancer?”

Happy fundraising!

Ready to join the Virtual End Childhood Cancer Walk/Run 5k? Run or walk anywhere anytime on May 23 and make a real impact by registering for free here.

Want to get moving for kids fighting cancer? Join Team Lemon, ALSF’s charity racing team, to run a race of your choice any time of year and raise funds and awareness for childhood cancer research.