From jog-a-thons to relays to marathons, charities have utilized running as a crucial stepping stone for program fundraising. It's an effective way to make individuals feel part of a cause, see the impact of their charitable efforts and join a community of like minded people. Although each charity is well deserving of support, it seems that every month there is a new jog-a-thon or run relay soliciting for funds. The redundancy of similarly designed fundraisers can cause some contributors to avoid donating to each cause.
Remember Lance Armstrong's Livestrong wristband? In 2004, the wristband was introduced to raise money for The Lance Armstrong Foundation. Within 6 months, the foundation's $25 million fundraising goal was achieved and over 70 million Livestrong wristbands have been sold to date. As other charities witnessed the success of the Livestrong wristband, variations of the band were introduced to the marketplace. Quickly, consumers had a rainbow of wristband colors to purchase. The novelty of wearing a wristband, became lost in the clutter of selection. How many of those wristbands do we see now?
As more nonprofits are searching for innovative ways to build their endowments and distinguish from other fundraising efforts, I'm surprised more don't think outside the track and make a splash into the pool. For example, SwimWithMike, an annual swim-a-thon held in Los Angeles to raise money for the Physically Challenged Athletes Scholarship Fund, brings together athletes in a refreshing way. Instead of sweating around a track, the community rallies around a pool to raise money. From swimming laps to a Belly Flop contest, the community is brought together with various pool-oriented activities to raise money for the better good. ...And it works! SwimWithMike has raised over $7.3 million dollars in the past 27 years.
As summer is setting and charities are brainstorming events for next year, why not consider a refreshing fundraiser instead of following the other charities around the track? It may create the big splash your charity deserves.