With many of us turning to technology to track and encourage our fitness activities, apps like Strava, Fitbit and MapMyFitness are a common accompaniment to your Sunday morning run. If you’re like me, not every run is for sharing – the privacy feature on my MapMyRun is pretty well used! But a recent study has highlighted that going public on training runs is an excellent way to catalyse your supporters into being fundraisers.

Studies prove it

Software provider Blackbaud has explored responses to fundraisers doing a variety of activities including running – bike rides, challenge events, marathons (separated from running) and other fitness activities. It looked into the percentage of people becoming active fundraisers, with more than £1 raised, when they log their fitness activities versus those who do not log them. What they found is striking. Across all events, the number of participants fundraising jumped as soon as participants started logging activities. Challenge, ride, and generic run and fitness activity events saw a modest uplift of between 4% – 10% more participants fundraising. For walks and marathons, the different was more dramatic. Both events saw a huge jump, with the number of active fundraisers increasing by 16% and 39% respectively. In the UK, the average amount for those with 10 + activities logged was $184; in Australia a huge amount of untapped potential was revealed by participants averaging $529. The numbers for both countries increased with the number of shares, with up to 50+ shares included in the study.

These percentages present charities with a very exciting opportunity. As somebody who ran a marathon for charity, I think charities can not only increase their bottom line here, they can dramatically deepen the relationship that they have with event participants. Anybody who has trained for a marathon – or indeed supported anyone training – knows that it takes over your life. During my training, I found my weekly sprint times fascinating. Strangely, my friends did not. This discrepancy is what creates online forums based purely around marathon talk. Charities can tap into the need to share training progress, and this is an excellent time now that we know the fundraising implications. If you are a charity, does your registration journey allow people to connect to Strava? If not, how, and when should you ask people to do this? Confident runners are likely to do it happily; more shy participants will require emails with messages of support and encouragement. Normalising this behaviour will be key, so publicise the pages of your fundraisers who are early adopters – this will help other participants feel they are becoming part of a larger community.

Support your fundraisers with ways to share their activity

Once your participants are connected, you will want to see their progress, and encourage them to share their runs for the corresponding increase in donations. On Funraisin, all the connections to Strava, Fitbit and MapMyFitness (which owns MapMyRun) are built in. There’s a tick box to enable the various apps for any event on your site, and once you’ve entered the API key you’re away. When registrant fitness data starts coming into Funraisin, you could support your fundraisers with emails or SMS messages triggered not only by fundraising specific information but also aligned to the fitness progress they’re making;

  • the amount of kms/miles/steps achieved
  • the duration of movement
  • % of distance goal achieved
  • your last long run completed (a worthy cause for celebration!)

Most marathon runners will need to train over a course of 3 – 4 months, so 50+ social shares are more than realistic for most participants – and worth encouraging. The associated fundraising average for these numbers $304 in the UK, and $1,098 in Australia!

If you want to see fitness apps synced up in practice, check out Australia’s March Charge event. This event challenges participants to walk or run, as individuals or teams, during the month of March. Participants can connect their profile with Strava, Fitbit or Map My Fitness and then each time the apps sync, the most recent fitness activity will show on their fundraising page. There’s then a great opportunity to tie in fitness achievement to gamification rewards – check out some of the profile pages on The March Charge.

For more information on linking up fitness apps, or a run through how it works (see what I did there?) – get in touch with us to book a demo here!

Mind if we send you an email?

Each fortnight we send an email to people from companies like UNICEF, Jamie Oliver Food Foundation, RSPCA,  Surf Life Saving Australia and more. Just put your email address in below if you’d like to join them.

About Ros Harber

Ros Harber leads the European and UK Funraisin team. Before working with international communications agency Golin, Ros was on the ground with Habitat For Humanity in Europe. If you'd like to get in touch with Ros, drop her a line on +44 208 449 770 or email ros@funraisin.co

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