The Ninja Guide to Fundraising

A ninja was a covert agent in feudal Japan as far back as the 14th century and possibly even in the 12th century. They underwent extensive training, which involved long distance runs, climbing, stealth methods of walking and swimming.  Some legendary abilities of ninja training include invisibility, walking on water and control over nature. We know some of their techniques today because they were recorded on ancient scrolls.  In an attempt to match the skillful arts of the Ninja, we have put together this guide.  Below, you will find ten effective ways to raise money in the run up for the Race Across USA.

The Race Across USA is a footrace scheduled for January 16 through June 2, 2015 (140 days). The cause is childhood fitness. All proceeds for this event will go to 100 Mile Club® – a 501(c)3 organization.  The running distance from California to Maryland will total 3,027 miles. There will be 10 core team runners who will run across the entire country. There will be up to 20 runners in each one of the states. Runners will run stages that are approximately 26.2 miles (a marathon) long and participate in expos with students and the local community to get the word out. The event will start in Huntington Beach, California and pass through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and finally Maryland. On June 1, the runners will finish the day at the White House in Washington D.C. On June 2, 2015, the runners will complete their journey at Edgewater Park, Maryland. The goals for the Race Across USA are three fold: a) Raise awareness about childhood activity and fitness in young people, b) Raise funds to sponsor students who cannot afford the cost of the 100 Mile Club® and c) Visit schools along the route with the hope of starting new clubs.


Before we get into the actual ideas, we just wanted to pass along one other point.  Many individuals in the United States already recognize that Childhood Obesity is a huge problem.  When you explain what you are doing and why you are doing it, don’t be surprised if people are very eager to donate or sponsor you.  If you look at another way, you are actually doing them a favor because they want to help but haven’t yet found a way.  You are offering them a low-cost, sustainable, proven and effective way to stem the tide of obesity for the coming generation.  It only costs $10 per year to sponsor a boy or girl for 100 Mile Club®.

Donor letters: Send out a personalized email to all your email contacts telling them about the event and the cause.  In the email, suggest an amount that would get you closer to your goal (example, $50). Make sure to emphasize that all donations are tax deductible. Some fundraisers have had better luck with handwritten letters.

Garage Sale: Instead of monetary donations, you can also suggest item donations. Everyone has that treadmill or an old sweater from the 80’s that they don’t want anymore. By collecting donations from your neighbors, friends, co-workers and family, you have items for a garage sale that will make a considerable dent in your fundraising goals!

Sponsors: Look for local sponsors in your hometown. A small mom and pop coffee shop might be willing to donate a larger amount if wear their logo on your running jersey.

Car Wash: Car washes can be a great way to generate money fast.  Make sure to find a location on a busy street with a large parking lot and water available.  If possible, call several local youth groups for volunteers.

Dinner Party: Invite friends and family over for a night of good food and lots of fun.  Try to get the food donated from several local restaurants.  Another option is to ask a friend to host the party at their place.  During the event, make sure to get everyone’s attention for a few minutes to explain that you are running across the entire state (or entire country!) to help address the county’s childhood “inactivity” problem.

Games: Some fundraisers have had success with charging to play certain games of  chance or skill. These games can be played at lunch, after work or on the weekend.

Special Event: If you have a birthday or anniversary approaching, host a party and ask that guests provide you with a donation to 100 Mile Club® in lieu of gifts.

Extra Change: Put an extra change jar next to the cash register of a cafeteria or restaurant. Be sure to note that donations will go to 100 Mile Club®.

Bake Sale: If you like to bake and your work in a large office, you can raise money by selling cookies in the breakroom.

Matching Gifts/Matching Grant Programs: Ask if your company has a matching gifts program. Companies like Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club offer matching grants so stop in and ask for an application.


If you have successfully used one or more of these ideas, please post your experience in the comments below with the goal of helping others to be their best.

Run-Walk Events is chartered as a non-profit corporation for the public benefit.  All donations are tax deductible.  All proceeds from the Race Across go to the 100 Mile Club®.

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4 comments on “The Ninja Guide to Fundraising
  1. irishgoat says:

    Excellent. Virtually all of my $10K for the Racing the Planet: Iceland fundraisers came from two yardsale/garage sales. People love to buy your race shirts, old medals, exercise equipment, old exercise video/DVDs, etc. “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure….”

    • says:

      Hey Irishgoat! When I heard another runner talk about how he raised money with the garage sale, I knew I had to include it! He actually went door to door asking for donations. Most folks told him “Sorry”. But, when he asked if they had anything in their garage to donate to his sale, they were happy to see it go!

  2. Christian Riegel says:

    Nice guide! Another idea to add is to organize a small race to raise money. Katherine and I will organize at least one 3 and 6-hour race this summer on a 4 km loop. The course makes it easy to provide an aid station and have oversight of the runners. We’ll ask people to pay $30-40 dollars and target around 30 runners and walkers, and 100% of the proceeds will go to the 100 Mile Club.

    • says:

      This is a fantastic idea Chris! Really!! I’m thinking about doing the same this Fall.