I received a nonprofit fundraising email the other day. As most of us quickly do, I scanned it and noticed they were promoting a mud run.

I love innovative and creative ways to fundraise and I think those organizations that are focused on peer-to-peer fundraising and team events should consider a mud run as well.

SONY DSCMany nonprofits, particularly those nonprofits that deal with disease, are great about doing 5 kilometer or 10 kilometer races, but a mud run is a way to take it up a couple of notches. A mud run is an athletic obstacle course or trail that is developed for participants to complete. Many mud runs are competitive, but yours does not have to be. It can simply be about team spirit and completing the messy and muddy course, which is where all the fun is found.

The course typically goes for 5K or even a 10K and should be developed by specialists in the field. The mud run has its basis in the obstacle course run by military personnel and so you may find when you reach out to event planners with this special expertise that they may have military backgrounds.

During the course of the mud run, participants may have to climb walls or netting, jump into and out of water holes, or crawl through pipes. These obstacles are created as a challenge to participants and team members who should work together to motivate and pull each other through to the completion of the run.

If your organization is looking to perhaps turn up the fundraising level, creativity and fun up, there are some things your nonprofit should keep in mind when developing a mud run:

  • You are always looking for safety first, so whomever you partner (if you go outside of your in-house event team) with for the race, make sure they have experience and also consider safety as their first priority.
  • You will want to decide on an event date and time. In this particular event, if there is some rain, it can even add to the fun.
  • When you are looking to select a site and external vendors, see if they have worked with other organizations doing a mud run. Ask for references and call them to find out any challenges that may have arisen.
  • Always make sure that have solid contracts, participant waivers and at least $1 million coverage in insurance.
  • Develop a detailed logistics plan for the mud run. For example, decide if your event will be timed or not. Will there be a raffle or prizes? Will you be giving away organizationally branded t-shirts for the participants?
  • Develop a budget and sponsorship opportunities. This can be a very good event for local businesses and corporations to sponsor and they might even want to have their own respective company teams participate.
  • Recruit volunteers who will help you in preparation for the event, work on the set-up and post-race cleanup.
  • Recruit your lead fundraising ambassadors who will go out there and take charge of forming teams and become your champions. Make sure they have all the tools at their disposal to be able to fundraiser with their own sphere of influence. Create some competition and let others know top fundraising champions and teams.
  • When you have the details for your event settled upon, promote it with easy and low-cost online event registration and fundraising tools. You will also want to use social media and have your supporters join you in the effort. Make sure to have your local news media write and feature the event, because a mud run should involve the whole community.

Finally, remember again, safety first. Take the day and enjoy it, and if you want some more suggestions on the fundraising you can do with the sneakers pre and post the race, please call us at Funds2Orgs.com.


© 2015 Wayne Elsey and Not Your Father’s Charity. All Rights Reserved.