Running and walking are great for your health. They're also excellent ways to raise awareness and money for causes that are important to you. If you have been running for a while, you may have participated in Race for the Cure, the Walk to End Alzheimer's or a similar fundraising event with another organization. You don't have to limit your participation to pre-planned events, though; you can plan your own.
Inclusion is a great cause to support with a solo or team run. Rather than asking people to attend a particular event, you are taking the event to them. Meeting people where they are can make them more comfortable to have challenging conversations. When you plan your own trip, you can expand fundraising to benefit multiple organizations and have better control over your social media and press coverage.
Narrow Your Focus
There are many organizations that work to make society inclusive, and your efforts will be more successful if you narrow the scope of your message and your fundraising. This can be challenging, though, as there are many areas where better inclusion is needed. One way to address this obstacle is by choosing an organization, such as the National Diversity Council, that works for equity across many intersections of identity.
Another way to narrow focus to one area of inclusion without committing the very exclusion you are hoping to eradicate is to choose an organization or two that do the work you want to encourage in a way that celebrates differences. Start by looking at the organization's website. Does it promote diversity? For example, if the organization works primarily toward LGBTQIA+ inclusion, does its website also address the additional challenges that BIPOC or disabled people who identify as LGBTQIA+ face? This may take a little more work at the beginning, but it is well worth the effort.
Clarify Your Message
Because inclusion is such a broad topic, it's important to be clear about what you are doing before you begin. The awareness portion of your project starts early. Start by creating a social media page or account for your event. This gives you an online presence that is focused on the run so that it doesn't get lost among the other posts on your personal account. It also gives you the opportunity to begin inviting people into the conversation long before you ask them to contribute funds or support.
In the months leading up to the run, tell the story of why you are doing it. Short posts about your own awareness journey may help readers identify with you and want to know more. Post a few links from the group or groups you are raising money to support each week to highlight the work they are doing. By the time you start your run, you should have clearly established its purpose.
Map Your Trip
Before you take your first step, you should know where you are going and all the stop points along the way. While it may not be wise to post your entire itinerary on the internet, make sure key people on your support team know certain checkpoints:
- Where you are ending each day
- What time you are setting out every morning
- Where you will be running
- Where you will be sleeping
Knowing that other people expect you to show up at certain places and times does more than just keep you on track. It also keeps you safe. This is particularly important if you are embarking on this adventure by yourself.
Inclusion is a worthy cause for raising both awareness and financial support, but it can be difficult to get people involved when they have to attend a particular event. Running to raise support is a clever way to document your own journey and invite them to participate.