Our guest blogger today is the Akron Marathon's Katie Riley, on the topic of how to turn your September race into a fundraiser for your favorite charity.

The Akron Marathon has helped our community raise almost $1 million dollars over the past 15 years. We are committed to giving back to our community while also giving you a way to help a non-profit near and dear to your heart. I want to tell you about two options:

*1* How to become a Children’s Champion to raise money for Akron Children’s Hospital.

*2* How to use our online fundraising platform, Crowdrise, to raise money for a charity of your choice.



If you are interested in becoming a Children’s Champion, start by creating a fundraising page at http://marathon.akronchildrens.org. Click the "Become a Champion" link, and then the "Register Here" button on the left side of the page. Fill in the necessary information and customize your page. The platform is extremely user friendly but I am also available to help you answer any questions you may have while creating your page. Just email me at kriley@akronmarathon.org. Once you have created your page you can share it with your friends and family via email and social media channels.

The money that is donated to your page will go directly to Akron Children’s Hospital. If you have someone who prefers not to donate online they can also send you or the hospital a check. Anyone sending the check to the hospital will want to note that the donation is on your behalf as a Children’s Champion. Once the hospital has received the check, your fundraising page will be updated to reflect the donation.

Once you have created your page, Akron Children’s Hospital will send you a fundraising toolkit in the mail. If you’d like to view it before deciding to fundraise, just shoot me an email and I will send you an electronic copy of the toolkit.

In addition to the general heartwarming that comes with fundraising for Akron Children’s Hospital, there are also some pretty cool perks. Those who raise at least $250 receive a Children’s Champion Tech Shirt; at $500 add a personalized sign along the course; and at $1,000 add a medal engraving, access to a VIP area at the start of the race, and a complimentary registration to any event in the 2018 First Energy Akron Marathon race.

The deadline for fundraising was technically Aug. 18 so some benefits may no longer be available, but the shirt, medal engraving, VIP area and the 2018 registration can all be yours!


If you are interested in supporting another charity, you can set up a fundraising page on CrowdRise. Start at https://www.crowdrise.com/online-fundraising and click the "Set Up Your Fundraiser" button on the right side of the page. Fill in your information and customize your page.

The platform is user friendly but again, feel free to contact me with any questions you might have. I can also send you a step by step document for set up. Through CrowdRise you can raise money for any non-profit with a 501(c)3 number. Once you have created your page you can share it with friends and family via email and social media platforms.

All the money donated to your page will be sent directly to the charity you chose by CrowdRise. If you have someone who prefers not to donate online they can send you or the organization a check. You can then go onto you page and log the offline donation so your total reflects the donation.

-- Katie (kriley@akronmarathon.org)

On a related note, one of our Blue Line Beginners, Jim Merklin, became a Children's Champion last month and wanted to share his experience:

"I am not a fundraiser, I'm a CPA and business owner. The first time I got involved in fundraising was several years ago, when Katie Rennard of United Way of Summit County asked me to help lead a major donors group for United Way. Not because I was a fundraiser, but because I was a known leader in the community and was a roll-up-your-sleeves kind of guy who she knew would put in the strong efforts needed. What Katie taught me was that to raise money, you don't need to be a fundraiser - you need to work with those people and let them provide you the tools, and then it is all just about talking to people about something for which you feel passionate. Those words stuck with me as I eventually took on the challenge of leading the United Way annual campaign in 2013.

With Childrens' Champions, we all have kids and can share the passion of kids who need help. This fundraiser is just so easy - they give you the correspondence to send out and the webpage to make it work. I've sent it out to friends, family and associates in emails and on Facebook, and have sent periodic reminders. In the less than 3 weeks since I signed up as a Childrens' Champion, I've raised $2,500 to benefit the kids, and yet that is a drop in the bucket to what they need. If all of our Blue Line Beginners would participate in this, think of the power that all of our connections could bring to the kids! It is just so simple to do, takes no time at all to set up, and you don't need to have fundraising skills to make it happen. We've got a group of inspirational leaders and I hope everyone will be willing to join this cause and raise money for a terrific cause.

Thanks guys - see you on August 26th - when we'll have only 4 weeks left in our training. Very exciting!"