Fun Run Or Charity Race? The Difference Is In The Bottom Line

12:16 AM, Nov 14, 2013   |    comments
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GREENSBORO, NC -- We live in a community where on any given weekend we're lacing up our shoes for a race.

The races are often tied to causes, charities, and communities. And we gladly pay anywhere from $30 to $50 to run. But how much of your entry fee is actually going to the good cause?

"I would expect at least 50% to go to the charity, " said a runner at the Sheffield 5k at Tanglewood Park.

Fellow runner, Jim Kinkula said, "75% should go to the charity."

One hundred percent of the entry fee in the Sheffield 5K went to the United Way of Forsyth County. The sponsors covered all the race set up costs.

But the charity linked to the Greensboro Color Me Rad race didn't see as much green.

Companies put on fun runs, like the Color Me Rad race for entertainment. Be clear, you are not running for a cause although a percentage might go to a charity.

The March Color Me Rad race made $322,000. Expenses were $284,000 for things like facility rental, merchandise and paint leaving $38-thousand.

The company made $18,000 and gave Special Olympics of North Carolina $20.000. Do the math and it's an average of $2.85 of each runner's entry fee.

Nine thousand racers crossed the finish line for The Color Run in Winston-Salem. Eighty-eight cents of each runner's entry fee went to Big Brothers/Big Sisters, making a total contribution of $8,000.
The race made an estimated $315,000 in entry fees before operating expenses.

Pam Stuber of Big Brothers/Big Sisters says, "What's priceless for us is that relationship and in the community and the thousands of people are getting together when they go along the race course and they see banners about the brothers big sisters they see pictures of our bigs and littles together and they start thinking about us."

Regardless, runners say it comes down to one thing. "We have to do some due diligence and try to figure out is this the kind of organization that I want to support."

So how did we figure out how much of your entry fee went to charity? Sheffield was happy to tell us they were giving 100% to the United Way. Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the Special Olympics of NC told us how much they received from the event and we did the math ourselves.

Color Me Rad did fill out a form (you'll see it attached as a PDF) for the state that showed their costs and the percent that went to Big Brothers/Big Sisters. You can find out if your organization filled out one of those forms by checking with the Secretary of State Charitable Solicitations Office. By law, they don't have to fill out any paperwork.

All the charities did say if you have questions, just ask.

That leads to an interesting point. All the races failed one test. The BBB created Wise Giving Standards to help us figure out if a charity is worth our money.

They require the races to put on their websites and other marketing materials just how much is going to the charity - whether it's a total dollar amount or a percentage of race fees. None of the races did, not the even the Sheffield 5K, who gave 100% of the money to the United Way.

If you want to check out a charity, go to the Better Business Bureau or GuideStar.




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