8 Creative Ways to Raise $500 for a Broad Street Charity Bib

Yes, five-hundred bucks sounds overwhelming—but it doesn't have to be. Here's how to raise it in no time.

When news broke last fall that the Broad Street Run would move to a lottery-registration system for the first time ever this year, cries of terror were heard ’round the world. I was one of the screamers. After six Broad Streets, I was afraid I’d have no hope of getting in. WHAT WAS I GOING TO DO?

First, I got a grip. Then I contacted the American Cancer Society and signed up for its DetermiNation Team. ACS is one of a handful of charities offering Broad Street bibs for runners willing to fundraise . All I had to do was raise $500 and I’d be set! I was elated until I realized just how much money $500 actually is. For the uninitiated: it’s, um, a lot. And in my blind race-lottery rage, I failed to think about how I’d manage to squeeze that much cash out of my family and friends.

Luckily, after some frantic Internet searching I realized you don’t have to beg your parents to cut you a check for the entire amount. With a little creativity, you can raise the minimum—and then some—like that.

And so I give you, 8 Creative Ways to Raise $500 for a Broad Street Charity Bib.

1. Dress Up as a Cupid/Leprechaun/Bunny Gram

This suggestion comes from my friend Mike Culnan, a regular-Joe fundraising extraordinaire. For a donation, dress up in some absurd costume that fits in with the current holiday season and deliver some candy or a small gift to the person of the donor’s choosing, accompanied by a song, dance or both. It’ll be extra awesome if it’s done at the person’s office. Think Elf: ”I love you! I love you! I LOVEEEEEEE YOU!”

2. Host a Virtual 5K

Lansdale runner and weight-loss blogger Andy Aubin is a pretty awesome dude who got his big ass (his words, not mine) in shape over the last year so he could be a better dad to his daughter. In addition to shaping up quite nicely and chronicling it for all of his loyal readers, he’s taken on the challenge of fundraising for a Broad Street bib. His idea? The Chilly Cheeks Virtual 5K. Here’s how it works: Participants pay $30, run a 5K any time, anywhere between February 1st and 3rd, and email the results to Andy (hello, honor system). He compiles the results and emails the final standings all the participants. Everyone gets a certificate and finisher’s medal, along with the satisfaction of knowing that most of the entry fee is going right to the American Cancer Society through the DetermiNation program.

3. Hold a Beer Olympics

Don’t pretend like you’re not excited about this idea. Have people sign up in teams (the number of members can vary based on the size of the competition) and have them pay an entry fee to participate in various drinking games (flip-cup and beer pong are the standards, but almost anything can be made into an appropriate drinking game). At the end, give medals to the Gabby Douglases and Ryan Lochtes of the beer world. Entry fees should be calculated based on the size of the games, so make sure you factor in the cost of beverages and snacks. No one likes a party without snacks.

4. Donate Your Arms and Legs

Offer (for a price, of course) to write the names, slogans, or sayings of family, friends, and local businesses on your arms, legs, forehead, fingers, or whatever else you want during the race. If you break it down all the way to each finger, there’s no telling how far this idea could get you with your fundraising goal.

5. Host a Happy Hour

A lot of the local drinking holes are willing to get in on the charity game. Contact your favorite spot to see if they will work out a deal for specials. For example, Tavern on Broad has offered wristbands for half-off drinks or appetizers. Sell the wristbands for a price of your choosing and gather your friends for a fun night at the bar where both your friends and your fundraising goals win.

6. Host a Bake Sale

You know when baked goods magically appear on the lunch table or in the kitchen at work and everyone descends like vultures? Tap in to that phenomenon—and raise some cash at the same time—by hosting a bake sale at the office. Spend the weekend whipping up a few batches of cookies and cupcakes, then sell them for two bucks a pop on Monday. Just be sure to send an email to your coworkers a day or two ahead of time to give them a heads up so they’re ready with cash in hand.

7. Organize a Clothing Swap

If you invite the right people, this is like hitting the thrift-store jackpot. Come up with a list of girlfriends—roughly the same ages and sizes, if you can—and invite them to bring a few bags of clothes they don’t wear anymore for a Saturday-afternoon clothing swap. Have everyone pay $10 to get in (that’s the money that goes toward your fundraising goal, of course), then provide wine and light snacks while everybody peruses everyone else’s cast-offs. If you want to be super organized about it, have everyone drop off their bags a few days in advance. Then, you can make piles or stations with similar clothes—blouses and work shirts, jeans, T-shirts, sweaters. Your friends will walk away with armfuls of new-to-them clothes, and you’ll have raised a few hundred bucks toward your minimum.

8. Sell Your Facebook or Twitter Feed

Set up a Paypal account. For everyone who donates $5 to your cause, you’ll post a status or Facebook update with a message of the donor’s choosing. Or, you can offer to post something nice about the donor for all the world to see.

>> Pssst! Looking for information on how to sign up with a Broad Street Run charity? Go here.

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