Non-runners usually assume you are running races in order to raise money for some cause. In many cases they are right, of course. After all, runners raise enormous amounts of cash for endless numbers of causes. It's a fantastic relationship, total synchronicity. There are no imaginative boundaries to the creative approaches that runners employ to help charities; many of the success stories I see are the result of both luck and planning, and this aspect of running is endlessly fascinating.
I have determined that I will commit to Terry Fox Run every year, for one thing. I have also started getting involved with Run for Life as a member of the board, and that has been a real fun ride so far with endless potential. I see all sorts of opportunities to turn my running habit into a means to contribute to charitable ventures, and I am cautiously venturing into that realm.
Why cautiously, you ask? First of all, I don't want to scare people away when they see me coming, and I don't want to create any kind of negative attitude about charities as a result of my approach. Secondly, I don't have time to really get into it more than I already have at this point. And thirdly, perhaps most importantly for me, is the fact that I simply 'give at the office' and expect that most other people do as well. Running is a health/fun thing for me first and foremost. I hope, and believe, that I make an impact by my example for many people.
Like a lot of things in life, charitable organizations and functions have rules and structures for what should be obvious reasons. There needs to be 100% clarity and transparency about what the money goes for, what the charity's goals and objectives are, and that all regulatory rules are being obeyed.
So by all means, go and speak to your kid's class. Get a little informal group going. Advise a friend, 'coach' him or her along. Give advice online or in person. Make a difference. But always be clear when you're asking people for money: tell them whether they're going to get a tax receipt or not. It's that simple.
That's what I have to say about that.