Chicago marathon fundraising

Marathon Fundraising – Making a Huge Impact

Running a marathon. What an accomplishment. 26.2 miles of physical and mental perseverance. The people who run them are incredible and we should all be inspired by their determination. But marathon fundraising is also a big deal. Setting aside the physical and mental awesomeness of these runners, most people participating in big races like the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon and the TCS New York City Marathon are also fundraising for the causes that mean the most to them. And they are all so successful in leveraging their athletic goals and pursuits for raising money for places that need it the most. It’s such a win-win that it almost doesn’t seem possible. But it is.

We Run Chicago

While the Cubs keep Chicago in a frenzy, the city is still coming down from an amazing marathon earlier this month, where over $2.2 million was raised by nearly 200 charity teams. And these donations came from almost 10,000 people. Talk about crowdfunding for a cause. Check out the leaderboard, which was topped by Girls on the Run – an amazing org afterschool program for girls ages 8-14 that uses the power of running to inspire them for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living. This team alone team raised over $260,000 in donations for the marathon. Amazing.

Girls on the Run - marathon fundraising

Marathon Fundraising: We Make it Easy

So many of the top endurance events in the world trust CrowdRise as their fundraising platform. Ironman, Tough Mudder and the John Hancock Boston Marathon (which raised over $27 million last year alone) ar just a few examples of larger events. But we also offer full support and registration integration for more medium- and small- sized events all across the country, because we want to ensure that everybody has a chance to give back while pushing themselves to their limits. Now get out there and start training. And pick a cause that you want to do it for.

Decent Humans – October 2016

The world is full of Decent Humans. It’s an awesome and inspiring reality. And here are some of the most amazing campaigns going on right now on CrowdRise.

24-Hour Impact Project

Decent Humans - Ethan and Lisa Zohn

TV personality, former pro soccer player, two-time cancer survivor, and newly married Ethan Zohn and his wife, Lisa Heywood, skipped their traditional honeymoon. Instead, they decided to change the lives of over 600 children who escaped turbulence back in Syria and are now living in refugee camps in Greece. They raised over $45k in less than 24 hours and just released an amazing impact video showing your donations at work.

Harry Potter Fan Experience

Decent Humans and Fantastic Beasts

Join J.K. Rowling and Eddie Redmayne at Carnegie Hall and see Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them on November 12 – before it comes out in theaters. That’s right, by supporting the critical work of Lumos, you can win a trip for two to New York, see the film early, and go to the post-screening reception with members of the cast. Plus you can win a signed copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling.

What if Halloween was about more than candy?

Decent Humans - Unicef
Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF began 66 years ago as a way to help kids affected by World War II. The program is still going strong and you can be a superhero for millions of children in need. This Halloween, you can be a superhero for millions of children who live in countries where poverty, war, or natural disaster make it difficult to get even the basics they need to survive.

“We will ride for her and for all those who have cancer.”

Decent Humans - Mary

Mary is in the 8th grade and her favorite teacher, Mrs. Smith, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Determined to honor her teacher, Mary set out to ride 125 miles and raise $10,000 for a scholarship in Mrs. Smith’s name.

Music Therapy

Decent Humans - music

Following a dream of helping others Kate has always loved music and plays virtually every instrument she can get her hands on. Through a school research project, she discovered a technique where she could use music to help individuals who are developmentally disabled. After 5 years of taking her music to her patients, now she’s getting a space to set up her therapy clinic.

Join the Decent Humans movement

Decent Humans tee

Decent Humans drop everything to help the homeless, we travel the globe to aid refugees and we understand that helping our friends, neighbors and even strangers is something you just gotta do. When you see someone wearing a Decent Human tee, you know that they’re a part of a special movement that’s relentless about giving back. Get yours today.

love charity: water

Why we love charity: water on Instagram

It’s hard not to love charity: water. They’re a crazy successful organization that for the last ten years has been at the forefront of getting clean water to the people who need it most – and they’re constantly innovating in the nonprofit space.

And for all of the great things that charity: water (which from now on we’ll go between calling them that and CW) does, we are going to highlight one aspect of their work: why they are so effective on Instagram – and why we love that so much.

1. They make you care by humanizing their issues

So many places have the most noble of missions, but they don’t do a good job of making large issues small – and that’s what charity: water is great at. Access to clean water is a very far-removed issue for so many people, and one that would be easy to not care about it if it wasn’t impacting you directly. But CW taps into the human side of the story and shows that the people being affected are just like you: they’re human and often they could be your neighbor. And that’s the first reason why we love charity: water.

2. Their imagery is beautiful

The Boy Who Walked for Water: Part 3/3 Devison wasn’t trying to be a hero or take a stand; he just wanted to do the right thing. He wanted his mom to have time to do more important things. He wanted his sister to be able to go to school too. And not only did he give time back to his family in the same way that clean water would, but he also set an example for the other boys in his community. Collecting water requires hours of painful work for women around the world every single day. But we can help change that. We can bring clean water into these communities and significantly lighten the load for women (and boys like Devison) so all of them can focus on more important things: like each other. Photo: @estherhavens

A photo posted by charity: water (@charitywater) on

You don’t need us to tell you this, but Instagram is an image-driven platform. And you also don’t need us to tell you this, but the difference between a hi-res, perfectly-composed photo with an iPhone 4 photo from the nosebleeds at a Kanye concert 2 years ago is staggering. And charity: water only uses the best, hi-res images. They’re rich in color, sharp in contrast, they have compelling people and often use beautiful backdrops. Your eye is just drawn to the photos they post.

3. They understand the importance of brand consistency

Even if you didn’t know charity: water’s name you’d probably know their iconic symbol: the yellow Jerry Can. While these are ubiquitous across the developing world to carry fuel or water (very interesting read here), CW has made it part of their organizational identity. Across their Instagram page you’ll not only see pictures with the yellow Jerry Can in the background of shots, you’ll see flashes of that vibrant yellow in most of their content. It’s a very subtle thing, but we love it so much.

4. They break down their issues in the clearest of ways

Never underestimate the impact you may have on someone else's life.

A photo posted by charity: water (@charitywater) on

There was no pun intended there. Say you hear the name charity: water for the first time. You’re going to know pretty much what they do. And while this is admirable (think of all the places where you really have no clue what they’re all about by their name), but they also show you in stark terms the importance of their work and their issues: Dirty water versus clean water. It’s a no-brainer that’s universal in its message. Just one more reason why we love charity: water.

5. They use their Instagram to promote their presence on other social media accounts

We've been keeping it 💯 since 2006. Want to see what we mean? Join us on Snapchat. (Link in bio) – #keepit💯

A video posted by charity: water (@charitywater) on

As everyone knows, diversification is the name of the game. And from playing the stock market to posting on social media, keeping your eggs in multiple baskets is the way to ensure long-term success and sustainability. In this case, they’re promoting their Snapchat page, which is a super smart way of a) letting people know they have a Snapchat account, b) subtly letting people know that they know what’s up, and c) broadening their audience as much as possible.

6. They highlight their supporters to the rest of the community

This is a big one. People love getting recognition and being shown appreciation for the work that they do. And while this is important in the workplace (where people have more of an obligation to be there because of the whole paycheck and benefits thing), it’s especially important to show people that you appreciate them when they are volunteering their time. They don’t have to spend their time with raising money for your organization – so give them a shout out here and there. To most people it will mean the world. And charity: water does an amazing job of showcasing their people.

7. They show their leadership with their sleeves rolled up

Standing alongside local partners since September 2006. Thanks for standing with us.

A photo posted by charity: water (@charitywater) on

CEO Scott Harrison is a very active presence across CW and on many of their projects – and it’s really nice when you see leaders of businesses and organizations getting their hands a little dirty. Seriously, so great.

And that’s why we love charity: water

Great, right? Show them some love and give them a follow over on Instagram today. And then Twitter. Then Facebook. And then Snapchat (username: charitywater). And then wherever else they are, because they’re a model of doing this stuff right. Especially Instagram, though. And that’s why we love charity: water.

Modernize the Donate Button on Your Website

CrowdRise can power the donate button on your website, bringing a mobile friendly and seamless donation process to all your donors.

Based on feedback from thousands of our charity partners, we’ve developed a modern, simple, and effective donate button that you can use to power donations directly from your site. It’s customized to fit your organization’s brand and will work seamlessly and securely on desktop and mobile devices. It’s pretty amazing and here’s the breakdown on everything the donate button brings to the table.

*We didn’t actually do a survey to get this number. Had we done a survey, guessing we’d be sort of close.

New CrowdRise Donate button


No Platform Fees

There are no platform fees, only credit card fees (as low as 2.2%). And we give your donors the option to cover these fees getting you closer to cost-free fundraising. For real.

Branded & Customizable

We handle all of the hosting and security for the donation process, but donors will feel like they never left your site. You can custom brand your donate page and donor receipt which is amazing because branded donate pages have a 37% higher average donation than unbranded donate pages.

Modern & Fully Responsive

The donate flow is clean, simple and so intuitive. And since it’s fully responsive, it works seamlessly across all mobile devices and browsers. Such a huge game-changer for most charity partners.

Recurring Donations

Monthly giving is one of the fastest growing forms of online giving, and we’ve optimized the donation process to easily handle recurring donations. In one fell swoop you’ll solve your need for a responsive donation process and your desire to start building a base of monthly donors.


The most innovative charities have a Fundraise button right next to their Donate button. We can make that happen for you with a single line of code. The goal is to turn your most passionate supporters into fundraisers. A $50 donor is amazing but a $500 or $1000 fundraiser is a game changer. The American Red Cross, UNICEF, and the International Rescue Committee have already launched fundraise buttons on their sites, and we can get yours live in a day. And, just like the donate button, it can be custom-branded for your charity.

Social Sharing

We’ve been helping our charity partners raise money for over 6 years. Our proven social sharing methods within the donation process can lead to 3x as many donations.

Smart Saved Card Technology

Smart saved card technology means that donations will still be processed successfully even if the donor’s credit card expires or they get a new card number. It’s amazing technology that works with most credit cards, and will instantly increase your volume, especially valuable as you build a base of monthly donors.

Centralized Reporting and CRM Integrations

CrowdRise is integrated with Salesforce, plus other leading CRM systems. We also offer an API and you have full access to the CrowdRise Report Center, where you can see donor and fundraiser activity all in one place and all in real time.

Donate Button is Secure and Reliable

CrowdRise and our payment partners are PCI Compliant and can handle massive volume. We work with the largest charity and event partners in the world so there is no need to worry about security or scale.

When you’re ready to get your donate button or if you have any questions at all , please shoot us an email at and we’ll dig in. 

Shootout for Soldiers

Amazing Charities Spotlight: Shootout for Soldiers

Shootout for Soldiers is a great organization and they do so many things really, really well. They have a great mission: to use the platform of lacrosse to engage communities with their local veterans and support their healthy and successful transition into civilian life. They have a great website. They have super-effective social media. They have amazing charity partners. And they absolutely crush it at online fundraising.

Shootout for Soldiers Just Crushing It

If you didn’t click any of the links above, here’s what they do: every summer, Shootout for Soldiers holds 24-hour lacrosse games across the country to raise money for troops and veterans causes. This year they did 8 events. And they raised over $500,000. That’s over half a million bucks. We were lucky enough to catch up with Tyler Steinhardt, Founder and Director of Shootout for Soldiers, to ask him a few questions about how they do everything so well – specifically online fundraising and about how they got started with CrowdRise.

CR: You guys raised nearly $530,000 this year. So successful. Can you share any tips of how you’re being so effective in your online fundraising?

TS: I’d say the biggest thing that we’ve learned about fundraising is that if you just give people the tools, they’ll run with it in their communities. What we find is that 80% of our teams fundraised over $750, which is our minimum fundraising goal. That’s a testament to the dedication of the call to action, not necessarily the goal. When you put it out there and just set a minimum bar, people will oftentimes go above and beyond to top that, and they’ll get creative with it. We spent a lot of time thinking about how we can inspire people but not push the limit too much because we don’t want to be in your face about the fundraising process. We just gave people a tool, and they did much better things with it than we could ever imagine. That was something very cool for us to see.

Shootout for Soldiers big check

CR: Can you share a specific example?

TS: Sure. The real inspiring thing is how people make it personal at our event. A good example would be our top fundraising team in Ohio: Team Smitty. The team was just ten and eleven year old kids from central Ohio who’ve gotten involved with the events. They were playing in honor of a fallen Columbus police officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty. They just took it on. And in addition to Team Smitty, we saw numerous instances of honoring someone personally related to them or connected to them in some fashion. That was really powerful because it makes it not just about how much you’re raising but more the reason why you’re doing it in the first place. It’s incredibly humbling to see that fundraising and the drive of these teens who are doing it for those reasons.

CR: Can you tell me a bit about how you got started?

TS: Yeah, definitely. We started Shootout for Soldiers when we were high school seniors in 2012 at Boys’ Latin in Baltimore, Maryland. Why we started was real simple: a bunch of us in this community service club had watched this 60 Minutes piece about veterans returning home from war, and we just looked at each other afterwards. We watched the video, and we said, “How do we act? How do we do something about this?” We realized that we were at an impasse, that as prideful as we are in our country, a lot of us were finding it hard to figure out what to do. It wasn’t actionable like going to a homeless soup kitchen or going to the ASPCA and walking dogs. It was very tough to go out and do something. We came up with the idea of doing a fundraiser. We said, “Okay, this is where we want to make the difference. Let’s choose a sport that we love, lacrosse, and just do it.” I have no direct tie to the military, no veterans in my immediate family, nothing along those lines. I just felt, alongside many of my friends, very grateful for the freedoms and the safety we have in this country, people who put their lives on the line to defend that. I wanted to give back in some way, and running a small little lacrosse event was how we got started and what we’re still doing now.

CR: Amazing. Can you tell us a bit about how you came to CrowdRise and starting use the platform for your online fundraising?

TS: It was 2014, and at the time I started fundraising for a campaign to bring Team Uganda to the Lacrosse World Championships in Denver. I was working for an organization called Fields of Growth International. They had created this event on CrowdRise. I looked at it and I thought, “This is really unique because it’s not just a cleaner and simple way of fundraising, but it empowers the individual and shows how the individual goes out and does their work underneath the teams.” So for Shootout for Soldiers, it says Team Lakers, and then it says Tyler Steinhardt or Jerome Brooks or Bill Owens, or whatever the player is underneath that individual whose fundraised themselves. I thought that was very cool how you can see the people who are doing the legwork for their team and it wasn’t just one giant page of people that donated. It showed the hard work and the personal stories behind it.

Shootout for Soldiers is an organization with its roots based in the simple desire to make a difference, and are proof that when this is paired with the correct online fundraising tools, you can make a huge impact. They are an amazing organization, and we couldn’t be prouder to be partners with them.

Get Started with Online Fundraising Today

If you’re interested in online fundraising on CrowdRise for your charity, it’s ridiculously easy to set up.