Has racing been hijacked by charities?

Is there no big event or even a small one that hasnt got you as an entrant being chased to Sponsor sponsor sponsor?

Ive worked with charities on events and found them to be honest and hard working but as a runner and race goer has running become a cash cow for charities?

I know times are hard but how desperatly do you want to run a race if it costs £800 and if you dont raise the money they could take you to court.



  • I've been running for years and the only charity races I've done are a couple of small ones for local charities. Most time it's pretty easy to get a place. And putting some sponsor forms in with your race pack isn't a problem for me.
  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭
    It's honestly becoming more of a bugbear for me. Yesterday at a race -90% of people were from a charity. The support from the charities was FANASTIC but still - there were list of people there running solely for a charity.... I felt like the odd one out!

    When I got a ballot place for VLM last year I asked a local charity if they wanted me to raise money for them and they were so chuffed but couldn't accept it due to the overheads required on their side to set up the virginmoney page/advertising etc.
  • Giants Head is deliberately charity free Ive had two approach me both really worthy causes who I have worked with before but sometimes its nice just to race and run with out being charity over killed

  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭
    I salute you for that. I thought it was a great idea for the camping costs to go to the church fund. To be honest - I'm more likely to give money to the local causes at a race than a national charity.
  • Never heard of a charity taking someone to court for not raising the minimum?!
  • I'm quite happy for a race like the Belvoir Challenge to make money for the local school. But these big corporate charities are no better than the bankers. They pay themselves big salaries on the back of the scmhucks who run for them and the schmucks who sponsor them. After the fat cats have taken their money there is little left for the people who need it. It's a scandal that survives because no-one wants to criticise a "good cause"
  • Cancer research pays its ??100k + a year is it value for money?
  • Sorry Goldbeetle. Can you write that in a way that makes sense?
  • Sorry fat fingers on an iPhone  Cancer Research pays its CEO £100+ per annum is it value for money?


  • The only races I did for charity were the old Run10k races. Ran 2 of them and collected sponsorship.

    I've also run 3/4 half marathons which have donated the profits from the entries to charity and the organisers/marshals have all been volunteers.

    Otherwise, it's that VLM 'Sorry you have been unsuccessful this time' time of year again.

    I prefer the second type of race and I'm fairly sure most club organised events tend to donate profits to the club's chosen charity.
  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    I'm quite happy to enter the races that give their proceeds to charity. I just don't agree with it when you go to enter a race, find out that it's sold out and then told that there are "loads" of charity places available, at a huge cost.
  • Don't get me wrong I'm not moaning about charitable involvement in anything. But has any other sport so heavily dominated by events that are influenced, controlled or wholly run by charities? I bet they are hatching a plan to muscle in on ParkRun LOL

  • Even publicity and news is an uneven playing filed it would seem.Heres a quote from a guy who works on my local newspaper.

    "Do you know why Race For Life gets so much coverage and other bigger competitive races get little or none? RFL pays the paper a large retainer for advertorials not just a few quid thousands per annum"

    Is this true? dunno but my local paper is only interested if it can send down a photographer so they can sell their pics online. 

  • WombleWomble ✭✭✭
    Cancer Research UK's income in the most recent year reported was ??492million. Don't you think that some in the for-profit sector would take a tad more than ??100k+ in salary in charge of an organisation that size?

    And no, charities can't take you to court for not coming up with sponsorship money. You have no contract with them to do so, at most a pledge.
  • WombleWomble ✭✭✭
    Oops fell for the trolling again. Silly me.
  • I'm not trolling
  • I'm trying to have a discussion about a somewhat taboo subject
  • Seems that some people's idea of trolling is not having the same opinion as them. Maybe they should all go on the Care Bears forum and just agree how wonderful evrything is.
  • I think you need to look at the charities individually................each wage for CEO's need to be looked at in relation to the whole business and how they affect it............I'm sure like in all walks of life.some wuill be overpaid and some underpaid........

    But if as yoiu say SR.they take all the money..........then how on earth would the people helped get helped......

    I have recieved a hell of a lot of help through a charity over the years..............so when I do a race that is a big challenge for me then i raise sponsorship for that charity....


    I am more wary of the companies that state....all of the profits go to charity........I would like to look into the business to see how much they pay themselves in relation to the amount that ever goes to charity..............

  • one of our local races last year added a £1 onto every entry for a local charity.and the guy form the charity doid the work then for the enteries etc..........It was a sell out at about £700................

    I thought was great because it if you didn't like it you didn't need to enter but it raised a nice few pounds for the charity without anyone having to get their sponsorship forms out........

    it also raised the awareness of the charity..........I know we sent out christmas donation instead of sending cards to that charity last year

    another erace sends out sponsorship forms but with no hardsell or asking if yiou have raised money.

    I'm happy with all these types of fundraising


  • Looking at that list, im actually more inclined to run for the charities with the fewest income now lol

  • Wouldn't it be better running for a charity that means something to you ? Not the Orkney Refuge for battered Weasels - just because it doesn't get that much money ? It probably doesn't need millions.

    And of course charities pay people. They're big organisations - they need competent staff who raise more money than they are paid.

    Would you be able to work for nothing NLR ?

    All of the charities have to file their accounts anyway do you can see what overheads they have.

    I'm always impressed by the salvation army building in London though - that must have cost them millions in a prime site.
  • Edit - just got round to reading about the Salvation Army hq. they owned the land and sold 2/3 of it for offices and the profit just about covered their new building.

    You learn something every day.
  • 100K is not a lot of money for a quality CEO. It is going to depend largely on his ability to perform at the highest level. If he is bringing significantly more money in for his charity because of innovative ideas and fresh approach, wouldn't you say that was money well spent? Or should he work his bollocks off for minimum wage, simply because his employer has charitable status? He is WORKING for them, not volunteering.

  • Cougie - is that the one by the Millennium bridge? I went for a run round there not long ago and it caught my eye too.....

  • My view - charity involvement in some races has reached a point where it's almost impossible to take part without being attached to a charity. I have no idea about percentages, but it does seem that a lot of places are reserved for charity runners, and those places are pretty damn expensive (to the charity as well? I don't know) and often with the addition of high sponsorship targets. My experience of fundraising doesn't go much beyond putting up a Justgiving page, handing round a sponsorship form and running the odd cake sale. I've not got a hope of raising hundreds/thousands of pounds. Nor the time to be more inventive - job, training, etc. So I simply can't take part if I miss out on a standard entry.

    On the other hand, if I can get my own place I'd be happy to raise a bit for a charity.

  • I'm a charity fundraiser and yes I do get paid for that.  We have to pay quite a lot for places and the number we can get is often restricted, so we only have five VLM places while we have many more potential runners.  We have learned the hard way, I am very worried about the Royal Parks Half team, they don't seem to have raised anything and they didn't fill in the entry forms until literally the last possible hour, or people not running and not telling us so we can transfer the place (one company asked for more British 10k places than they used but we still had to pay £35 for the unused entries, another had a VLM drop out and didn't tell us in time to defer or replace).   So from now on we're going to have to charge a registration fee which is a shame.  As a runner myself I know there is a limit to how much money one can raise anyway and enter all my races on my own place.

  • LB - thats the one - my first thoughts were that it was a tad excessive - but looking into it - its a huuge charity and they'd had the site for many years so its not as extravagant as I thought. 

  • Yes, I think the 'big' races have been seen as a cash cow by charities, but there are ways to avoid it.

    Enter local club-organised races - not much sign of charities there.

    My local half marathon is organised by the Rotary club, to raise money for charity.  They do suggest you get sponsorship, but there's not pressure at all to do so (unlike R4L).

    Another local race is organised by a PTA to raise money for school funds.  Again, however, no pressure for sponsorship.

    Charities have a duty to raise the most money they can for their causes - running seems to work for them.  Complaining about it won't change it.


  • I'm worried now about beat up Weasels wandering Kirkwall with nowhere safe to rest up ......
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