Simply speaking, more and more groups with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status are reaching out to health enthusiasts who are reaching deep within to better themselves.
They’re doing it through sponsored road races, the most common of which has become the 5K, aka 5-kilometer, which is a distance of about 3.1 miles. But, to appeal to the entire family and all age groups, many 5Ks include a Fun Run or Fun Walk category, either in the full 5K distance or a 1-mile jaunt.
Of all the recent ideas in health betterment and nonprofit fundraising, this is one of the finest because it benefits everyone involved.
It benefits the nonprofit organization because it brings in needed revenue that in most cases is used to buy materials, pay for programming or provide a service that originated to fill an unmet need in our Cleveland and Bradley County community.
It benefits the donor emotionally and spiritually because it offers a “feel good” experience with the knowledge that the individual is helping a worthy cause that in turn is helping area families in need.
It benefits the donor also because it provides a location, an opportunity and a reason to get off the couch and to get physical, either through walking, jogging or running; it not only serves as an outlet to keep the momentum going among those already involved in an exercise regime, it also allows individuals to sweat it out as a group.
It benefits area businesses, companies and other nonprofit organizations who have signed on as sponsors because — for a nominal fee which in most cases is easily affordable — it provides community exposure and establishes partnerships through awareness and networking; it also aligns a business name with a respected nonprofit organization that is making a difference in the community.
It benefits the location hosting the event because it prompts other groups to do the same, thereby creating more and more community demand. Here are two primary examples. In the last couple of years, two names that are popping up in the news more and more because of community events like 5Ks and civic walks are the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway and Fletcher Park. Other locations that understand the value of such opportunities are Historic Downtown Cleveland, Lee University and high school tracks whether it’s Cleveland, Walker Valley or Bradley Central high schools.
It benefits the community because of image. Any hometown that prides itself on being family friendly is a hometown that provides opportunity, especially that which involves public health and recreational programming.
It benefits commerce. The Cleveland/Bradley County Chamber of Commerce will be among the first to remind fundraising groups that well-organized recreational events not only draw from the local community, but from neighboring jurisdictions whose residents may believe in the same cause but who might not have comparable events in their own towns. Again, 5Ks are prime examples. Runners and walkers are everywhere. Give them a cause and they will come running ... or walking.
Cleveland by no stretch is the “Capital of the 5K,” but our community is on the move and nonprofit organizations are finding a healthy way to tap into the “home” of hometown.
Many nonprofit groups are doing it.
Many are benefiting from it.
Many are beginning to explore it.
One is Shoes For Orphan Souls which last weekend held its first-time Barefoot Run 5K.
Another that recently came to our attention is the Blue Ribbon Run sponsored by The Hope Center: Children’s Advocacy Center. It’s coming Saturday.
We’ll talk about it Thursday.