When it comes to fundraising, many industry pros say there’s no better way to get where you need to go than to walk, run and ride. Indeed, as we reported last month, nearly 10 million people participated in the top 10 athletic fundraising events in 2010, raising in excess of $.1.2 billion collectively for their causes. (See graphic, below.)

Tapping into this tried and true approach to support your organization’s strategic objectives might seem straightforward, but developing an approach that’s right for you—or honing the athletic-based fundraising you’re already engaged in—can only be made more effective by exploring best practices and techniques. To that end, the Run Walk Ride Fundraising Council “supports the thousands of professional who manage athletic event fundraising programs that engage millions of people to raise billions for good causes.” The Council’s Fundraising Conference, considered the nation’s premier opportunity to learn and exchange ideas on the subject, will be held next year on March 6 and 7 in Atlanta.

Designed to “increase your share of ‘thon’ dollars,” participants will explore ways to raise more money, cut costs while maintaining quality, and better manage people and technology to best achieve the fiscal goals so critical to achieving strategic success. Conference highlights will include workshops on “Creating Great Fundraising Coaches” and “Integrated Marketing,” and an “Endurance Summit” featuring speakers from the American Cancer Society, TEAM ASPCA and other industry leaders. Event 360 CEO Jeff Shuck will also be there to discuss lessons learned from the 2011 fundraising season.

The annual Pacesetter Awards will be also presented during the conference, recognizing the best work in the field this year. Categories include best Recruitment Brochure, Print Advertising Creative, Online Video and Sponsorship Activation. The entry deadline for the Awards is December 15.

Is athletic fundraising critical to your organization’s success? Are you looking to make it so? We’d love to hear your thoughts, approaches and concerns. Get the conversation started below!

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