Types of Charity Sporting Events

Liver Life Walk from Battery Park in New York City on June 3, 2012
Liver Life Walkathon

There are few things that can bring together a community of people like participating in sports. While a sports fundraiser requires a major investment of time and money on the part of the hosting organization, the events are typically well worth it.

Fundraising Through Sports

Are you planning to host a charity sporting event for your next fundraiser? Prior to selecting an activity, you should explore all the options available to understand how they work and if they are a good fit for your intended crowd.

Bicycling Event

Bicyclists agree to complete a course, either open or closed, in exchange for donations. Typically, a donor agrees to pay a certain rate per kilometer. The organization may also raise funds by charging participants a standard entry fee. To generate interest and increase profits, some races include awards for those who place in the race or raise the most money.


Runners complete an extended course of approximately 26 miles. The event is competitive and top finishers are recognized and awarded a medal or trophy. Marathons are a great way to raise funds, but they sometimes require a hefty investment to host. As a result, these events are usually sponsored by local businesses or corporations. Typically, participants either pay an entry fee and part of that fee goes towards the charitable organization or they get sponsors to pledge donations.


Triathlons operate the same way marathons do, but the course is composed of swimming, cycling and running a marathon.

Golf Tournament

Playing golf at tournament

Charity golf tournaments are among the most lucrative sports fundraising options. In fact, it is common to get corporate sponsors on board, along with player sponsorships. However, it is imperative you estimate total costs to ensure the fundraising goal is attainable.

Fun Run or Walk

A charity fun run is non-competitive and times are not recorded (although a time clock may be present). Instead, runners pay an entry fee and complete the course at their own pace. There are also lap-based fundraisers called walkathons, in which donors pledge a certain amount per lap completed.

Mountain Climbing

At a mountain climbing fundraiser, participants climb mountains to raise money for a specific organization. To enter, they are typically required to set a fundraising goal, which can be paid out of pocket or by collecting donations.


If you are an avid boater, a sailing event may be right for you. Sailing fundraisers are usually in the form of competitive races and you are responsible for collecting donations to meet your entry fee and fundraising goals.

Charity Swim

These events are comprised of either a relay or distance swim on an extended course. Swimmers can participate by paying a flat fee or setting a fundraising goal.


A trekathon operates like a marathon, but the course consists of walking and sometimes hiking to complete the 26-mile journey. The bonus is that most courses are infused with a dose of beautiful scenery.


Volleyball tournaments raise funds in two ways. First, teams generally have to pay an entrance fee, a portion of which goes directly to the charitable organization. Secondly, an organization may use the tournament to raise funds by selling merchandise and concessions. The tournament is typically competitive with a trophy or prize for the winning team.

Selecting a Sports Event

Once you have narrowed down your options, carefully consider the logistics of the event along with the intended location and any budgetary constraints you encounter. While a big sporting event may be fun, it is not a great option if your charity won't make money hosting it.

Begin making arrangements as soon as possible to ensure the event is properly organized and the participants have the time of their lives.

Types of Charity Sporting Events