How To Organise A Santa Run

Santa Runs are an incredibly niche, but remarkably fun, way to raise money for the charity of your choice at the most wonderful time of year.

With our helpful tips and advice, you can organise a Santa Run that will be great fun for everyone involved and raise money for good causes through sponsorships and selling Christmas themed gifts on the day!

Raising money with a Santa Run

A Santa run is supposed to be fun, so there’s really any number of ways to get involved or start organising. We’ve covered the basics here, but you can let your imagination run wild with ideas. 

Commercial sponsorships

You can ask local businesses to contribute towards or even ‘host’ your Santa Run to help increase your profits and visibility. 

If it’s a big company such as Tesco, they may be able to sponsor the entire event which would cover any overhead charges such as hiring a location, refreshments for participants and medals for the winners.

Alternatively, you could ask multiple businesses to sponsor the Santa Run in return for the name of their business printed on t-shirts that participants wear on the day of the run.

Individual sponsorships

A great way to raise money for charity with a Santa Run is to ask runners to raise money themselves for the charity.

This can incentivise people to raise a lot of money, especially if they’re running in a friendship group; it may add a bit of healthy competition to raise the most money!

In order to raise money this way, you will have to provide participants with sponsorship forms prior to the event (at least one month before so they have enough time to collect sponsorship money).

Sell Christmas gifts

Have a table of donated Christmas gifts that people can purchase. You could even host a Christmas fair alongside the Santa Run where people can donate gifts to be purchased by attendees of the run.

Sell refreshments

Make your Santa run more fun and accessible by selling Christmas themed food and drink such as mince pies, hot chocolates and mulled wine. 

A Santa Run is likely to gain a lot of attention from competitors and supporters, as well as the general public so you can raise even more money and keep people happy by selling refreshments during the run.

You will need to ask volunteers to run the food and drink stalls and you will either need to buy food and drink or ask volunteers to help you make mince pies and mulled wine ahead of time.

What will you need?

Organising a Santa Run is quite different from other charity events as there’s not a set venue that you can host it in. Here are some top tips to bear in mind when organising a charity Santa Run.

The course

The first thing you need to do when organising a Santa Run is set up the course that participants will run.

You’ll need a good place to set up start and finish lines and you need to ensure that the course isn’t too long so that it supports runners of all fitness levels and abilities (5km should be the maximum length).

You may also need to seek permission from your local council if you plan to host the Santa Run in your local park as it may private land and you may need to be granted permission to host an event and sell food and drink there.

You should consider that people may want to cheer on their friends or loved ones, why not set up a barrier so people can support the runners without interfering with the run?

If you have crowds stretched across the whole 5km course you could consider having multiple food and drink stalls to raise more money and keep people warm and happy.

Sign up forms

You will also need to get people to register to take part in the Santa Run. The easiest way to do this is to create a form online and put the link on all your publicity. However, some may prefer a more old fashioned approach and want to print out sign-up forms.

By placing sign-up forms in shop windows, you will also be raising awareness for everyone so even if people don’t want to run in the race, they can still attend. Place a flyer alongside the forms advertising the event and include details such as the length, place and time of the run as well as explaining that there will be Christmas themed food and drink, prizes and gifts at the Santa Run.

You can set up a sign-up form on a website like SurveyMonkey and send it out to everyone you know who may be interested, or post it on Facebook. Ask the local schools to send out a sign-up form email to students and teachers too!

Sponsorship forms

Those who sign up to take part in the Santa run should be sent sponsorship forms or instructed to set up a JustGiving page to collect donations from their friends and family.

Using a site like JustGiving makes the whole process very easy and eliminates the need to chase down donations after the event has happened!

Collecting sponsorships

Set a clear date for when you need the sponsorship money returned so that you can send it to charity. 

This could be on the day of the Santa Run or a week after which will allow a few more people to sponsor runners even after they’ve completed the race.

Again, this step can be skipped by just setting up a JustGiving page or asking your Santas to set their own ones up.

Santa outfits 

As it’s a charity Santa Run, you need to determine whether you want people to find their own Santa/Father Christmas costumes or whether you will provide every participant with a Santa hat so that everyone is dressed up in some way.

Asking people to find their own costumes will save you money as you won’t have to invest in Santa hats for everyone.

Publicity for the Santa Run

The easiest way to get people involved, donating and supporting your Santa run is to set up an event on Facebook, share it on local pages and ask others to share it with their friends and family too.

A great way to ensure you raise even more money for charity is to ask a local celebrity or the local mayor to start the Santa run. This is a great way to get more people to attend and watch the Santa Run as they’ll be excited to see a famous person attending. 

It’s also a great way to get your charity event into the local press, which will raise even more awareness for the charity of your choice.

Further reading

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