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As spring fast approaches, people from all walks of life are gearing up for more outdoor activities. This is also the time of the year when many nonprofits and charities promote their initiatives through a 5k walk or run. Intended as an easy entry point for both athletes and those unfamiliar with the charity, a 5k has proved an enduring staple in any nonprofit’s fundraising arsenal.


We at the Finker-Frenkel Family Foundation have been a part of a number of 5k runs on behalf of various organizations, such as Mt. Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Center. For us, 5k runs represent an intersection between awareness and fundraising, allowing communities to come together in support of a common cause and bring in others to join.


And now, Make-A-Wish Southern Florida is sponsoring a series of 5k runs and walks in the area—with Miami-Dade fast approaching on April 6. Other events will take place in Tampa Bay and Fort Myers, with this year’s Broward event having already occurred back in February. Walk For Wishes is a time-honored tradition that goes beyond the run itself, encouraging community members to participate in other ways.


For instance, last year’s Miami-Dade run took place at Zoo Miami, including complimentary admission to any attendees, breakfast, and activities throughout the day for the whole family. Of course, the focus is on the kids—they’re front and center, talking with guests about their wishes. Attendees get to then celebrate all of the wishes they helped grant with their fundraising throughout the day!


While it may seem obvious for 5ks to generate much of their revenue off of signups for the race, there’s a lot that goes into it beyond that. A team of sponsors from the community and beyond help offset the costs of planning such a large event. A lot of funding comes the day of the event, as teams of participants contribute and encourage others to do the same! In the case of some races, charities set a fundraising rate for teams, involving them in the process and spreading the effort to participants as well as the nonprofits themselves.


The ways 5ks can approach fundraising are as diverse as the organizations that sponsor them. For instance, a run could take inspiration from recent trends of Kickstarter campaigns and provide incentives for donating certain amounts upon sign-up. Things like commemorative gear, chances to win door prizes, and even priority parking can all help spur potential donors to action before a race even starts.


But for Make-A-Wish, their 5ks are a winning formula. With thousands attending events in Southern Florida alone, it’s clear that, like Make-A-Wish itself, the benefit lies in bringing together a large group of disparate individuals for a common cause.