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Raising Funds, Awareness With Social Media

This post is part the Lightspan Digital #MarketingHop on social sports, in which bloggers were asked to share their story about how social media is connecting people in the silent sports community.


When I was asked to provide a perspective on how non-profit fundraising is affected by social media, it was nauseating to think about where MS Run the US, Inc. would be without our social media network.

This charity is the definition of a “grass-roots” effort.  With no funding to start, and little funding to continue, our growth is almost solely based on our ability to promote our mission through the free social media outlets available to us.

In these start-up years of the non-profit I am well aware that much of our social media growth and interaction has been based on who I am as the Founder.  At this time it’s difficult to distinguish if people follow the non-profit or if they follow me.  As I work to formulate the events for MS Run the US, Inc. in the upcoming years I am excited to see how this will change.  Either the non-profit or myself have been able to attract some pretty cool runners that want to do amazing things for the cause.  These people are positive, smart, and determined.  These people are worth following, and soon they will become the non-profit.

As MS Run the US, Inc. grows, its online reach will exceed far beyond what just one individual can do.  With the help of social media, all MS Run the US, Inc. runners will have access to a wide and deep pool of fundraising and MS awareness options at no cost.  As an individual who has been able to build a mission fueled by a rapidly growing following, I understand more than anyone the weight of the “at no cost” concept.  For MS Run the US, Inc., social media has been the stage in which we have been able to most visibly display our goals, growth, and future aspirations, and I believe it is this stage that will also excite and fuel the fundraising of our runners now and to come.

To put the impact of digital and social media in perspective, consider these statistics:

  • When I ran across America for MS Run the US, Inc. in 2010 to raise money for multiple sclerosis, 75% of our fundraising dollars that year came from online donations.
  • In 2010 our Twitter following increased 1,500% and our Facebook Fan page increased 4,000%.
  • In November of 2010, MS Run the US, Inc. won $10,000 from U.S. Bank in an online voting contest, which we promoted through our social media networks.
  • During the run we used Facebook as our platform to upload pictures, videos, blog posts, and any important updates.  Since I completed my run in September of 2010 we have used Facebook and Twitter to promote our follow-up event, the MS Run the US – 2013 Relay to runners, donors, and sponsors alike.
  • During the 2012 year MS Run the US, Inc. acquired 20 runners to participate in one of two running-fundraising programs available through the non-profit.  Of these runners, 40% of them discovered our programs through social media.  In the introduction of these runners to our efforts, use of the MS Run the US Facebook fan page tagging and Twitter hashtags #msruntheus #msrunRelay #msrunAthletes are strongly encouraged.
  • Until October of 2012, MS Run the US, Inc. spent zero dollars on marketing.


You can follow me, Ashley, @msruntheus.  Check out other views from runners, retailers, coaches, and race organizers about how social media is connecting the silent sports community. To continue the conversation join us in a Twitter Chat with the hashtag #marketinghop on Jan. 8 at 1pm.

Tim Cigelske, The Beer Runner, @thebeerrunner : A Not So Silent Sport

Myles Dannhausen, Door County Half Marathon, @mylespulse : How Social Media Helps Us Improve The Door County Half Marathon

Tom Held, The Active Pursuit, @tomheld : An Antenna, Not A Mic: Reporting With Social Media

Maggie Wolf, @not_maragret : How Social Media Changed My Running

Ashley Kumlien, MS Run the US, @msruntheus : Raising Funds, Awareness With Social Media

Lauren Matricardi, Fleet Feet Sports, @fleetfeetchgo : The Conversation: Our Social Media Strategy

Bob Richards, Chicago Run Times: Social Media And The Silent Sports

Lightspan Digital: How Social Media Changed Running



  • by ashleyk
  • posted at 8:00 AM
  • January 8, 2013