Repurpose Running Shoes (and Raise Money!): The How-To Guide

Learn how your organization can raise money and help others at the same time by repurposing donated running shoes.Looking for a fundraiser that’s sure to encourage participation and raise money for your group, organization, or a favorite charitable cause? One creative and effective option is a fundraiser that repurposes running shoes.

Here’s how it works: your group gathers gently worn, used and new athletic shoes and, with the help of a facilitating organization, ships them off to be repurposed. In return for the running shoes and sneakers, your group receives a check!

Today, we’ll show you how you can participate in a running shoe drive fundraiser. We’ll also take a look at some of the reasons it’s great not only for your group but for other people and the environment as well. Let’s answer some of the initial questions you may have about repurposing running shoes, including:

There are plenty of reasons to take place in a running shoe drive fundraiser. Let’s start by showing you how your organization can raise money by repurposing running shoes.

You can raise money for your organization by holding a running shoe drive fundraiser and repurposing running shoes.

1. How can I raise money for my cause by repurposing running shoes?

If you’re part of a group that regularly uses running shoes, repurposing running shoes is a great fundraiser because it connects to your group’s identity, benefits others, and helps you raise money!

Best of all, this fundraiser is easy to set up. You’ll partner with a facilitator and receive the materials you need to collect and ship the donated running shoes. To get started, follow these easy steps:

Step 1: Encourage your supporters to collect gently worn, used and new athletic shoes to contribute to your fundraiser.

Lots of people have an extra pair or two lying around, perhaps even some that they have not worn or wore only infrequently. Set up a few convenient collection locations, and don’t forget to remind supporters how long they have to donate their running shoes to your group’s cause!

Looking for more supporters? Remind the other members of your group to spread the word about your running shoe drive fundraiser among their networks of friends, family members, and other acquaintances. They can do this in person and on social media. Members of your group can also take the lead by being first to contribute running shoes to the fundraiser themselves.

Step 2: Fill the pre-paid shipping bags that you receive from your facilitator.

To carry out your running shoe drive fundraiser, you’ll partner with a facilitator like Sneakers4Funds. They’ll send you pre-paid shipping bags that hold 10-15 pairs of athletic shoes each. Your organization fills the bags to send to your facilitator.

Step 3: Take the filled bags to UPS, where they’ll be shipped to your facilitator’s warehouse.

The running shoes are on their way to be repurposed. Shortly, your group will receive a check in exchange for the number of trainers you were able to collect.

Step 4: Your organization receives a check based on the number of pairs of sneakers your organization sends in!

The amount of money your group receives depends on the number of athletic shoes you collect, so make sure you spread the word about your running shoe drive fundraiser and choose a collection site that’s easy for your supporters to notice and access.

After you ship the running shoes you collect and your facilitator receives them, you’ll receive a check within days.

Thinking that this fundraiser may be the right choice for your group? There are even more benefits to hosting a running shoe drive fundraiser than you may initially realize!

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When you repurpose running shoes collected in a running shoe drive fundraiser, you benefit your organization, other people, and the environment.

2. What are some of the benefits of repurposing running shoes?

A running shoe drive fundraiser is a great way to raise money to cover future costs that your group may be facing or contribute to a favorite charity. However, this type of fundraiser helps in more ways than one!

Below, you’ll find a list of some of the ways that repurposing gently worn, used and new sneakers and running shoes can benefit individuals, communities, and the environment. Whatever your reasons for getting involved in a running shoe drive fundraiser, the benefits are sure to reach more people than you expect.

Hold a running shoe drive fundraiser to raise money for your organization or a charitable cause.Raise Money for Your Organization

Benefits:

A running shoe drive fundraiser is the perfect choice for all types of athletic organizations. It’s likely that your members will have pairs of running shoes to contribute, as will their networks of friends and family members.

Ensure that everyone in your group understands the benefits of repurposing gently worn, used and new athletic shoes so that they can spread the word about the fundraiser and encourage the people they know to contribute. Your organization’s members can share information such as the types of shoes accepted and the collection location in person and online.

Planning and carrying out a running shoe drive fundraiser is a great way to keep the focus of your fundraising on athletics and make a positive impact on the world at the same time! Plus, your members will enjoy and learn from the teamwork necessary to plan and carry out the fundraiser.


A running shoe drive is a fundraiser that can bring your community together for a good cause.Bring Community Together

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A lot of charitable giving takes place using direct mail or an online form, often far away from the community or organization hosting the fundraiser. While this type of fundraising is often highly effective, there is something special about an in-person activity like a running shoe drive fundraiser that brings a community together.

Setting up a running shoe drive fundraiser, spreading the word about it, and participating in it are all in-person, physical activities that make everyone involved feel good about their participation in a good cause.

Members of the organization hosting the running shoe drive fundraiser and participants in the fundraiser are likely to meet each other. When members of your organization meet participants in your running shoe drive fundraiser, don’t forget to tell them what your organization is raising money for and why you chose this type of fundraiser.

When they’re included in the conversation, participants will feel more connected to your fundraiser and your organization when you reach out personally to them.


Your running shoe drive fundraiser can connect to your organization’s activity or purpose.]Connect to Your Organization’s Purpose

Benefits:

When you choose a unique fundraiser that connects to your organization’s goals and purpose, your members will be more excited about planning it and participants will feel encouraged to give. That’s why a running shoe drive fundraiser is an excellent choice for athletic organizations of any type!

Kids’ sports leagues, school and college athletic programs, and community leagues can all benefit from a running shoe drive fundraiser. Athletic facilities make the perfect collection location for gently worn, used and new sneakers and running shoes, as participants are more likely to remember the trainers when athletic equipment is already on their mind. They may even find an extra pair to donate in their gym locker already!

Running shoe drive fundraisers are great when it comes time to raise money for travel, new gear, or other sports-related expenses, as these fundraisers keep everyone’s focus on athletics. Not only are they memorable, but they also build team spirit among your members and your supporters.


Supporters in a running shoe drive fundraiser can contribute without having to donate money.Donate Without Giving Money

Benefits:

When most people think of giving to charitable causes, money is the first—and often only—form of contribution that comes to mind. However, not everyone can provide money to the causes they would like to support, and others are not always comfortable doing so.

A running shoe drive fundraiser gives participants the opportunity to support your organization and help you reach your goals without spending money. All they need to give to participate is an item they already have—a pair of gently worn, used, or new running shoes.

Because running shoe drive fundraisers don’t require participants to open their wallets, they can help your organization widen your network of potential contributors. As you reach out and spread the word about your running shoe drive fundraiser, don’t forget to share information on your organization and how repurposing running shoes benefits others and the environment.


A running shoe drive fundraiser helps the environment by repurposing donated running shoes.Help the Environment

Benefits:

Your running shoe drive fundraiser is more than just a way to raise money for your team or organization—it’s a great way to be green! This style of fundraiser prevents usable shoes from being thrown away just because their original owners no longer want them.

When participants in your running shoe drive fundraiser contribute their gently worn, used and new athletic shoes, they know that their shoes won’t be thrown out and that they’re supporting a good cause in more ways than one. Participants are helping your organization reach your goals and keeping perfectly good items out of growing landfills.

Ensure that you thank your participants for the earth-friendly decision they’re making each time they contribute a pair of running shoes to your fundraiser! You can also share information on how the sneakers will be repurposed, so your supporters know where their athletic shoes are headed.


The shoes donated in a running shoe drive fundraiser create work opportunities in developing nations through micro-enterprise.Create Work Opportunities

Benefits:

When your organization finishes collecting the running shoes from your supporters and sends them off, your facilitator’s warehouse isn’t their final destination! The gently worn, used and new sneakers and running shoes you collect create work opportunities for people in developing nations, who sell them.

Your running shoe drive fundraiser doesn’t just raise money for your organization and help the environment—it also helps these small business owners earn money. You may ask yourself, why athletic shoes? They’re a useful and valuable product that these micro-entrepreneurs have success selling.

This style of fundraising is unique in its ability to support your organization, small business owners in developing nations, and their communities at once. Your supporters will know that when they donate their running shoes, they’re making a difference in more ways than one!


Your running shoe drive fundraiser supports communities through micro-enterprise.Support Communities

Benefits:

The benefits of your running shoe drive fundraiser extend beyond the small business owners who sell the shoes to reach their communities. Running shoes are practical items that members of their communities can wear and make good use of in their daily lives.

There are plenty of reasons to host and participate in a running shoe drive fundraiser, all of which work together to support good causes and improve communities around the world. When you share this information with your participants, they’ll be excited to contribute their gently worn, used and new athletic shoes!

Now that you know some of the ways how repurposing running shoes can help your group, other communities, and the earth, you may want to know how your group can get started with a running shoe drive fundraiser! The good news is that this style of fundraising is perfect for all types of athletic organizations. It’s easy to customize to suit your group’s focus and specific needs.


Getting started with a running shoe drive fundraiser is an easy process that will have your organization raising money quickly.

3. How can I get started with a running shoe drive fundraiser?

Ready to get started with a running shoe drive fundraiser for your organization? It’s quick to set up and an excellent choice for any organization, especially teams and other athletic groups. It’s also easy to tailor your running shoe drive fundraiser to suit your group’s focus and needs.

Below, you’ll find several types of groups and organizations that this style of fundraiser fits perfectly! If you think that a running shoe drive fundraiser is right for your group, you can get started by contacting a facilitator like Sneakers4Funds and preparing to collect gently worn, used, and new sneakers and running shoes and raise money for a great cause.

School teams and athletic departments can raise money by hosting a running shoe drive fundraiser.Schools

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Cross-country or track teams, school athletic departments, or even entire middle and high schools can raise money for their programs and favorite causes with a running shoe drive fundraiser. It’s a great fundraiser for kids because plenty of students have extra gently worn, used and new athletic shoes they’d be happy to donate. The fundraiser also provides plenty of opportunities to show team and school spirit.

A location near your school’s gym is a good location for a collection site, as are classrooms or homerooms if you’re getting the whole school involved. Want to encourage participation? Make the fundraiser a competition, offering a prize to the class or homeroom that collects the most shoes.

A running shoe drive fundraiser is perfect for funding the costs of team travel or new gym equipment, but your school can also use the fundraiser to raise money for a local charitable organization.


College athletic departments can use a running shoe drive fundraiser to cover travel expenses and other costs.College Campuses

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A running shoe drive fundraiser is great for college teams that may need to cover travel expenses. Your team can also partner with other student organizations to use the fundraiser to raise money for charity.

Make your on-campus collection sites easy to access, near locations such as the gym and the residence halls. Lots of students will have athletic shoes they can donate. Encourage members of participating organizations as well as supporters of your fundraiser to spread the word in person and on social media!

In addition to raising money for your team, student organization, or favorite charitable cause, this fundraiser works well as a way to draw attention to environmental concerns. Repurposing the shoes gives them a second life and keeps them from being thrown away when students no longer want them.


A running shoe drive fundraiser is a great project for your running club that can raise money for a good cause.Running Clubs

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Do you meet with friends in your community to go on morning or evening runs, train for races, and motivate each other? Apply that camaraderie to planning and hosting a running shoe drive fundraiser to benefit your group’s favorite cause.

Serious runners are advised to change their shoes for every 300-500 miles they run. It means that if your club’s members run regularly, it’s likely that they have plenty of pairs of gently worn, used and new athletic shoes to donate!

Your group’s regular meeting place is an excellent collection location if it’s indoors. Otherwise, one of your members can be responsible for collecting the shoes at their house or another location. Don’t forget to encourage other friends to participate in your running shoe drive fundraiser!

A running shoe drive fundraiser is a great choice for your group because it’s easy to set up and connects to the activity that you share regularly. You’ll enjoy working together to collect the shoes for a good cause.


Your gym is a great place to get members involved in a running shoe drive fundraiser.Gyms

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If you’re a member of a gym, this can be a great location for a running shoe drive fundraiser, especially if you know several of the other members. Work together with them to choose a good cause to support and set up the fundraiser.

The gym is an excellent location to collect athletic shoes. Members are already thinking about athletic wear when they’re preparing to go to the gym, so it’s easy for them to remember to bring an extra pair of shoes to donate. Some of them may even have a pair they don’t wear often hiding in their gym bag or locker!

Make sure that the other members of your gym are aware of your running shoe drive fundraiser. It’s likely that they have friends who may be interested in contributing a pair of shoes, so encourage them to spread the word about your fundraiser.


When the members of your community athletic league teams participate in a running shoe drive fundraiser, you can raise a lot of money for your league!Community Athletic Leagues

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If you participate in a community athletic league with several teams, you’re connected to a lot of people who likely have extra gently worn, used and new athletic shoes they’d be happy to donate. Set up a collection location at your community or recreation center and spread the word!

Want to encourage a little friendly competition? Offer a prize to the team who contributes the most shoes to the fundraiser. You can give each one a collection station in your community center, showcasing their team colors, to motivate donations and keep track of which team is in the lead.

Contributors don’t have to be limited to your league’s team members—be sure to spread the word at your community center and on social media, encouraging even more people to participate in this fundraiser for your league or a good cause of your choice.


A running shoe drive fundraiser makes a great kick-off to a 5k, 10k, or other race!5K/10K Runs

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Because many 5K, 10K, and other road races support charitable causes, many registrants expect to donate when they choose to enter the competition. For a unique variant on this formula, organizers of these races can ask participants to bring an extra pair of running shoes with them to donate.

Road races are a great opportunity for a running shoe drive fundraiser because they attract the perfect participants! Runners are highly likely to have a pair of shoes they’d be happy to give. They get to clear out their closets and then have fun competing in the race!

Collect the trainers from participants, as well as the friends, family members, and supporters cheering them on, before the race as a registration donation. Volunteers can collect the sneakers and provide information on the good cause your running shoe drive fundraiser is supporting.


Incorporate a running shoe drive into your mud run to have fun and raise money for a good cause at the same time!Mud Runs

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Whether or not you’re planning to include some obstacles as well, mud runs are a great way to challenge yourself and have fun. Participants can also contribute their extra running shoes to a good cause when you combine your next mud run with a running shoe drive fundraiser.

Runners in mud runs are likely looking to get rid of their shoes after the race because they’ll get pretty dirty. However, once the athletic shoes are washed, they’re perfectly ready for repurposing.

Organizers of the mud run should include information on the running shoe drive fundraiser wherever they advertise the run or open registration for it. Be sure to include the name of the charitable organization or cause that the fundraiser is supporting to encourage runners to participate!

On the day of the run, volunteers can collect participants’ trainers and provide more information on the cause the fundraiser is supporting as well as where the athletic shoes are headed. Participants can enjoy the run and feel good about where their extra sneakers are going.


Your group can partner with a running or athletic supply store to host your running shoe drive fundraiser.Running and Sports Stores

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Running and sports stores can benefit from a running shoe drive fundraiser just as individuals can! If your store has running or other athletic shoes that you cannot or have not sold, partner with a facilitator to participate in a running shoe drive fundraiser.

Your facilitator will provide you with the materials you need to ship the unsold merchandise to their warehouse. In return, you’ll receive a check for the athletic shoes you donate within just a few days.

Using your unsold merchandise to participate in a running shoe drive fundraiser is environmentally friendly and helps small business owners in developing nations. It’s a great solution to the problem of extra running shoes that you have difficulty selling.

For students, athletes, business owners, and many other individuals, a running shoe drive fundraiser is an excellent way to connect your interests to a good cause that can help several communities. Easy to start and carry out, running shoe drive fundraisers are also a great way to build community and team spirit!


A walk-a-thon is a great way to bring your community together and gather running shoes for repurposing.Walkathons

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Does your group want to raise money and awareness for your favorite charitable cause or organization? A walkathon is an excellent way to have fun, get active, and spread the word about organizations that are doing great work in your community and beyond.

Typically, walkathon participants collect pledges from supporters before the event. These supporters agree to contribute a defined amount for every mile (or other units of distance) the participants walk. While you can use this model to set up your walkathon, you can also ask for a different kind of donation: your participants’ gently worn, used and new athletic shoes!

Have volunteers collect your participants’ athletic shoes after they complete the walkathon. You can also encourage participants to bring extra pairs to donate, making your walkathon running shoe drive even more successful. Once the sneakers are cleaned, they’ll be ready for repurposing.


Get more great fundraising ideas for athletic organizations and other groups using our list of free additional resources.

Interested in learning more about running shoe drive fundraisers and other unique fundraising ideas for your group, organization, or team? The following free additional resources offer ideas and tips that will make your next fundraising effort a success.


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