Donate Running Shoes: The Step-by-Step Fundraising Guide

Learn why you should encourage your community to donate running shoes and how your organization can facilitate a running shoe drive fundraiser.

As a nonprofit fundraising officer, you spend a lot of your time searching for cost-effective fundraising ideas. You may even be stuck in a bit of a rut looking for a unique idea to jumpstart your fundraising campaign, but we have your solution: host a running shoe drive fundraiser.

In a nutshell, here’s how it works: Your organization collects gently worn, used, and new running shoes and sends them to Sneakers4Funds. We then ship the athletic shoes off to be repurposed, and you receive your check!

It really is that simple. This page will walk you through the details of the donation process and show you how to get started. You will learn fundraising ideas that complement hosting a running shoe drive fundraiser as well as the many benefits of encouraging your community to donate running shoes.

You may shy away from trying a new, unfamiliar fundraising idea, but there is no need to feel that way. Just ask yourself these three questions, and you will have all the answers you’ll need:

  1. How can I raise money for my cause by having people donate running shoes?
  2. How can I collect running shoes to donate?
  3. Why should I donate running shoes to support my cause?

When you finish reading this page, you will be more than ready to get started. So let’s dive in and equip you with the information you need to feel confident in hosting your athletic shoe drive fundraiser with Sneakers4Funds.

The process behind hosting a running shoe drive fundraiser is simple and cost-efficient for your organization.

1. How can I raise money for my cause by having people donate running shoes?

A running shoe drive fundraiser is effective and beneficial for any type of organization. You can effectively raise money for your organization, and the best part is: you won’t be charged any out-of-pocket fees just to get started.

Getting started is incredibly easy for any organization—you don’t have to be a sports-related organization to take advantage of this fundraising idea. The process is simple:

Step 1: Collect gently worn, used, and new running shoes.

Most people have garages and closet floors that are littered with their previous running shoes. Whether they grew out of the last pair or wanted to upgrade to the newest model, the sneakers are no longer valuable to them. But it can be useful to you.

Encourage your community to turn over their unused sneakers to you during your running shoe drive fundraiser. They will like to clear up space in their home and help a good cause.

Step 2: Fill a pre-paid shipping bag provided by your fundraising coordinator.

Sneakers4Funds will provide a pre-paid shipping bag for you to fill with your collected sneakers. Roughly 10-15 sneakers will fit in each bag, but make sure the sneakers have their laces tied together or are rubber-banded together before going into the bag. It will ensure that pairs of athletic shoes stay together.

Remember, there is absolutely no charge to you when you receive this bag or when you ship it after you fill it up.

Step 3: Take the bag to your nearest UPS store for shipping to the Sneakers4Funds warehouse.

Once you have collected the donated running shoes from your community, all you have to do is take your bag to the nearest UPS store. You can easily ship the bag, free of charge, and the sneakers will go to the Sneakers4Funds warehouse to be repurposed.

Step 4: Enjoy your check!

Once you ship out your collected sneakers, you will receive a check from Sneakers4Funds. Remember, the amount of money you earn is dependent on how many athletic shoes you collect—the more sneakers you collect, the more money you receive!

Hosting a running shoe drive fundraiser is an easy and effective way to raise money. In just 4 steps, you can do good for others while also benefiting your organization.

You’ve probably realized that this is a fantastic opportunity to increase revenue for your organization. If you want tips for how to integrate a running shoe drive fundraiser into your strategy, keep reading!

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Learn how you can incorporate running shoe drive fundraisers into your organization’s fundraising strategy.

2. How can I collect running shoes to donate?

Plenty of fundraising events can easily be enhanced by the addition of a running shoe collection. You will already be planning and executing fundraisers, so why not maximize the benefits for your organization?

When you are thinking about what kind of event to organize, consider events with an underlying theme of physical activity or exercise. These events are likely to bring in members of your community who appreciate the value of a good running shoe.

Consider events such as:

Participants and spectators in a walkathon can donate running shoes to support your cause.Walkathon


Walkathons are the perfect community event to bring people together for a sports activity. Since it does not require a lot of technical or athletic skills, it will bring out a wide range of community members with all levels of activity.

Having more people come to your event from a wide range of backgrounds is the best way to ensure you gain awareness—and funds—for your organization. Make sure you plan your event for a mild, temperate season so that more people will feel inclined to join you. It doesn’t hurt to have an indoor location on standby if you need to escape the rain. No matter what happens, you want to encourage people to stay at your event and enjoy themselves.

When you send out your invitations and promote your event, you can encourage people to donate running shoes or even the athletic shoes they walked in that day!

You can count on active runners to have an extra pair of running shoes to donate to your running shoe drive fundraising event.5K or 10K run


Many 5K or 10K charity runs provide the opportunity for participants to donate when they register for the event. Do something to set yourself apart and choose a more unique way of soliciting donations by requesting that participants give an extra pair of running shoes to help your organization.

Luckily, many people come to 5K or 10K runs simply to spectate or cheer on their friends and loved ones. That opens up another group of people who you can encourage to donate their athletic shoes.

With these events, you can appeal to friends, family, and spectators, as well as the runners themselves—after all, why limit yourself or your fundraising campaign?

Encourage community members to challenge themselves physically and have fun doing it at your running shoe drive fundraiser.Obstacle course event


For some people, the idea of running a race is their nightmare, but introduce the concept of an obstacle course, and they are sold. This idea incorporates an element of fun and excitement that draws in more of a crowd.

People of all ages are interested in the challenges offered by an obstacle course. You can set up activities, such as:

  • Barbed wire low crawl
  • Rope climb
  • Sandbag carries
  • Cargo net climb
  • Ice water swim
  • Monkey bars

Your community will love the challenge of running an obstacle course, which will bring out an enthusiastic and eager audience. Capitalize on their enthusiasm and encourage them to donate their gently worn, used, and new sneakers at your event.

Schools are an excellent resource for organizations to implement fundraising ideas, like a running shoe drive fundraiser, easily.K-12 schools


Partner with a local school in your community and collect athletic shoes from students and faculty. Any parent can attest to the fact that their children grow out of their sneakers at a seemingly unbelievable rate.

So many schools have athletic programs that would be the perfect opportunity to collect sneakers. You can set up a collection booth outside the school gym and collect gently worn, used, and new running shoes that they would be more than happy to donate for a good cause.

You can also coordinate with the school to set up collections in students’ homerooms or the administrative office so that you can include the entire school. Students will be able to donate the athletic shoes they have out-grown or sneakers they no longer wear with ease.

Encourage your community to come to have fun in their dancing shoes and donate their running shoes for your organization.Dance marathon


Have you ever wanted to dance for 24 hours straight? Probably not, but some people find this event to be the perfect mix of entertaining and challenging.

You will need an indoor facility to accommodate the dancers, and a speaker system to rock the roof off of the building. You can also sell refreshments and charge a fee for song requests to boost your revenue.

Let people come out and show off their slick dance moves with their friends and encourage them to bring their gently worn, used, and new athletic shoes so that someone else can have some new sneakers to boogie in if they’d like.

Help your community come together to participate in a field day and bring along their extra running shoes to donateCommunity field day


Who remembers their elementary school field days as the best day of the year? It’s okay, you can admit it. So, why don’t we hold them anymore for older kids and adults?

You can fill this gap in your community and enable community members to be transported to the carefree days of their childhood by playing outdoor games with their friends.

Games you can play include:

  • Water balloon toss
  • Egg race
  • Three-legged race
  • Tug o’ war
  • Family relay race
  • Hula hoop marathon

These games will get community members to actively participate in community events with a smile on their faces. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to reach such a wide range of ages—and shoe sizes— with a community field day as entire families come out to participate. Of course, you can also sell concessions, branded merchandise, and tickets for games to maximize your revenue.

Help your community come together to participate in a field day and bring along their extra running shoes to donateCommunity March Madness


March Madness isn’t just for professional basketball players now. Host a weekend-long competition in the style of March madness to encourage community members to participate.

Instruct interested community members to form teams of two, three, or five. Then, you can hold tournament-style games all day or weekend to hurry the elimination process. Make sure you sell tickets for each game, concessions, and merchandise to raise money.

Events such as this bring to the forefront the sporty individuals in your community. The team members are likely avid sports fans and recreational athletes who would have gently worn, used, and new sneakers at the ready for donation.

Remind people that a little mud can be great fun, and encourage them to donate their shoes to your running shoe drive fundraiser after the event.Mud run


If you have ever slogged through the mud in your running shoes, you may know the dread you feel at the prospect of washing all the dirt off your sneakers. When you hold a mud run fundraiser for your community, you can benefit from the runners’ intense desire to get rid of their dirty athletic shoes.

However, with a little care, donated running shoes will be ready to be repurposed.

Note that when you are hosting a mud run event, Sneakers4Funds will provide a green mesh bag for your collection. It will help bypass the dreaded feeling of reaching into a mud-soaked bag and give the running shoes a little room to breathe.

Your organization can host a fun, unique event and easily encourage individuals to donate athletic shoes to your running shoe drive fundraiser.

Donating gently worn, used, and new running shoes to be repurposed will benefit your organization, its community, and the world.

3. Why should I donate running shoes to support my cause?

Running a nonprofit is often challenging, but can be so rewarding. A running shoe drive fundraiser has the potential to be beneficial to your organization in more ways than one.

In the following sections, you will find some of the ways that hosting a running shoe drive fundraiser will benefit your organization, your community, and the world.

Help your organization boost its fundraising by hosting a running shoe drive fundraiser.Raise money for your organization.


Fundraising for a nonprofit organization is no easy feat. By hosting a running shoe drive fundraiser, you will easily be able to boost your fundraising capacity without spending anything out-of-pocket.

You will be able to complement almost any type of fundraising event with the addition of a running shoe drive fundraiser. However, when you are organizing your activities, make sure that your community understands the benefits of repurposing running shoes.

Some people in your donor and prospective donor network may be unaware that so many people are in need of good athletic shoes. Once they realize this, you will be able to see the donated running shoes come flooding into your group. Helping people understand where the athletic shoes go is essential because the more sneakers that are given, the more money your organization will receive!

Invite donors who were previously unable to support your organization financially to donate running shoes.Appeal to a new type of donor.


Not everyone with the affinity to give can do it. Some people can believe in your cause and want to support your organization, but just lack the funds to do so. By asking people to donate their extra running shoes, you will open up the doors for more people to do good without giving money.

Individuals in your community who were previously unable to support your organization financially may find it easier to part with their gently worn, used, and new running shoes.

People will be grateful for the opportunity to still support causes they are passionate about without suffering themselves. By hosting a running shoe drive fundraiser, you will be able to extend your reach to meet your prospective donors where they are and add an extra boost to your funds.

Take advantage of an environmentally friendly fundraising idea by hosting a running shoe drive fundraising event.Environmentally friendly.


Whether or not your organization explicitly focuses on an environmental cause, there are significant benefits to looking for environmentally friendly fundraising methods. Many prospective donors will think more highly of your organization if it demonstrates an environmentally conscious strategy.

A running shoe drive fundraiser prevents good sneakers from being thrown in the trash. Instead, the athletic shoes will be repurposed and given a new life with another owner. Make sure that your participants are aware of the benefits for the environment and thank them for their earth-friendly contribution to your fundraiser.

Create jobs and provide resources to small business owners in developing countries with your next running shoe drive fundraiser.Enable workforce expansion.


The great impact that your running shoe fundraiser has extends way beyond your immediate community with the help of the social enterprise, Sneakers4Funds. In many places around the world, there is a need to escape systematic poverty but very few ways to do so. People are trapped with no way to support their lives and their families.

The donated running shoes will be repurposed to enable small business owners in a developing nation to sell them for a profit. It allows them to have a more reliable way of supporting themselves that would otherwise not exist.

Your organization will not only be raising money for its cause, but it will be helping small business owners and their communities. So, you can tell your donors that with each pair of sneakers they donate, they are supporting more than one organization with vital resources.

Bring your community together and encourage community spirit by encouraging them to donate running shoes to a good cause.Encourage community spirit.


Fundraising events will bring the community together and encourage a sense of camaraderie that is amazing to behold. Email campaigns and digital marketing, while incredibly valuable to your organization, do not always have the same effect as an event that calls people together to benefit their community.

Some people are more willing to participate in a fundraising campaign if there is concrete and tangible action involved. They want to be able to go to an event, see their friends and family, and physically hand over their donation—in this case, their running shoes—while enjoying the day with their community.

Hosting a running shoe drive fundraiser allows people from your organization to mingle with the members of your community and raise awareness for your cause to a group of people already excited about doing good.

Creating a fundraising strategy sometimes requires breaking out new, unique ideas like a running shoe drive fundraiser to raise money effectively.Break out of a fundraising rut.


It can be incredibly frustrating to organize and execute a fundraising campaign and still not see your desired results. You may not know where to go from there or how to plan a new strategy that will reach more people.

In times like this, it becomes increasingly essential to experiment with unique fundraising ideas that have the potential to appeal to a wide range of community members. Your community will be excited by the out-of-the-box fundraising idea to donate running shoes. They will likely be more than eager to clear their shoe rack of athletic shoes they no longer wear.

Unique fundraising ideas are often necessary to revitalize your fundraising strategy and help gain traction again in your community. A running shoe drive fundraiser forges a relationship between you and your community and will likely encourage community members to seek other opportunities to be involved with your organization.

When you encourage individuals to donate running shoes, make sure they know that it benefits not only your organization but also supports other communities.Support other communities.


The running shoe drive fundraiser not only provides the resources to small business owners in impoverished nations, but it also has a significant effect on those who buy your community’s gently worn, used, and new running shoes.

You may be wondering, why donate athletic shoes? The answer is simple. So many people need good, reliable athletic shoes to wear while others no require their pair of sneakers. The solution is simple. By encouraging your community to donate running shoes, you are directly impacting someone’s quality of life in a developing country.

Your organization and its community will work together to benefit countries all around the world. Repurposing running shoes may seem like a small act of kindness, but sometimes that is all it takes to impact an individual’s life drastically.

Check out these great additional resources to consult while you plan your running shoe drive fundraiser.

Free Running Shoe Drive Fundraising Resources

This guide provides information on why it is essential to host running shoe drive fundraisers

Why Shoes? The Story of Micro-Enterprise. Check out what happens to your athletic shoes after they are donated. Read Sneakers4Funds’ story to get a better idea of why running shoes are so important.

Gather ideas on how to partner with schools for your running shoe drive with this post on PTA fundraising

Top 25 PTA Fundraising Ideas. When you want to work with schools, often the PTA is an excellent access point to making your ideas a reality. Check out more about PTA fundraising here.

Check out this guide to hosting a successful running shoe drive fundraiser.

Do’s and Don’ts of Creating a Quality Collection. Bypass any complications down the road and read this list by Sneakers4Funds that explains the do’s and don’ts of hosting a running shoe drive fundraiser.

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