Can You Get a Grant for Organizing a Race? 

In this article, we explore options for getting some funding for organizing an outdoor endurance race, whether it is a running race, marathon, 5K, cycling race, triathlon, swimming or OCR event. 

What all endurance races have in common, is that they promote physical activity in a community setting. These aspects of our events can make them interesting candidates for various grants that focus on building active communities, looking for health benefits in regions or want to promote physical activity in different ways. We give you a few tips on how you can get started if you want to organize a big event but cannot find the funds to do so. 

You can Always Start a Race Without Much Resources

Of course, organizing an event on a smaller scale is not going to put a dent in your wallet (plan and budget with this Race Cost Calculator). You get far with small means and a devotion of time to the project. But perhaps you would like to start a large project, a series of races or a global tour with the goal to help people be active – in this case, you could use some help on the way. 

Look for Public & Local Grants

Public grants, issued by your state or government may be available in some countries or communities. Check your city, commune, community and country assets for finding any public grants that entities of the government provide for organizing events that benefit the community. Since you can always claim that a race is beneficial for health due to doing exercise, you have a good argument for improving public health. Other benefits for the community include connections and networking that is a natural benefit when people do sports together. 

These grants can often be hard to find unfortunately. Search Google for grants in your city or town, and ask around for recommendations. 

Private Grants From Companies 

The other type of grant is private, e.g. coming from large companies that want to put some of their profits towards their community (and most likely also create social goodwill for their brand as part of their marketing strategy). One example is Nike and its Community Impact Fund both in Europe and the United States. Here is an example of a project run by Nike in Oregon, US, for example. 

Look around in your specific sports community for any grants or funding – sometimes, organizational bodies in different sports provide aid for organizing events, especially if it involves youth activities. 

If you are a female race director that is aiming to build a company for your event initiative, you can also check if any grants on IFW are fitting for your project. 

Find Funding for Events in the US

In the US, there are various sites available where you can search for relevant, mostly private, grants, such as FundnetServices for example. 

Another site (with some information but lacking a decent website design) is Grants for US, or more specifically for sports and recreation.

Find Funding for Events in Europe

The European Commission sometimes offers grants for organizing non-profit sports events. Also you can check for different funding projects in Europe:

There are projects and platforms in the making for connecting grant applicants with grant organizations, so keep an eye out for more sites popping up facilitating your search. One example is European Sports Connected. 

Find Your Own Partner Brand and Build a Race Project Together 

Another alternative that perhaps requires a little bit more effort from your side is to partner with a brand to organize a non-profit or for-profit event. You may partner to conduct the event and create goodwill for a charity brand by organizing a complete non-profit event. You may also make the race a business, a for-profit project for the brand and yourself where the sporting brand or the like gets the benefits of marketing their event to a relevant audience while you take care of the event logistics and format. Also consider getting a brand as the main sponsor. In this article you can learn more about how to get sponsors for your outdoor endurance race. 

Remember to plan in a few hours to prepare for any grant applications you plan to make. Most grants require you to submit a lengthy application that involves a description of your race project and a presentation. It can take some time to prepare initially, but if you prepare one presentation you can use it for many different applications. 

Do you have any more tips for getting grants or funding for a race? Let us know!