The Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run is a 26-year tradition that is designed to capitalize on the joy and enthusiasm of the holiday season to raise over $5 million annually for arthritis research and treatment. This event is a good example of using seasonal timing to maximize fundraising effectiveness. The holidays are a time of joy, love and an increased awareness of the struggles others face, making it an opportune time to connect with people around important causes in a fun and festive way. The Jingle Bell Run is held all across the country during late November and early December, and is met with eager crowds and exciting success.
The format of the Jingle Bell Run is not unique, but its timing is unconventional. The Arthritis Foundation has found a key niche in the marketplace that takes a fairly common event model and turns it into something completely fresh. Traditional fundraiser walks or runs are held during the spring, summer or early fall months when the weather is more predictable.
By targeting this specific season and tying the event to the holiday spirit that runs deep in much of the population, the Jingle Bell Run continues to be very successful year-after-year. The Arthritis Foundation has shown thought leadership by having the initiative to take a proven event formula and present it to the public in a completely new way. Under this model they do not have to compete with other outdoor events for time or participants and they are able to stand out from other events generally held during this timeframe.
This year they have also incorporated a photo contest - “Be There With Bells On” – as a part of the event. By incorporating an interactive online component, they share their run/walk event message to a wider audience and give the participants another avenue to share their own experiences.
The Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run is aninnovative fundraising model that derives its uniqueness from its timing and marketing rather than the type or style of the event. By making the event easy to participate in, focused on the cause, and targeted at the season of giving, it continues to draw thousands of participants to run out in the cold in a timeframe long ruled by galas, dinners and other indoor fundraisers.
The Arthritis Foundation is the only national non-profit organization that currently provides support for the more than 100 different types of arthritis and arthritis related conditions. Since first opening its doors in 1948, the Arthritis Foundation has raised more than $380 million for research grants and has helped countless patients learn how to live with their disease through ongoing public health initiatives. Its goal is to provide evidence based programs designed to improve the long-term quality of life for those individuals living with arthritis.