Fundraising 101

Team Livestrong is where athletics meets fundraising. In fact, we believe that tying your training and mileage to fundraising is a great way to make your Team Livestrong event a rewarding experience and make a difference in the fight against cancer.

Getting Started

We want to make sure you have a strong fundraising foundation and that means understanding where to start and how to leverage your current networks. Check out some of our best fundraising references below and you’ll reach your fundraising goal before you know it.

General Fundraising

Where can I go for more questions and help if I’m struggling to meet my fundraising goals?

For helpful ideas on developing a donor list, email templates, and even Fundraising party ideas for home and work please download the PDF’s listed above. Inside these documents you will find lots of great ideas and Fundraising tips! If you have further questions about a specific event or additional help and coaching needed please contact your Fundraising Specialist or email us at:

What are the benefits of participating on Team Livestrong for an event?

By choosing to join Team Livestrong for one of our events, you are guaranteed a bib number and entry into the larger competition, as long as you have reached your minimum fundraising goal. You are also provided one-on-one support in your fundraising efforts from our staff, tools to make your goal more attainable, and access to a personal fundraising website. Team Livestrong apparel and other incentives are also included.

Do I have to participate in a physical Team Livestrong event to raise money for the foundation?

No, you do not have to participate in a physical event to raise money for the Livestrong Foundation. Anyone can contribute fundraising efforts to the larger Livestrong mission. Information on community fundraising can be found here. If you are interested in supporting a specific Team Livestrong event but cannot be in attendance, a virtual participant option is provided through the normal registration process.

How much of my Fundraising goes to Livestrong’s programs?

All funds that are donated to the Livestrong Foundation are pooled together to support our full range of programs and services that we offer to cancer survivors and their families. The only exception is the 2016 Livestrong Challenge. All proceeds from that event will go directly to benefit the creation of the Livestrong Cancer Institutes at the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin. More information on the Institutes can be found here.

Can Livestrong assist in covering any costs associated with my event?

Unfortunately, Livestrong does not have the funds to pay any costs associated with third-party events. However, we do provide you with any advice, help, and fundraising assistance you need prior to your event.

Will a Livestrong representative attend the event?

Livestrong relies heavily on volunteers and Livestrong Leaders to achieve our mission. Because of the large number of events and the limited number of staff, staff members are generally unable to attend third-party events. If you are having a local Austin event and you would like to contact us about having a Livestrong staff member attend please email us at:

Can Livestrong provide materials such as brochures or wristbands for my event?

Yes. With advance notice staff can provide these materials if they are available.

Is there an age minimum to register?

For RAGBRAI, we ask that any participant under the age of 21 be accompanied by an adult, who is also a fundraiser for Team Livestrong . For half marathons, the age limit is 16 and for full marathons, the limit is 18. For triathlons, please check the specific event’s website. We have agreed to uphold the limitations set by our partners at these events.

For the Team Livestrong Challenge Series, we welcome participants of all ages to join us. Minors (18 years of age or younger) must be accompanied at the event by a registered adult participant who also agrees to the fundraising commitment. Please note that the 60- to 100-mile ride options may include challenging hills not suitable for the novice rider. We recommend only experienced cyclists who are at least 16 years old register for the 60- to 100-mile distance options. Guardians of minors who wish to participate must sign an additional release form upon picking up the minor’s bib during event weekend.

Can I participate in more than one Team Livestrong event this year?

Yes, you’ll need to register and pay the necessary registration fee, as well as meet the minimum fundraising requirement for each separate Team Livestrong event for which you are registered.

Prior to your first event, please inform your fundraising coach that you plan on participating in multiple Team Livestrong events. We have designed our new fundraising platform to showcase each event you are actively fundraising for. If you need money transferred from your one event to another to cover the minimum required for a separate Team Livestrong event, please contact your coach two weeks prior to the event so that he/she may make the necessary adjustments.

Donations and Matching Gift Questions

To whom should I make my check out?

Please make all checks payable to: Livestrong Foundation.

Where do I mail donation checks?

All donations must have a donation form attached and should be mailed to the address on the donation form:

Livestrong Foundation
623 W. 38th Street, Suite 300
Austin, TX 78705
How do you know that a donation is for me?

The only way we know that a mail-in contribution was made on your behalf is if the donor has placed your Participant ID on the memo line of their check, or attached the donation form to their check.

Is it necessary to send a separate donation form for each donation?

Yes. In order for a donation to be processed properly it is necessary to send a separate completed donation form for each donation. We will process only one check per donation form. Donation forms can be found on your personal fundraising website.

If you need a donation check to be split, please send a separate donation form for each participant and indicate the amount to be credited to each participant. Once a donation is posted to an account, it cannot be split.

What if a check is made out to me, not Livestrong?

If a donor makes the check out to you, simply endorse the check with your signature and “Payable to Livestrong ” and submit it with the donation form. Please note that the account holder on the check will receive the tax receipt from Livestrong.

When will my donations show up in my account?

Please allow 2—3 weeks for processing throughout the year. If you wish to follow up on a check that you or a donor sent in please email

(When inquiring about a check please have a check number, date, amount, and name of account holder available. This will make for quicker processing time.)

Can I accept the bulk of the donations and write Livestrong one check?

We do not recommend this method of donation acceptance. If you collect all of the donations and deposit them into your account so that you can write one check, two things will happen: 1) The IRS will consider that deposit income in your account and you will be taxed on the amount, and 2) because the check is from your account, you, and not your donors, will receive a tax receipt from Livestrong.

What should I know if I’m holding a fundraising event to support Team Livestrong?

When fundraising and putting on large events, it is not necessary to be a 501(c)(3) or use another organization’s 501(c)(3) status. As an individual, you can set up a bank account under the name of your event. In order for there to be no tax implications, the balance of the account at the end of the year must be a zero balance. You also must have receipts of event expenses and proof that money was donated to Livestrong.

When holding an event where some of the proceeds will go to offset event costs, you must be very clear about communicating to donors what percentage of the money will go to Livestrong and what percentage will go to offset event costs.

If a business donates goods or services for my event will they receive a tax receipt from Livestrong?

When a business donates goods or services to your event it is considered an “in-kind” donation to your event. The business did not donate the goods or services directly to Livestrong; therefore, we cannot issue them a tax receipt.

Will I be notified of the donations in my account?

Upon receiving a donation you will be sent an e-mail letting you know that a donation has been made to your fundraising progress.

Can I mail a cash donation with a donation form?

No, please do not mail a cash donation with a donation form. We cannot accept cash donations. For any cash donation you receive, please convert the cash to a cashier’s check and mail it with a completed donation form. Please be sure to include the donor’s personal information on the donation form so that an accurate receipt can be generated for tax purposes.

Please do not deposit the cash into your own account and write a check for that amount; the IRS regards this as income and in addition, if a check is written from your account, you would then receive the tax receipt. It isn’t possible to have a check written from your personal account credited to another donor. However, if you have several cash donations from different donors and want to convert them to one check, you can accompany one cashier’s check with multiple donation forms to indicate the amount that each donor contributed. Each donor will receive a tax receipt for the amount specified on their donation form.

A donor is requesting a 501(c)(3) letter. What is that and how can I get a copy?

The 501(c)(3) letter is proof that the Livestrong Foundation is recognized as a nonprofit organization by the federal government. Contact to obtain a copy of this form.

What should I do if I have a question about a matching gift?

Please contact Livestrong events staff and they will look into your matching gift issue.

Team Livestrong

Is there a health insurance requirement to register for a Team Livestrong Challenge?

Yes. All registered participants (and volunteers) must have personal health insurance during the time of the event in order to participate. Although we provide emergency medical services at stops along the route free of charge, each participant must have personal medical insurance to cover the cost of any medical services received away from the event (for example, ambulance transport and emergency room costs). If you are unable to obtain health insurance, please contact to sign an insurance waiver.

Do you have additional questions? If so, please submit them to This mailbox is monitored Mon-Fri; 8:30am-5:00pm CST. Every attempt will be made to answer your questions the same business day it is received.