How Prostate Cancer Research Raised £250,000 in London Marathon

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London Marathon is the biggest fundraising event on the planet.

As someone looking after charity fundraising, this might seem intimidating…especially if you’re a small team. But the fundraising potential for charities of all sizes in this event is extraordinary. 

We caught up with Charlotte Brennan from the Prostate Cancer Research’s small events team on our recent webinar hosted by Fundraising Everywhere. In 2023, the charity smashed its £188,000 target for London Marathon 2023, raising £250,000 with a few key strategies any charity can use!

Keep reading for plenty of useful tips, our London Marathon 2024 fundraising timeline, and the next steps your charity should take for the best fundraising possible.

Jump to a section:


Top tips from Prostate Cancer Research

Prostate Cancer Research (PCR) smashed their initial target of £180,000, going on to raise a whopping £250k in London Marathon 2023, with an average raised of £2,930 per participant!

How did they get there?

While everyone has their own team, time, and budget constraints, every charity can adapt these tips for their own community.

Here’s how they did it.

Recruit passionate people

Getting the right people on board in the first place can be a game-changer for your fundraising. Charlotte’s advice: recruit people who are passionate.

The team made phone calls to the strongest applicants to get to know their fundraising plans and connection to the cause.

“You want people to be as engaged as possible throughout the journey. You’re going to get much more out of someone who’s committed to fundraising [over simply giving a donation to meet the target amount].”

Charlotte Brennan, Prostate Cancer Research
Part of Prostate Cancer Research’s cheer squad making London Marathon special. Photo provided by Prostate Cancer Research.

Optimise your onboarding

Once you’ve chosen your runners, you want to make their welcome special! PCR gave their new fundraising team a few special gifts to celebrate upon joining:

  • A personalised running top
  • Training guides and an invite to an in-person Training Day event
  • A PCR Cheer Squad present on event day
  • A post-race party
  • Ongoing fundraising support
This is a mammoth effort for your fundraisers. Make the effort to show up for them too! Photo provided by Prostate Cancer Research.

Spice up your stewardship

We talk a lot about this, but what is it? It simply means looking after your runners all the way to race day… and beyond!

“The first thing we did was set up our JustGiving Campaign Page and share the fundraising link with runners, so they can get their fundraising pages started as soon as possible.”

Charlotte Brennan, Prostate Cancer Research

Using a Campaign Page allows all your London Marathon fundraising to go into one page, providing a collective goal and healthy competition.

Working backwards from the event, PCR focused on their key touchpoints: regular contact by email, phone, as well as a Facebook and Strava group.

“Test different ways of communicating. If something doesn’t work, change it. If you’re struggling to get someone on the phone, send them a text message.”

Charlotte Brennan, Prostate Cancer Research

Use incentives for fundraising motivation

On JustGiving, London Marathon pages created before Christmas go on to raise an average of 24% more!

Prostate Cancer Research used this stat to facilitate a competition to get people fundraising early. It doesn’t have to break the bank – it can be as simple as giving away your existing charity merchandise!

Line up a training day

Just after Christmas, PCR held a special training day in central London to keep motivation high during what’s typically a slow period.

The training day included a session from a personal trainer, talks from the PCR team, and a special fundraising workshop. This boosted their community’s morale and allowed runners to meet each other and become more integrated in the charity’s community.

What an impressive team! Here’s Prostate Cancer Research’s 2023 London Marathon runners meeting in person at their 2023 training day. Photo provided by Prostate Cancer Research.

Support all your runners

Ballot runners vs charity runners: what’s the difference?

Ballot runners are people who already have a place in the marathon, then might choose to fundraise for a charity. Charity runners are those recruited by the charity and who will then use the charity’s own places  in the event, which the charity’s received from London Marathon event directly.

But the key takeaway here? They’re both just as important!

Ballot place runners are just as important as charity runners and are taken on the same journey, minus the target. For example, one of their ballot runners raised £3,030, and another raised £1,096. Two very impactful fundraisers! Photo and graphic provided by Prostate Cancer Research.

At every opportunity, take all your fundraisers on the same journey and give them the same support.

Try marketing segmentation

PCR used a well-proven marketing strategy to better speak to their different fundraisers: segmentation.

“We segmented our fundraisers into High-Medium-Low fundraisers after Christmas and tailored their communications from there.”

Charlotte Brennan, Prostate Cancer Research

Using marketing segmentation, the charity could better tailor their communications. For example, they could encourage fundraisers who hadn’t reached their goal yet to keep going.

Tailoring your email communications based on how much your fundraisers have raised. You can give congratulations to those who have reached their goals, extra encouragement to those who need it, and support all around. Graphic provided by Prostate Cancer Research.

Show up on event day

Cheer, cheer, cheer!

PCR made sure their supporters had a big crowd as they ran the London Marathon, as well as a special after-party at a nearby venue to celebrate their runners.

If you’re not able to get your cheer squad together on event day, no worries. Our JustGiving team cheer squad will be there to support your runners and make as much noise as possible to spur them on over that finish line!

Extra London Marathon event day support provided courtesy of the JustGiving team!

Say thanks!

PCR recommends sending handwritten thank-you letters to those people who went above and beyond: your fundraisers. Outside of just showing your appreciation, you can share total fundraising results, and detailed information about how their contribution will make a difference.


Start fundraising in London Marathon 2024

Start your journey to London Marathon 2024 fundraising success with these key actions.

1. Create your Campaign Page

This acts as your London Marathon event landing page. Here you can bring all your fundraisers and donors together in one central hub!

Once you’ve created your page, make sure it’s connected to the official Event ID 8149436. Learn more about how to make a great London Marathon Campaign Page.

2. Share your Campaign Page link

When you share your campaign’s Fundraising Page Link, any fundraiser who starts fundraising from this link will automatically be connected to your London Marathon Campaign Page and will contribute to your collective goal!


Share your link by going to Campaigns > View existing Campaigns > More > Share fundraising link

3. Fill your places

Use our tailor-made Charity Place Finder to find runners for your London Marathon fundraising! You simply list your open places you already have, and we’ll work to promote them with interested and excited runners.

4. Review your comms

When fundraisers sign up to JustGiving, they’ll get our personalised and high-performing emails that give them the confidence to ask for donations and updates on their progress as they go.

Check your messaging against the timeline below to make sure you’re encouraging the best behaviours at the right time, taking note of when you’re encouraging page creation, page activartion, or page value:


How we’re helping you raise more in London Marathon 2024

In 2023, London Marathon fundraisers used JustGiving to raise more than £39 million for 2,500 charities. We’re looking to grow this even more in 2024, because you and your fundraisers deserve the best!

In addition to optimising our checkout process, stewardship, and charity support, we’re launching three new initiatives for a fun and successful London Marathon in 2024:

Charity Place Finder

Our tailor-made platform for connecting passionate fundraisers with charities they want to support.

Top of the Training Tracks

A brand new music based JustGiving competition with the chance for fundraisers to win £500 donations.

£1,000 donation bonuses

A chance at £1,000 donation boosts for fundraisers who create pages between 23 Oct 2023 – 30 Nov 2023.


If you haven’t already, watch the full stream for even more of Charlotte’s tips for London Marathon success. Ready to go? Learn how to create a Campaign Page and get more information on our London Marathon info page.

HUGE thanks to Charlotte and Prostate Cancer Research for sharing their experience, and strategies. We hope this helps you reach your goals in next year’s event!

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Jordyn's a Customer Success Manager at JustGiving. She loves inspiring the 3rd sector to think creatively about driving donations and teaching charities how to use the best tech to raise more.