A conversation with an airport security agent, while returning home after her first half marathon at Walt Disney World, sparked the idea for organizing a charity running team for Team Muscle Makers for UCMD President Melissa Mayorgas.
“The TSA agent (I was wearing my medal) asked me what charity I was running for,” Mayorgas said. “I said I didn’t run for a charity, I just wanted to try to do this. So, the entire flight home from Orlando to L.A., I just kept thinking, why don’t I do this for charity?”
And, in 2012, Team Muscle Makers was born. Inspired by Mayorgas’ son’s medical condition, Team Muscle Makers is a charity running organization that raises funds for muscular dystrophy and recruits charity running teams as an official runDisney charity.
Mayorgas has raised more than $400,000 for the muscle disease clinic at Rady Children’s Hospital, and a large part of her success is due to effective communication.
“We keep everybody informed. I’m big on communication,” Mayorgas explained.
Here are the two major strategies that have turned 30 to 50 percent of Team Muscle Maker’s runners into repeat racers:
Staying in touch through social media.
“It’s seriously a huge marketing tool because somebody shares something and they share something to somebody and it spreads like a wildfire,” Mayorgas said.
Using Facebook effectively is an important part of Team Muscle Makers’ marketing strategy, since most of there referrals come from the social network.
“I actually watch a lot of the runDisney related social media sites and it’s nice to see people recommended our team,” Mayorgas explained.
Participants often find Team Muscle Makers on social media through runDisney’s own Facebook groups and pages, which is why it’s important for her to keep a presence on multiple social media avenues, to capture the participants that can’t get into sold out runDisney events.
“Subscribing to all those, you get people saying ‘Oh, I did Princess! I want to get my coast-to-coast. Let me do Disneyland half marathon’ or somebody will say ‘Oh, I ran with Team Muscle Makers and I got in after it sold out,’” she said.
Sending regular email updates.
“We’re constantly using our ACTIVE platform to send out team updates for any given event,” Mayorgas said.
As the day of the event approaches, Mayorgas sends out more and more updates to keep the event fresh on participants’ minds.
“If you’re farther out, I might do an update once a month. But, we’re getting closer to labor day weekend so I’ve been doing my Disneyland half marathon updates every other week and then they’ll become weekly and then twice a week as they get closer to the event,” she explained.
Mayorgas recommends updating participants with complete details on everything from how to prepare for the race, what to bring to the event, ticket prices, discounts for accommodations and team lunches.
“If they want to buy extra park admission tickets—just things that are going on around the resort the weekend of the race to make it a more enjoyable experience because a lot of them do make a family weekend of it,” Mayorgas said.
Interested in more advice from leading race directors? Check out our past Event Directors of the Month.