Frequently Asked Questions

Donor FAQ | Participant FAQ | Nonprofit FAQ

Q. What is the Human Race?

An opportunity for Santa Cruz County nonprofits, individuals and groups to fundraise for local programs through a six week giving campaign that culminates on Race Day with a 5 mile fun run/walk and a community celebration. The Human Race has been helping nonprofits, schools and community groups fundraise together for 39 years. Online giving runs from March 27 through May 11 and RACE DAY happens on Saturday May 11, 2019. The 2019 goal? To raise $450,000 for participating local nonprofits, schools and churches. Will you walk for change for our community?

Q. What happens on Race Day?

Race Day is a grand day of celebration that includes a 5 mile fun run and walk, complimentary breakfast and lunch, music, entertainment, prizes, and post race festivities. Participants are asked to raise or donate a minimum of $40. Race Day participants can register online or in person on the day of the race. All funds raised ahead of time by fundraisers are counted towards the $40 participant fee.

Q. How does it work?

Organizations and businesses recruit walkers/runners/pledge-gatherers to raise funds for any nonprofit, school or church. The Human Race is open to all. Anyone can donate to the nonprofit of their choice at from March 27 through May 11. Search profiles of participating nonprofits and track progress on the leaderboard.

Q. How are donations allocated?

Participating nonprofits receive a minimum of 75% of all monies collected. Nonprofits can increase the percentage by bringing in $10,000 or more. The Volunteer Center keeps a percentage to cover administrative and event management costs.

Q. What is the Volunteer Center?

The Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County is a "one-stop shop" for all things volunteer related for individuals, organizations, and businesses. We believe it should be easy to find out when and where your skills are needed. We are committed to doing the legwork so you don't have to. Each year we collaborate with over 500 community partners to support their effort to recruit and welcome new volunteers and we partner with local businesses that want to invest their resources in building a more connected community.

We connect people with volunteer opportunities on the web, by phone or in person via our match-making appointments. We additionally invite every person to be a part of supporting our community through our family of 19 programs.


Q. How can I donate?

Go to March 27 through May 11, to give to any participating nonprofit. Search for nonprofits by name and visit their fundraising page where you can donate using your credit card.

Q. Is my gift tax deductible?

Yes. You’ll receive an email confirming your donation from the Volunteer Center. Please save this for your records. Your chosen nonprofits will likely thank you as well to let you know how your donation will make a difference.

Q. What if I can't find my favorite nonprofit on the Human Race site?

Nonprofits are required to register by March 22nd. Encourage your charity of choice to participate!

Q. Can I make a donation using my smartphone?

Yes. Our website is mobile responsive making it easy for you to make a gift on the go.

Q. Is my gift safe and secure?

Yes. The website is powered by GiveGab. We have partnered with Stripe as our payment processor, a secure PCI-Level 1 compliant service provider. Your personal information is protected.

Q. Can I donate anonymously?

Yes. Anonymous donors will receive a tax receipt only.


Q. Beyond a donation, how can I support my favorite nonprofit?

Spread the word among your friends and co-workers about the Human Race. You can write letters, emails, post on social media, call, or invite friends to support in person. The more supporters an agency has, the more money they can raise for their programs. By talking to your network, and connecting potential donors to the nonprofit(s) you support, you can help them extend their reach.

Q. Can I fundraise for a nonprofit?

Of course! Individuals can create a personal fundraising page online, or fundraise offline with pledge sheets. Online profiles become available to participants as soon as your nonprofit registers. Individuals are asked to raise at least $40 and if you raise over $1,000, you’ll be acknowledged at the awards ceremony in June.

Q. Ways to Pledge

Online at

Using printed pledge sheets. (Remember to make a copy for your records before submitting.)

Using printed pledge sheets

• Pick up pledge sheets at the Volunteer Center or download and print sheets from this website.

• Write your name, the nonprofit’s name and Volunteer Center tracking number. This ensures that the funds are allocated to the correct agency. If you don’t know the agency number call the Volunteer Center at 427-5070.

• Complete the donor information (name, address and phone number) and the amount donated. Checks should be made out to Volunteer Center-HR with the agency number on the memo line of the check.

• If the donor requests, provide them a receipt for tax purposes.

• Prior to the day of the event pledge sheets and funds can be brought to the Volunteer Center nearest you. Please do not bring pledge sheets & funds to the Volunteer Center the Friday before the race.

• On the day of the race a separate registration table will be set up for those bringing in funds.

• Any funds not yet submitted can be brought to the Volunteer Center after Race day.


Q. What kinds of organizations are eligible to participate?

Any nonprofits, school or church serving Santa Cruz County can participate in the Human Race. Register at by March 22, 2019.

Q. How do I register my organization?

Visit the Registration Page or click on the register button on the homepage. Type your organization in the search box to see if you are already registered. If you do not see your organization then click the red button " Add My Organization" and you will be walked through the registration process.

Q. Why should my organization participate?

Along with a top-of-the-line free fundraising website, we provide you with the key tools for success, training with top development experts, connections to supporters, and we manage all of the event marketing so you can focus on your fundraising goals. Registration is free.

The Human Race is your opportunity to:

--Raise awareness of your organization.

--Grow your donations.

--Reach new donors.

--And build your online fundraising skills.

--Your organization may also be eligible to receive prizes and match money.

Q. Is there a fee for nonprofits to participate?

No. However, you should prepare to devote time and energy to promoting the Human Race among your own donors and social networks. Check out the toolkit on our resources page.

Q. How much does my nonprofit earn from the dollars raised?

Participating agencies earn a minimum of 75% of all monies collected. You can increase the percentage by bringing in $10,000 or more. Higher collections translate into a higher percentage of earning for your agency.

Dollars Collected Percentage Earned
Up to $9,999 75%
$10,000 - $19,999 80%
$20,000 and above 85%

Q. How do I motivate people to pledge to my organization?

Communicate the positive impact of your organization and its importance to Santa Cruz County. Emphasize the needs met through the services you provide and your goals for the future. Setting a clear fundraising $$ goal and earmarking a specific project for your donations will motivate people to pledge.

Q. Can I see my donor report from last year?

Yes. Although the online donor reports in your profile portal have been reset for 2018, we have backed up all your 2017 data. Please email us at for your donor report. Donor information will only be shared privately with a representative from the organization who received the donation.

Q. Can we partner with a local business to increase pledges?

Yes. Ask a business to support your nonprofit by gathering pledges through employee participation. Have them register as a team and coordinate with one of their employees to ensure a successful partnership!

Q. Are we eligible for matching dollars or prizes?

Our three year partnership with Community Foundation Santa Cruz County came to a close in 2018. This partnership allowed us to take our fundraising to the next level and grow our donor base. While we will not have matching funds this year, we are confident in our collective ability to raise funds by tapping into this broad base of community support we have all worked so hard to establish. We will continue to have weekly incentive prizes throughout the six week campaign.

Quick Start T-Shirt Prize

Open to ALL participating organizations

Weekly Prizes

ELIGIBLE: Santa Cruz County based 501(c)(3) nonprofits or charitable organizations with a 501(c)(3) nonprofit fiscal sponsor in Santa Cruz County. Those headquartered in Monterey County with programs in Santa Cruz County being supported by funds raised during the Human Race may also be considered.


o Universities

o Colleges

o Schools

o Religious groups (including churches)

o Clubs

o Nonprofits headquartered in Santa Cruz County whose primary work is outside area

End of the Campaign Prizes

ELIGIBLE: Santa Cruz County based 501(c)(3) nonprofits or charitable organizations with a 501(c)(3) nonprofit fiscal sponsor in Santa Cruz County. Those headquartered in Monterey County with programs in Santa Cruz County being supported by funds raised during the Human Race may also be considered.


o Universities

o Colleges

o Schools

o Religious groups (including churches)

o Clubs

o Nonprofits headquartered in Santa Cruz County whose primary work is outside area

All prize winners will be reviewed for eligibility before being awarded.

Q. How do I make this a success?

Sign up for one of our training sessions to get tips and tools for raising money. If you’re not currently on social media, set up accounts for your organization now. This is a fantastic event for that draws in the larger community. Your creativity and energy will help make it a success!

Q. When will my organization receive its donations?

You’ll receive all donations in a single payment from the Volunteer Center by June 2019. All payments will be made by check.

Q. Will we receive donor information for acknowledgements?

Yes. You’ll have access to donor information during the event, unless the donor has asked for anonymity. We encourage you to reach out to your donors after the event and thank them for supporting your organization.

Q. Does my organization need to send letters for tax deductions?

Donors receive an email confirming the gift receipt from the Volunteer Center. However, we encourage you to acknowledge donations by following up with donors and let them know what you’ll do with their donation.

Q. How can I get more information about the Human Race?

Contact our Human Race Coordinator at 427-5070 x113 or