Swimming events as fundraisers are a fun and healthy way to promote community involvement with a broad range of participants. Whether you measure your swimming events in laps or kilometers, charity swimming events can inspire communities from age six to seventy-five, and bring the focus of your entire community to your worthy cause.
Like all successful swim-a-thon charity events, they must be well planned, and carefully implemented in order to make the most of the event. With the proper fundraising software, you can pull this off like the fundraising dynamo that you are.
Planning Tips to Succeed in Charity Swimming Events
Plan ahead. The more organization you can bring to the event early, the better your results will be in the end. If possible, plan your fundraising event to coincide with another city-wide festival in order to maximize participation and attendance possibilities. Starting the planning six months in advance of charity swimming events gives members plenty of lead-time to contact local businesses for pledges, contributions, and prizes. Choosing your crowdfunding software at this early juncture is important, as most of your planning efforts are tracked online. This pre-event groundwork eliminates the frantic rush at the end to get everything done, and it can mean the difference between rousing success and a dismal failure.
Collect money in a timely manner. Collecting the money after the swim for charity event can create challenges for novice fundraisers. Giving your swimmers a deadline to turn in their money can help. (Reward the best collector as well as the top fundraising teams at your awards ceremony.) This is a good opportunity to teach that the follow-up work is as important as the pre-event excitement. If you want to keep the swimmers from being forced to approach their donors twice, it’s also possible to have your swimmers collect a contribution upfront.
Get help with refreshments. Local churches or service groups should be encouraged to set up shop as refreshment vendors (for a low, low price to ensure their place at the venue,) on the day of the event. Retail vendors may donate refreshments and benefit from being recognized as sponsors.
Thank you notes and small gifts are important. Present gifts of acknowledgment to your top donors and supporters at the award ceremony. Thank you notes to all of your contributors can be sent through your swim for charity event software. You should always take pains to thank all of your contributors and participants.
Engagement is Key to Successful Charity Swim Events
This involvement comes from everyone connected with the event, so your job is to continually fuel the enthusiasm. The full participation of coaches, parents, grandparents, teachers and others should be one of your primary goals since enthusiasm from the group will be contagious to each P2P fundraising swimmer and volunteer.
Spark some enthusiasm among your community’s senior citizens. This offers senior citizens an opportunity to participate in community activities and share their experiences and expertise. Swimming is a healthy activity at any age, and the wealth of fundraising knowledge that senior citizens possess can be shared with younger participants.
Parents can support their swimmers by helping to develop lists of prospective contributors, finding addresses, and composing letters. Parents can also solicit donations at their work without participating otherwise in the swim for charity event, and even encourage their employers to offer gift matching, and donate from your pledge fundraising software.
Write great media releases. Send press releases to the local paper two weeks before the swim date announcing the program, and its goals. Offer an inspirational message with details as to where the proceeds will be going and why.
Promote the event in the community, and create healthy competition. Charity swimming events are more newsworthy if you’ve created a clever tactic to feed the enthusiasm. Call upon local banks to create their own team and challenge rival banks to do the same. Better yet, bring in the local media. Invite the media – newspapers, radio, and television stations – to participate. If they do, it will ensure coverage of your charity event.
If the media isn’t participating, be sure to resubmit your press release three days before the swim date with an invitation to the journalist to be your guest on race day. This way they can see what the event is about, and perhaps opt to participate in future events, or be so inspired that they’ll publish an article about your event.
Get a local celebrity to attend and promote your cause. This could be the Governor, a celebrity born near your area, a war hero, an athlete, or some other role model. People think that celebrities won’t participate in their small event, so they don’t go to the trouble of inviting them. Those who do extend the invitation are often surprised!
Have a photographer present to take photos of the participants as they finish, and/or take team pictures for posterity. This is especially important for those business teams you were able to gather, as pictures provide a year-round reminder of the fun and good-spirited competition participants enjoyed.
Utilizing P2P Crowdfunding Software
Your nonprofit crowdfunding software will likely offer many other ideas for ensuring the success of your swim for charity event. Remember that careful planning and inspiring great enthusiasm in your volunteers are the keys to making these events memorable and profitable. Proper planning eliminates snags before they occur, making the event and its outcome seem flawless. Supporters and donors will happily participate again in what they consider to be a “top-tier event.” A smooth-flowing event with few problems also makes it easier for volunteers to commit their time and energy to next year’s event.
Wrapping It Up
All top-notch fundraisers know that the final key to the success of charity swimming events (or any other successful event) is the “post-mortem.” Shortly after the event, hold a follow-up evaluation meeting where volunteers can evaluate the success of and critique the event, identifying problems with an eye toward eliminating them in future events. Don’t wait until memories fade. Do it hot on the heels of your P2P fundraising event when memories of successes and failures are fresh. This will make next year’s event even more spectacular and easier for everybody involved.