A school jog-a-thon or fun run is one of the many crowdfunding ideas that can serve as a great fundraiser for elementary schools. Why? It’s a fun activity that encourages students to get active instead of just selling candy or other goods. In an elementary school jog-a-thon, students fundraise by asking family and community members to donate based on how far they walk or jog. Your school raises money and students seek to win jog-a-thon prizes.
Children love prizes and will work hard for even small rewards and prizes. Remember, the success of your event is in their hands! If they reach their goals, your school wins. Therefore, making sure that there are plenty of jog-a-thon prizes that are available for students to win is key to the success of your jog-a-thon. One of the benefits of hosting this type of event is that there are many motivating jog-a-thon prize ideas that are available, and many are free or low cost.
Elementary School Jog-a-thon Prize Ideas
Here are some tried and true jog-a-thon prizes that we recommend for elementary school jog-a-thons:
Branded School Swag
These prizes can be personalized to have the school logo, mascot or name on them, and can often be purchased at low-cost in bulk:
- T-Shirts (the original)
- Baseball Caps or Hats
- Cups or Mugs
Small, Fun Prizes for Jog-a-thons
Even if prizes are not branded to your school or PTA fundraiser, they can still be popular with elementary school students. These prizes will get the students excited to fundraise. Some schools give a small prize such as these (up to $2 in value) when a student registers or takes their first donation on the jog-a-thon website.
- Smencils (smelly pencils) or choice of colored pencils
- Goody Bags or Grab Bags (filled by sponsors, when possible)
- Scratch art board and pen
- Temporary Tattoos
- Bracelets or Wristbands
- Candy Bars
Prizes of Personal Recognition
Another kind of elementary school jog-a-thon prize idea that serves as a great motivator is awards or prizes that give students recognition for their fundraising accomplishments.
- Morning Announcements of Top Winners
- Awards, Ribbons, Trophies, and Recognition Certificates
- Homework or Hall Passes
- Dress Down Day Passes (for schools with uniform requirements)
- Teacher or Principal for a Day
Teacher & Staff Related Prizes
Jog-a-thon prize ideas can be low-cost by getting the teachers, principals, or school staff involved. For example, allow students to choose their favorite teacher, staff personnel or principal to get:
- Pied in the Face
- Dunked into a Water Tank
- Thrown Water Balloons or Shot with Water Guns
- Or Enjoy a Group or One-on-One Lunch
Classroom Events & Prizes
A little healthy competition between classrooms or grade levels can really help your school to raise more. For this reason, most schools also provide classroom or grade level prizes. Some schools prefer to focus all prizes on the group level, to take the pressure off of individuals and their families. For a larger group prize, there are plenty of activities that can be enjoyed as a classroom or grade.
- Fast Food, Pizza or Ice Cream Parties
- In-School Movie Half-Day
- Dance Parties
- Bounce House Parties
- Craft Day – Make your own snow globe, personalized mug or another craft project
- Dress Down Days
High-Value Prizes for Top Jog-a-thon Fundraisers
High value prizes are reserved for the top-earning jog-a-thon participants. Some of these jog-a-thon prize ideas can be donated through in-kind donations or jog-a-thon sponsorships from local businesses, keeping event costs down.
- Gift Cards or Gift Certificates
- Popular Electronics (such as an iPad, tablet, laptop, Nintendo Switch, or headset)
- Passes to Local Amusement Park or Family-Friendly Entertainment venues
Ways to Award Jog-a-thon Prizes to Individuals
Jog-a-thons typically have various tiers and categories of prizes so that the fundraising event assures maximum participation. Here are some ways to categorize elementary school jog-a-thon prizes for the participating students.
- Participation: Everyone that participates in the jog-a-thon or registers on the fundraising website can receive a very small award.
- Dollar Amount Tiers: Provide several tiers with special prizes that correspond when a student’s fundraising efforts reach the desired amount. Usually, the first tier is relatively easy to accomplish. For example, begin prize tiers with raising a minimum of $50 or $100.
- Top Fundraisers: These can be broken down into categories such as the top three fundraisers for the entire school, as well as a top fundraiser in each classroom, grade or group.
- Performance by Speed or Distance: Prizes can also be given to the students that run the furthest or complete the most laps. This ensures that students work hard on the event day.
Ways to Award Jog-a-thon Prizes to Classrooms or Groups
To keep the competition fierce between classrooms or grade levels, award prizes based on the following
- Participation: This can be awarded when every student in the classroom registers on the website and takes a donation. Our crowdfunding software tracks student participation by group.
- Dollar Amount Tiers: When the classroom reaches a certain dollar amount of fundraising – maybe $1,000 or $2,500 – the classroom can choose a staff-related prize.
- Classroom Total or Grade Total: Event related prizes can be given for the entire classroom or grade that raises the highest amount. Again, the top three classrooms are generally awarded here.
What Else Do You Need To Host an Elementary School Jog-a-thon?
Prizes aren’t the only things to consider when running a school jog-a-thon. You’ll also need to manage the following items:
A Great Peer-to-Peer Crowdfunding Website
One of the most important steps of a jog-a-thon or school fun run is to use a fundraising website. There are several features that are needed to support the crowdfunding functionality for jog-a-thons. All of these are available with our free platform designed for walks and P2P events.
- Easy student registration or import
- Personal fundraising pages for students and classrooms
- Tracking of laps completed with our Athon package
- Real-time donation reporting and fundraising status via fundraising thermometers and leaderboards
- Easy social media sharing
Healthy Snacks for After the Jog
Elementary school students are going to be active throughout the jog-a-thon – including warm-up exercises and winding down after the jog. Offer healthy snacks and plenty of hydrating beverages as they finish the jog-a-thon. Healthy snacks may include energy bars, fruit, cheese and crackers, or pizza. For beverages, nothing beats water. Kids also love lemonade and fruit waters.
After Party & Fun Activities
For more excitement before and after the event, offer fun activities that the kids can choose to enjoy. Ideas include a temporary tattoo stand, balloon animals, face painting stations, carnival like games, and more. Make your jog-a-thon an event to remember and look forward to each year!
Music or DJ
A kid-friendly DJ that plays great music can keep the energy going throughout the jog-a-thon. If a DJ is not available, just get a playlist and a speaker system.
Mascots & Characters
If the school has a team mascot or cheerleaders, have them ready and cheering on the sidelines of the event to keep the spirits up. Otherwise, parent volunteers can dress up as superheroes to motivate the kids.
Planning Tips for Jog-a-thon Fundraising Success
- Send Milestone Reminders: As the elementary school jog-a-thon date comes closer, e-mail reminders through the fundraising website to encourage a final push towards the goal. Some things to mention in the e-mail is where the school is currently with the goal and a reminder of the minimum each student should raise to help reach the school goal as a whole (i.e. if each student raised a minimum of $50, our school will reach our goal and be able to purchase new playground equipment).
- Find Sponsors: Whether the sponsorship is a monetary donation or an in-kind donation, every little bit helps. In-kind donations for snacks, beverages, accessories or prizes work well. In-kind donations can also come in handy with printed flyers, awards, ribbons or gift certificates/passes used towards prizes.
- Prepare Ahead of Time: Allow approximately 3-6 months to prepare everything ahead of time, giving ample room to plan the fundraising website, promotion and sponsorship acquisition.
- Assign Volunteers: Review the event logistics to see where certain volunteers are needed. Some roles include keeping the students on track of the course, distributing snacks, giving out prizes and other tasks. Delegate each tasks accordingly to the teachers, administrative staff or parents available to help.
Plan Tiered Time-Slots: For a large school and a limited space course, consider tiered time slots by grades or groups of grades to avoid overcrowding. Keep everyone safe and having fun.
- Promote, Promote, Promote!: Help the students spread the word by sending an update through parent newsletters, bulletin boards, morning announcements, PTO notices, social media pages and more.
More Jog-a-thon Ideas & Themes
Want to add some spice to your school’s jog-a-thon? Here are some more jog-a-thon fundraising ideas to consider:
- Many schools now incorporate powdered color paint into their fundraising events for a fun school Color Run fundraiser. Participants wear a white t-shirt and the color flies!
- Choose a school jog-a-thon theme, such as a Pajama Run or Superhero Walk. See this blog for Fun Run theme ideas.
- We also see a lot of schools incorporating an obstacle course fundraiser, especially for middle school and high school fundraising events. The physical education teacher can provide some equipment that can be used to increase the difficulty of the jogging course to keep the event interesting.
More Resources for Jog-a-thon Fundraising Events
By planning ahead with these tips, attracting student participation with fun prizes, and having fundraising software that can support peer-to-peer fundraising, it will be simple to accomplish your elementary school jog-a-thon fundraising goals. Read more from our blog on how to organize a fun run and see our extensive walk-a-thon fundraising resources.