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Elementary School Jog-A-Thon Prizes & Ideas

Elementary School Jog-A-Thon Prizes & Ideas

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. It’s a fun activity that encourages students to get active. 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.

Read on to find the best jog-a-thon prize ideas and how to best award prizes for fundraising success.

Elementary School Jog-a-thon Prize Ideas

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 many motivating jog-a-thon prize ideas are available, and many are free or low cost.

Here are some tried and true jog-a-thon prizes that we recommend for elementary school jog-a-thons.

Branded School Swag

Branded School Swag for Jog-A-Thon Prizes

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)
  • Sunglasses
  • Baseball Caps or Hats
  • Cups or Mugs 
  • Bandanas

Small, Fun Prizes for Jog-a-thons

Gift Bags for Fundraising events

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
  • Stickers
  • Goody Bags or Grab Bags (filled by sponsors, when possible)
  • Scratch-art board and pen
  • Temporary Tattoos
  • Bracelets or Wristbands
  • Candy Bars 

Prizes for Personal Recognition

Jog-a-thon 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 and Staff Related Prizes

Teacher & Staff Related Prizes for Jog-A-Thons

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 and Prizes

Fundraising Pizza Party for school walks

A little healthy competition between classrooms or grade levels can help your school 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, plenty of activities 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 tie-dye t-shirt, personalized mug, or other craft projects
  • Dress Down Days 

High-Value Prizes for Top Jog-a-thon Fundraisers

Nintendo Switch Fundraising Prize for jog-a-thon fundraising

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.
  • Unique Donors: Reward the participant that has either the highest quantity of unique donors within all participants or the highest quantity of unique donors within their team.

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 receives a donation. Our crowdfunding software tracks student participation by group.
  • Dollar Amount Tiers: When the classroom reaches a specific amount of fundraising – maybe $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. 
  • Unique Donors: Reward the team that has the highest quantity of unique donors.

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. Several features 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.

Crowdfunding Software for jog-a-thons
  • 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 gamification elements like fundraising thermometers and leaderboards
  • Easy social media sharing

Healthy Snacks for After the Jog

Healthy Snacks for Jog-A-Thons

Elementary school students will be active throughout the jog-a-thon – including warm-up exercises and winding down afterward. 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 and Fun Activities

Face Painting

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!

Live Music or DJ

DJ Music

A kid-friendly DJ that plays great music can keep the energy going throughout the jog-a-thon. If a DJ is not available, get a playlist and a speaker system.

Mascots and Characters

School Mascot

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 approaches, 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 or in-kind donation, event sponsors can really make your jog-a-thon. In-kind donations for snacks, beverages, accessories or prizes work well. Donations of printed flyers, awards, ribbons, or gift certificates for prizes also come in handy.
  • 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 task 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 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 and 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.
  • Some schools incorporate an obstacle course, 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 and keep the event interesting. 

More Resources for Jog-a-thon Fundraising Events

Planning ahead with these tips, attracting student participation with fun prizes, and having fundraising software that can support peer-to-peer fundraising will make it simple to accomplish your school’s 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. 

Lisa Bennett

About Lisa Bennett

Lisa is the Sales Director at DoJiggy. She joined DoJiggy in 2006 and loves her job. Prior to working with DoJiggy, she worked at several non-profits and managed special event fundraising.

See other posts from Lisa Bennett