Fun Runs are the perfect fundraiser for schools, as they encourage youth exercise and team building. Students get excited about the big day and are happy to fundraise for your school in the meantime. The best school fun runs and jog-a-thons include training time for the kids, team-building exercises for classrooms that are working together to raise funds, and school spirit pep rallies and initiatives. Adding unique Fun Run ideas and fun run themes – costumes, games, after-parties, and more – that add fun are always encouraged.
For nonprofits, the competition of a 10K, half-marathon, or marathon may fuel athletic supporters, but a Fun Run exponentially grows your participants because it isn’t just about getting to the finish line. Families can train together or just show up and have fun. Fun runs are for everyone!
9 Awesome Fun Run Ideas and Themes
Our Fun Run ideas below add an extra dose of fun by adding a theme or costume to the run. Everyone falls in love with the fun run because the entire journey from beginning to end is an enjoyable and energetic experience whether participants run, walk or roll. The ideas are endless but here are nine great fun run concepts to run with.
The Best Fun Run Theme: Color Runs
Color Runs are great school crowdfunding events, yet attract people of all ages with that extra pop of color during the run. The Fun Run is done with a simple addition of including packets of colorful powders at registration and for spectators. The participants wear white to start and get to enjoy the run with bursts of colors they can do with what they wish. The result is sure to be a rainbow-like load of fun! Learn more on how to organize one with our article on Fundraising with a Color Run.
Pajama Runs/Onesie Runs
Another Fun Run idea to consider is the pajama run or onesie run. Participants gear up in their pajamas before the event begins. Onesies have recently made a comeback in style, oftentimes mimicking animals like unicorns and foxes, and can be a fun idea for young ones and adults together. A more easily accessible outfit can simply be pajamas, in which events like Pajama Jamboree or Pajama Jog are names that roll with the theme well. This is another great Fun Run idea for schools.
Disney-Themed Fun Runs
An event that is fun for the younger crowd of elementary school fundraising is a Disney-Themed fun run. Parents and kids can get their best Elsa or Aladdin costume and run with the enthusiasm of Moana singing out at sea. Disney is not limited to just the princess or new movies, but can also involve the classics – like Mickey Mouse or Minnie Mouse ears.
Night Light Run/Glow Runs
For more pep and energy without the heat of the sun, another fun run idea is a night light or glow run. Consider this idea as a party that happens to be on a run or walk to the finish line. The event typically has a DJ playing high-energy music and participants are given glow-sticks to have fun on their walk. Participation for this type of event draws in camaraderie by costume, where walkers can upgrade their outfit for an extra pizzazz with glow-in-the-dark socks, shoelaces, body paint, and clothing.
TV Show-Themed or Movie-Themed Fun Runs
Another great option for fun run themes is to design a run after a TV show or movie. With the ever-growing popularity of shows like Game of Thrones or Star Wars, why not let people don their best Daenerys wig or Princess Leia buns? Start the enthusiasm with your themed Fun Run crowdfunding website to get participants excited.
Halloween Costume Runs
If the Fun Run is happening around the time of Halloween, why not go with the flow of the theme and make it a costume run? A great way to end the run is to host the best costume contests for the run participants. School fun runs and walks are often held in the fall, making this a great school fundraising option.
Jingle Bell Jog-a-thon/Santa-Themed Fun Runs
Should you find yourself in need of a fundraising walk or run during the wintertime, it’s only so natural to make it a holiday-themed event. Everyone can get into the holiday spirit! A famous walk in New York City is called SantaCon, where the participants are welcome to join in costume as Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus or elves and Santa helpers. For something more seasonally festive outside of the Christmas theme, you can also do a Jingle Bell Jog, where everything from holiday sweaters to Christmas-themed costumes counts as an outfit.
Water Gun Runs
We know marathons and even Fun Runs can get pretty heated both under the sun and at the race. Why not add a cooling aspect to the run with water guns? Registration packages can include a small water gun so everyone can join in the fun. What’s great here is that the event can have added activities, like water slides, water balloon fights, and water sprinklers on the side for spectators to have their own fun.
Zombie Run or Lurch
Zombies are everywhere, from shows like Walking Dead and iZombie to movies like Shaun of the Dead and Dawn of the Dead to the ever-classic music video, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Becoming a zombie can be a fun theme for your Fun Run or obstacle course fundraiser.
A variation with the human vs. zombie concept that is sure to delight kids is to give the “human” participants three tags on their bibs with the aim of finishing the race with all three tags still intact. The “zombies” aim is to grab all of the tags off of the humans before they reach the finish line.
Start the Fun Run Off on the Right Foot with a Great Fun Run Website
One of the most pivotal parts of a Fun Run fundraiser is making sure that you have the right peer-to-peer fundraising software to help you succeed. Choosing a Fun Run software platform that will make your jog-a-thon or run as professional as it is fun, is easy with us! We’ve hosted crowdfunding events since 2006 and have all of the features you need to succeed, without breaking the bank.
Here are some key features of our software for fun runs, jog-a-thons and walks:
- We make sure that registration is easy.
- You can also import participants – some schools like to import all students.
- Leaderboards and fundraising thermometers that help to motivate your participants
- Flat-rate and per unit (ie lap or mile) pledges are accepted with our Athon system
- Easy entry of off-line donations and checks
- Prize management system that offers easy reporting & prize widgets
- Comprehensive data collection and reporting
- Free pricing options!
Maximize Funds with Jog-a-thon & Fun Run Fundraising Ideas
Sponsors can greatly alleviate the burden of event costs, as well as give a surprisingly impactful push towards your fundraising goals. Preparing to bring aboard sponsors is essential to making sure that you have long-lasting relationships with your sponsors and supporters.
Tiered Sponsorship Levels for Monetary Sponsors
When people and businesses are approached about becoming prospective sponsors, what differentiates between the two is that businesses typically want to know the publicity options and incentives that are available for their support. With fun runs typically attracting larger than usual crowds because of their novelty, there are many opportunities that can benefit a corporate/business sponsor from the fun run itself. Consider offering different levels of sponsorships, where the more money they donate, the more incentives become available. Some incentives can include the following:
- Advertisements: Consider the different locations where the sponsor’s logo can be exposed to the runners and event supporters. For example, if you have a step-and-repeat backdrop for people to take photos, offer the larger sponsors of $1,000 or more an opportunity to include their logo on the backdrop (so it appears in every photo taken). Your school website provides another place for sponsorship promotion. Another incentive is to allow sponsors to set-up a table at the event and hand out free giveaways and promotional materials.
- Speaking Slots: For higher-level sponsors, speaking slots can be a great way for them to reach out to prospective clients or customers. A 1-2 minute slot when announcing raffle prizes or winners is another great incentive for sponsors.
- Social Media Mentions: While ramping up towards the event, an option for social media content can include mentioning sponsors and thanking them for their support, along with a blurb of what their business is about. This can include a post on social media platforms or an excerpt in newsletters.
While monetary donations are ideal, fun runs also require prizes, giveaways, and other materials to be successful. Consider asking for things that would otherwise cost money, such as donating the medals for the attendees or winners, giveaways to offer in goody bags, raffle prizes, and more. To give an extra touch of customization, accessories like sweatbands and t-shirts are also helpful in-kind donations to consider inquiring about.
Fun Run After-Party Fun
An after-party is a must, not only for raising money but for making the running event fun. Have local bands play and award prizes to the top fundraisers. Allow sponsors to showcase their wares at booths, which are also available for a fee. Local food trucks can come too – and donate a percentage of funds to your cause. This is your chance to shine and get your participants excited for next year.
How to Organize a Fun Run or Jog-a-thon
For all the in’s and out’s of a successful fun run, check out our blog: Organizing a Fun Run: Money Making Success in 13 Steps.