Looking for a healthy fundraising idea that has proven to be successful for schools time and time again? School Fun Runs and Walkathons are the perfect school fundraiser!
DoJiggy has all of the tools you need to succeed – without breaking the bank. We never take a percentage of your donations, unlike most of our competitors. Try our school walkathon software today with a free trial and let us help your school or Parent Teacher Organization succeed in raising (and keeping) more money this year.
How to Organize a School Fun Run or Walk
We have helped hundreds of schools successfully raise money with fun run events. With a dedicated team, you can do it too. Here are the basic steps to successfully organize a school walk-a-thon or fun run fundraiser.
Step 1: Assemble a Fun Run Leadership Team
Don’t even try to go it alone. Successful school walk-a-thon and Fun Run events hinge on the recruitment and action of a strong leadership team. Ideally your team should be comprised of teachers, staff and parents – individuals with diverse skills and talents that share a common interest in the event’s success.
Step 2: Determine Fun Run/Walkathon Logistics & Financial Goals
Your leadership team will need to determine the date and location of your event as soon as possible in the planning process. To ensure the success of your fundraising run/walk, be sure to give yourselves enough time to manage all of the logistics. You generally want to have at least 6 months to plan a school walkathon, though we’ve seen many that are pulled off in just three months time.
Don’t forget to determine financial goals and create a fundraising budget to help you get there.
- Determine the date and time for the walk.
- Where will the Fun Run be located? At the school is best, if you have the space.
- What are your fundraising goals?
- Is there a special theme? Fun run themes such as Disney Runs or Color Runs can increase excitement and participation in your fundraiser.
Step 3: Utilize School Fun Run & Walk-a-thon Software
This is the key! Using peer-to-peer software allows students to easily raise funds online for your school, via their network of family and friends. No more going door to door or counting stacks of money.
Features of our School Fun Run platform include:
- Walkers/runners have their own fundraising page where friends and family make secure donations, view fundraising progress and more
- Classrooms or grade levels have fundraising pages which include all participants’ combined fundraising progress
- Fundraising thermometers, Leaderboards and top fundraisers are tracked and displayed on your website (if desired) to promote competition between your participants and help you raise more
- Privacy features are enabled, so that last names do not show on your walk website and student pages are not indexed in Google
- Off-line donations and checks are easily tracked and entered from a walk-a-thon pledge form to the software, at no additional cost
- Administrators can import students or enable the easy registration for schools page
- We support per unit of effort pledges for laps or other specified unit (miles, kilometers, obstacles)
Many schools report raising two to three times as much by taking their school Fun Run or walkathon online with us! Try out our peer-to-peer software for your school’s Run/Walk/Ride fundraiser today.
Step 4: Don’t Forget the Prizes & Incentives
The success of your event will be determined in how motivated your students are. Kids love prizes of all kinds and will work hard to earn even very small prizes. We recommend that Fun Run prizes are structured in this way to encourage everyone to participant and not leave anyone behind:
- Participation – Students receive a small prize (ie pencil, sticker or choice from a treasure box of small items) for registering as a walker on your crowdfunding website.
- $100 or Other Attainable Level – Students receive a free t-shirt, hat or other memorabilia or school spirit award when they reach this level of fundraising. Some schools also include a raffle option here; anyone reaching the goal is entered into a raffle for prizes.
- Top Student Fundraisers – The top three school fundraisers receive large prizes, like $50 and $100 gift cards.
- Classroom with 100% Participation – When everyone in the classroom has registered or collected at least one donation, students receive extra recess or dress down day. These are free prizes that do not cost your school any money, but are very popular with kids.
- Top Fundraising Classrooms – For the top one or two fundraising classrooms, students receive a pizza party or similar luncheon event.
Step 5: Recruit Volunteers for the Big Day
Parental buy in is key to your fun run’s success. You’ll need parents to help students register and get donations, and also to help out the day of the Fun Run. The good news is that if you have clearly stated your fundraising goals and objectives, parents will be excited, too.
Here are some key volunteer positions to fill for race day:
- Volunteer Coordinator – As you organize a fun run, make one person on your planning committee responsible for managing volunteers at the Run. This position is critical – so choose someone who can handle the pressure. As volunteers arrive, the coordinator makes assignments and gives instructions to those who will help with:
- Safety and First Aid
- Lap counters or timers
- Food and water for your runners
- Distributing prizes
What’s So Great About School Fun Runs & Walk-a-thons?
As parents and educators, we are interested in teaching children about how physical activity and a healthy lifestyle can contribute to overall self-esteem, productivity, and enjoyment of life. In our society today there is a tendency for children to make unhealthy choices… eating fast-food, playing video games, and not getting enough exercise. This is a constant topic in the news and a concern with educational institutions and parents. For that reason, we encourage educators and parents to continue to look for opportunities that send the message of the importance of building an overall healthy lifestyle. Cookie dough, chocolate bar and candy fundraisers just don’t do that.
This is one reason why school walk-a-thons and Fun Runs have become so popular. Of course there are many other reasons Parent Teacher Organizations (PTOs) and administrators choose walkathons for fundraising events. Not only do walkathons and Fun Runs combine exercise (whether running, walking, skipping, or rolling) and fun for all participants, but they also provide the opportunity to generate significant income without high overhead costs. School Fun Runs are especially great for sports teams and elementary school fundraising, as they support health and wellness, school spirit, and encourage teamwork.
A school walkathon fundraiser or School Fun Run can bring the entire community together. Local businesses get involved though sponsorship of the race and setting up information booths at the after-party. (See our resources on how to get sponsors to support a walkathon.) Parents and volunteers in the community donate their time to help with event details such as soliciting in-kind donations, setting up the race day pit-stops and hosting the kick-off and post-event celebration, where local restaurants and entertainers can also get involved. If your event is a family or community event, don’t forget to include extra opportunities to raise money for your school- maybe a fundraising raffle, silent auction or bake sale.
Walk-a-thon Alternatives Are Also Popular School Fundraising Events
Looking for something like a walk-a-thon or Fun Run for your school, but want to make it a unique experience for your students? We have some unique fundraising ideas for you. All of these can be run as school crowdfunding events, where your students raise money.
- Many groups 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 Fun Run 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 for middle school and high school fundraising events.
- Dance marathons or all nigh dance parties are fun high school fundraising events where donors can pledge for the amount of time danced.
- School service projects or serve-a-thons raise money while offering service to the community. These are often run in conjunction with a local non-profit organization.
- Read-a-thons and reading fundraisers teach literacy and a love of learning, while raising much needed school funds.
More Walkathon and School Fundraising Resources
DoJiggy is the leader in software and free resources for School walk-a-thons and School Fun Runs. See more of our Walkathon Resources and check out great fundraisers for schools or PTA Fundraising Ideas for more inspiration.