School Fun Runs and School Walkathons
Get Students Going to Raise Money for Your School
Our P2P Fun Run Software Makes It Easy to Raise More
Students and Classrooms Have Their Own Fundraising Pages & Thermometers
School Fun Runs
Looking for an easy, healthy fundraising idea for schools? School Fun Runs® and walkathons are the perfect school fundraiser.
DoJiggy has the tools your school needs to succeed. Students and classrooms have personal fundraising pages to share via email and social media. Secure mobile donations are made directly to your school with little effort. Try our simple school Fun Run and walkathon software today, 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 Fun Run team, you can do it too. Here are the basic steps to successfully organize a school walk-a-thon or fun run fundraiser. And yes, you can even host a virtual fun run with our websites.
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 team will determine the date and location of your event early in the planning process. To ensure the success of your school fundraising run/walk, allow plenty of time to manage logistics. You generally want four to six months to plan a school walkathon, though we’ve seen many pulled off in two to three months. Determine financial goals and create a fundraising budget to help you get there.
- Determine the date and time for the School fun run/walk.
- Where will the Fun Run be located? At the school is best if you have an appropriate space.
- What are your fundraising goals?
- Is there a special theme? Creating 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
Peer-to-peer crowdfunding software allows students to easily raise funds online for their 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:
- Participants have their fundraising page where friends and family make secure donations, view fundraising progress, and more
- Classrooms or grade levels have fundraising pages that include all participants’ combined fundraising progress
- Gamification elements such as 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 walkathon pledge form to the software at no additional cost
- Administrators can import students or enable easy, free registration for schools
- We support per unit of effort pledges for laps or other specified units (miles, kilometers, obstacles)
Many schools report raising two to three times more by taking their school Fun Run or walkathon online with us!
Try our free peer to peer software for your school’s Run/Walk/Ride fundraiser today.
Step 4: Don’t Forget the Prizes and Incentives
The success of your event will be determined by how motivated your students are to fundraise. Kids love prizes of all kinds and will work hard to earn even a very small incentive award. We recommend that Fun Run prizes are structured in this way to reach your fundraising goal while encouraging everyone to participate:
- 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 fun run t-shirt, hat, or other memorabilia or school spirit award when they reach this level of fundraising. Some schools also include a raffle option; 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 – Students receive a pizza party or similar luncheon event for the top one or two fundraising classrooms.
Step 5: Recruit Volunteers for the Race Day
Parental buy-in is another key to your fun run’s success. You’ll need parents to help students register, get donations, and volunteer on event day. Clearly state your fundraising goals and objectives to get parents excited.
As you organize a fun run, make one person on the planning committee responsible for managing volunteers at the Run. This Volunteer Coordinator 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 key volunteer positions:
- Safety and first aid
- Lap counters or timers
- Food and water for your runners
- Distributing prizes
- Clean up crew
Walk-a-thon Themes Add to the Fun
Adding a theme to your school walk-a-thon or Fun Run can make the event more engaging and fun for your participants. Create a signature fundraising event that students will look forward to each year, with a walk-a-thon theme!
Dog walkathons can add a lot of fun to your event. Students bring their canine companions (on leashes!) and walk with them. Make sure that everyone is safe and feels comfortable, you have plenty of water for the humans and dogs, and your course is pet-friendly. A dog walk is a perfect theme when raising funds for animal shelters and advocacy groups for animals. Read more about how to organize dog walks.
Color Runs make great school crowdfunding events. The Fun Run is done by adding packets of colorful powders at registration and for spectators. The students wear white to start and enjoy the day with bursts of colors they can do with what they wish. Learn more about organizing one with this Fundraising with a Color Run article.
Another fun walk idea to consider is a pajama walk or onesie run. The kids gear up in their pajamas before the event begins. Onesies have recently made a comeback in style and can be a fun idea for young ones and adults together. A more easily accessible outfit can be pajamas. Event names like Pajama Jamboree or Pajama Jog roll with the theme well.
Night Light Walks
Consider this idea as a high school party that happens to be on a run to the finish line. The event typically has a DJ playing high-energy music, and participants are given glow sticks to use and enjoy on their walk. Participation in this event draws camaraderie by costume, where walkers can upgrade their outfits for extra pizzazz with glow-in-the-dark socks, shoelaces, body paint, and clothing.
You guessed it! These are school walks that take place on or around the Thanksgiving holiday. This is the time of year when everyone wants to give back and connect with others. Turkey Trots are fun community events and let’s face it, we can all use a little extra exercise around Thanksgiving. Turkey Trots can be successfully incorporated with #GivingTuesday fundraising campaign kick-offs.
TV Show-Themed or Movie-Themed Fun Runs
Another great option for school walk-a-thon themes is to design an event 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 walkathon website to get participants excited. Include costume contests with prizes for the best dressed kids.
A fun walk fundraiser for the younger crowd and elementary school fundraising is a Disney-Themed walk-a-thon. Parents and kids can get their best Elsa or Aladdin costumes and run with the enthusiasm of Moana singing out at sea. Disney attire is not limited to just the princess or new movies but can also involve the classics – like Mickey Mouse or Minnie Mouse ears.
Should you need a fundraising walk or run during the wintertime, it’s only 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 participants join in costume as Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, or elves and Santa helpers. You can also do a Jingle Bell Jog, where everything from holiday sweaters to Christmas-themed costumes counts as an outfit.
Late spring walkathons can get pretty hot. Why not add a cooling aspect to the run/walk with water guns? Include a small water gun with registration so everyone can join in the fun. What’s great here is that the event can have added activities, like water slides, water balloon tosses, and water sprinklers on the side or at the after-party, for participants and spectators alike to join in the water fun.
Halloween Costume Walkathons
Halloween walk-a-thons can be good, spooky fun! If your school fundraiser is happening around Halloween, why not go with the flow of the theme and make it a costume walk? Everyone will get in the spirit. Hosting the best costume contest for participants is a great way to end the walk. School fun runs and walks are often held in the fall, making this a great school fundraising option.
Zombies are everywhere, from shows like Walking Dead and iZombie to movies like Dawn of the Dead. Then there’s the ever-classic music video, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Becoming a zombie can be a fun idea for your walkathon fundraising effort. School staff will also enjoy this one! Sell related items and offer games supporting the theme, especially around Halloween.
Walk for a Cure
Walk for a Cure events aim to raise funds for breast cancer research and awareness. This is a great event for students to learn about philanthropy and being part of a community. Select a charitable organization that works with breast cancer survivors to receive part of the funds raised. Provide pink ribbons for all and sell pink accessories at the walk and on your online store.
What’s So Great About School Fun Runs & School Walk-a-thons?
As parents and educators, we are interested in teaching children 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 like eating fast food, playing video games, and not getting enough exercise. This is a constant topic in the news and a concern for educational institutions and parents. Therefore, we encourage educators and parents to continue looking for opportunities that convey 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 (PTO or PTA) 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 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 by sponsoring 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, charity auction, or bake sale.
Fun Run and 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.
- We see a lot of schools incorporating an obstacle course fundraiser with the fun run for middle school and high school fundraising events.
- Dance marathons or all-night 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 nonprofit organization.
- Bike-a-thons or stationary spin-a-thons are great fast-paced school fundraisers.
- 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 for more inspiration.