Hosting a swim-a-thon and exploring unique swim team fundraising ideas can be a great way to bring in extra funding for your swim team or swim club. Just like many other sports and team organizations, swim teams often find themselves in need of additional funds to help team members cover expenses for equipment, training tools, and travel expenses for competitions. Swim team fundraisers can also be great for improving current facilities, updating the pool, bleachers, and other facilities. Of course, you don’t have to be a swim team to host a swimming fundraiser. Schools and nonprofit organizations can also host swim-a-thons – you just need to know your audience and be sure to have a lifeguard on duty.
Below we’ve outlined some basic guidelines for hosting a swim-a-thon and included interesting swim team fundraising ideas.
How Do Swim-a-thon Fundraisers Work?
A swim-a-thon is a swim team fundraising event designed to raise money for swim teams and clubs. A swim-a-thon is a peer-to-peer fundraiser (p2p) that works just like a walk-a-thon fundraising event, however, participants collect pledges and donations for swimming rather than walking. This concept seems to work well for swim teams because team members are able to earn funds and entertain the community while doing what they love to do the most… swim! Participants agree to swim for a set amount of time such as 30 minutes to one hour. During that time the goal for each participant is to swim as many laps as possible. A maximum number of laps may be established. Team members may collect pledges per completed pool lap they swim with our Athon platform, or donors may also choose to donate a set amount.
Collecting Swimathon Donations
An online p2p crowdfunding campaign is essential to raising money with a swim-a-thon fundraiser. Crowdfunding websites make it easy for your swimmers and coaches to share their fundraising page and get donations from friends and family. Some key features of our peer to peer software include:
- Personal & Team Fundraising pages are the heart of the system. Each participant has a personalized page with images, videos, their mission statement, a Donate Now button, a fundraising thermometer and social media (Facebook and Twitter) links.
- Participants can send out an email or social media donation request to friends and family members, which includes a link to their personal page. Making it easy for potential donors to contribute via online and mobile giving is key.
- Team & Individual Registration: All participants can easily create or join teams. Teams could be arranged by age group, swim club, school, or another group.
- Prize Management: Track multiple award levels and print reports to easily distribute prizes. When participants reach a certain fundraising level, they get a prize widget on their personal fundraising page.
- Reporting Capabilities: Always be able to check the progress of your online registration and fundraising goals in real-time so that you can plan that extra push to promote your event strategically.
- Product sales – Sell swim caps, water bottles, after-party tickets, and other related swimathon products on an online store.
Encourage healthy competition to motivate participants to raise more donations by providing incentives and prizes (think swim gear, gift cards, electronics) for the top fundraisers. Read more on how our software helps you encourage your peer-to-peer participants to fundraise.
DoJiggy’s Crowdfunding Software Makes Hosting Swim-a-thon Fundraisers Easy
Swimming Fundraising Ideas & Variations
There are a lot of variations that you can plan as part of your swim team fundraising event to encourage teamwork and add an extra element of excitement. The creative options are endless – just have fun!
- Arrange participants into teams and offer awards for the team that swims the most laps during the event.
- Add a twist to your swim-a-thon and host a swim-a-thon relay. A relay removes the pressure from one individual as team members alternate laps, giving them a short break to catch their breath between turns and encourages teamwork.
- Coaches can participate in the fundraising event and the coach can even swim for a team or relay.
- Swimathons are popular high school fundraisers but don’t forget that a swim-a-thon can be created for any level or age group of swimmers. If you are raising funds to help support development for a children’s learn-to-swim program, your swim-a-thon event can be based around laps swam by kids on kick-boards, or the amount of time spent treading water.
- Dive teams could create dive-a-thon events in which divers are challenged to execute a number of different dives in a specified amount of time.
Hosting a Swimathon After Party
Swim-a-thons are great fundraisers because not only are they bringing money in to support the swim team or club, but they also provide an opportunity for teams to interact in a fun, social environment while increasing community awareness. Some organizations choose to make an entire event out of their swim team fundraiser and this allows you to raise even more money. Following the actual swimming event attendees and participants are invited to a community picnic or BBQ. Food and drinks are donated by local businesses and tickets are sold. Perhaps a local band or DJ is interested in performing in support of your cause.
There are a number of additional activities that can be included as part of your Swimathon event such as a fundraising raffle or charity auction where local businesses donate gift certificates, goods and services to auction off as prizes at the event. Raffle tickets can be sold during the swim-a-thon and the winners announced at the social gathering, along with awards for the top performing swimmers.
Recruiting Swimathon Sponsors
Another great way to bring in funds for your swim group is to look for local business or corporate sponsorships. Businesses are often looking for ways to engage with the local community by supporting a noble cause. Use your networks to reach out to businesses and encourage their participation by becoming an official sponsor of the swim-a-thon through a tax-deductible donation. Offer benefits such as recognition in event programs, on the club website, and in signs placed around the pool. In addition, a company can choose to sponsor a student by matching the amount of donations the student will raise. Ask sponsors to help spread the word about your fundraising event by posting announcements on bulletin boards, special mentions on websites and encouraging employees to get involved. Lastly, be sure to thank your sponsors for their contributions! If they feel appreciated there’s a good chance they could come on board as a sponsor again in future years.
Other Crowdfunding Resources for Swim-a-thons
For additional information about hosting a swim-a-thon or other peer-to-peer fundraising event, visit our Walk-a-thon resources. There are a number of guidelines and templates to assist you in your planning efforts including sample walk-a-thon flyers, pledge forms, and tips to help you recruit event sponsors and create a sample press release to promote your fundraising event.
See also our blog on Charity Swimming Events Create a Splash.