Whether you’re calling it a fun run, walk-a-thon, or jog-a-thon, the concept is the same. Students gather pledges from family, friends, and neighbors; these financial gifts can be one flat donation or based on the performance of the student they are supporting.
Jog-a-thons combine fundraising, health, and community in a single event. You can make themed runs with costumes or even make them messy with colorful powders and host a Color Run. The goal is to entice students, teachers, and others in the community—building school spirit while fundraising for your school.
That leaves us with one question, how do you plan a fun run fundraiser? Although it takes time, AIM is here to help jog you through it.
Choosing Your Jog-a-Thon Date, Time, and Location
When choosing dates and times you’ll want to start by looking at your local calendar. Are there other events in your area that will conflict with your fun run? For example, if a parade is going to occur that same day, you may lose out on attendees. Has a similar event recently taken place or will soon take place? If another jog-a-thon is marked at a similar time as yours, you may want to make a change so your participants aren’t tired out. Even other school events could cut your attendance or volunteer numbers. Avoiding these conflicts can help your fundraiser gain a higher turnout.
Choosing the location of your fundraiser is just as important as the date. Your location should be accessible to students and school staff. Therefore your own school grounds is usually the best option. If your school is unavailable for any reason, perhaps a city park or running trail would be a suitable replacement.
Many schools host their jog-a-thon during school hours on school grounds. This skyrockets attendance and helps grow the student body excitement. Teachers may be nervous to lose time from their daily lessons; hosting the event earlier on in the semester or after major testing can help ease this stress.
Fun Run Permits and Insurance
Once your Parent Teacher Group has chosen a date and location, you can begin acquiring any permission or permits you need. If you’re having the event on school grounds, you can get permission from your principal. If you decided on a public park or other property you will have to go through your city authorities.
For nearly any event you’ll be required to get a permit. To do so, it’s likely that you will need proof of insurance. For en event like this, we recommend General Liability. This will cover medical expenses if someone were to sue the Parent Teacher Group for their injury at your event. Sprained ankles or nasty falls are common jog-a-thon injuries that could cost your group. If you plan on selling fundraising merchandise, having a popcorn machine, snow cone machine and/or other Parent Teacher Group property, you may also want to look into Property Insurance as well.
Depending on which permits you need, it can take a long time for you to get permission from the city for your event. Doing this first and as early as possible is key to your success. After your group has been given permission to use the area you can start planning your fun run in more detail.
This fundraiser may confuse donors because they get nothing physical in return for their money. Without goods, people may not be sure how much they should donate. Crunch the numbers on your expenses for the event so you can set a reasonable goal. How many students does your school have? How much would each have to bring in for this event to be successful? You can then advertise this goal to students and parents.
What might you need to take into consideration when planning your fun run budget?
– Fundraising goals
– Food and drinks
– Pledge forms
– Costumes (for a themed fun)
– Color bags (for a Color Run)
If you’re not sure your event will raise enough, you may be able to cut back on some expenses or even ask local businesses for sponsorships.
The Day of Your Fun Run
Without the bells and whistles, your fun run should go something like this: A short assembly to get students, teachers, and parents excited about the run. Participants will likely run by grade level and each class or homeroom will be a team. Your physical education teacher or coach can lead everyone in a short warm-up before the race and a cool down at the end.
Once students start their run, walk, or jog you’ll need to count their laps for the pledges. A couple of easy ways to do this is by using a washable marker or stamp and marking student’s hands each time they pass the lap counter. Or you can place a rubber band on their arm for each lap, then count them up at the end of the race.
Although this is a fundraiser of speed and endurance, you don’t want to let students run for too long. A 15-20 minute race is a good stopping point. After the cool-down stretches, your parent Teacher Group can provide water and snacks for students before they return to their classrooms.
AIM is here to help your organization succeed. Check out our other blogs for fundraising inspiration, tips, PTA, PTO, or Booster Club guidance, and more!