How to Plan a Thon Fundraiser
Get fit, get moving and get raising! “Fund” raising that is! Thon fundraisers are a great way to raise funds and promote healthy lifestyles through excercise and environmentally friendly travel.
“Thon” fundraisers can be anything from a bike-a-thon, to a read-a-thon, to a bowl-a-thon, and they’re a great way to raise funds for almost any nonprofit organization.
Unless you’re working with a major organization or city council, chances are you won’t be organizing anything as large as, say, Relay for Life, or the Boston Marathon, but a school group, sports team, or any other group can easily organize a small-scale “thon” fundraiser, and cash in on a big fundraising moneymaker.
Let’s say you’re organizing a bike-a-thon for a school group. Here are the steps you might take to organize your bike-a-thon fundraiser:
Find a location
If your school has a track, or other large, bike-able area, you can easily have your bike-a-thon there.
If you don’t have such an area, find a building or business that has one, and ask them to donate the space to you for that day, or ask the city to reserve a space for you.
If your city has a bike trail, and you have a small group of bikers, with enough adult volunteers to go along, you can use also use that.
Organize Your Volunteers
The number of volunteers you’ll need will depend entirely on how many participants are in your group, what the age range is, and where the event is being held.
Gather your volunteers, and distribute tasks well in advance of your fundraiser. Consider taking everyone to the event location to run through what will be expected, and make sure every area of the location will be well supervised.
Set the Date
If your school is willing to grant participating students a day out of classes, a weekday might be best since the students will already be at the school, and you won’t have to coordinate travel. Another option is to hold the event in the afternoon, after school hours. If a weekend is best for you, be sure to choose a day when everyone can attend.
Most importantly, schedule your event so that your group will have at least 2 weeks notice prior to the fundraiser to actually do their fundraising.
Create a Buzz
The 2 most important elements of your fundraiser are participants and supporters. Create a buzz to get both participants and supporters involved with some energetic and exciting campaigning.
Create exciting fundraising flyers and posters and post them around school, around town, in local businesses, on community bulletin boards and anywhere else where people will see them.
You can even go online and set up a blog or website to promote your event, and be sure to send emails to friends, family, coworkers and colleagues, and anyone who would be willing to support your fundraiser.
Ask local businesses to donate prizes for your top-performing participants, or to raffle off at your event for an extra fundraising boost. You can also ask a local business to sponsor your event with a cash donation, or by matching the money raised by your group.
In exchange, allow businesses to advertise at your event, and/or in any printed materials you distribute for your fundraiser as official sponsors of your group.
Raise Some Funds!
Students and their parents can ask friends, family, coworkers and neighbors to support your fundraiser with a flat donation, or by pledging the student a certain amount for every lap around the track, or hour of biking time.
You can also use a donation fundraising product like Scratchcards that make it fun and easy for your group to collect donations.
If your event is being held in a public area, and you’re expecting a good turnout, you can raise more funds on the actual day of your bike-a-thon by collecting donations or selling snacks and cold drinks.
A Few Quick Tips
– Getting local sponsors and reserving a location can take time, so start working on these a few months in advance
– A bike-a-thon is a great summer fundraiser, but remember that your group will need to stay hydrated, so have plenty of water on hand. Read this article for more summer fundraising tips
– Motivating your group is key before and during your fundraiser, and the best way to do that is with a positive, and encouraging attitude.