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8 Ways To Make Your “Athon” Fundraiser More Profitable and Fun

Ways To Make Your “Athon” Fundraiser More Profitable and Fun

Whether you’re doing a color run, a danceathon, or a straight-up fun run, these tips can help you earn more money and enjoy the process more, too.


Anyone can do a fun run—but you can do it right! Try these top tips to earn more money while making your -athon fundraiser more fun for everyone!

Choose a theme.

Center your fundraiser around a theme, with promotional materials, T-shirts, a fundraising logo, and incentives all tied in. For example, a “Run Around the World” theme (travel) could have a logo featuring students circling a globe, incorporate lessons about accepting different cultures, and have students receive a “passport” stamp for each lap completed.


Go big with a schoolwide kickoff.

An all-school assembly is fun for students, plus it gets them excited right from the first day.

Fun Run Kickoff


Talk it up.

The more you promote, the more you’ll raise! Create a special logo just for your event, and use it on all your promotional materials. PTO Today Plus members can also get a fun run flyer customized with your event info as part of your Plus membership. (Not a Plus member yet? Learn more about Plus.)

Fun Run Themes


Get students excited.

Everything starts with motivating students! Encourage them through special experiences, collectible toys, and other team-style rewards. Don’t worry—incentives don’t always have to cost more money—like asking the principal to become a “human sundae” when students have achieved the fundraising goal.

Fun Run Prizes


Support teachers.

From encouraging student participation through in-class competition to promoting your event in communications with parents, teachers can make a huge difference in the success of your -athon fundraiser.

Support Teachers During Athon Fundraising


Break out the tunes.

Don’t forget music at your event! It’ll transform your ho-hum -athon into a fun -athon. No need to hire an expensive DJ; tap a parent (or even a student’s older sibling) who always knows the latest hits to create a 30- to 40-minute playlist. Use it at the kickoff, over the PA system each morning, and at each round of promoting your fundraiser.

Use Music at Your Athon Fundraiser
Sergey Maksimov/123RF


Go digital.

Take your fundraiser online to get even more donations, from family and friends near and far. You could earn up to double or triple the amount by doing so!



Change it up.

Alternate themes and types of -athons each season or year—if you do a fun run in fall, for example, try a reading challenge in winter or a danceathon in spring. This keeps your fundraising goals consistent with active students, educational fundraising, and community engagement so that there’s interest in participating season after season.

Change Up Your Fun Run Themes and Ideas


Originally posted in 2019 and updated regularly.

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