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Thon Fundraiser

There is an appropriate fundraising thon event for every organization. While events vary widely, the basic means of raising funds is pretty much the same.  Participants collect pledges from family and friends - either a flat fee or so much per "x" that they complete during the event. Companies may also sponsor the event - especially if it relates to their business.  Organizations often make additional funds selling refreshments, advertising and souvenirs. We have included a variety thons below to give you some ideas. As you can see, all are not athletic events.

DIY Thon Fundraiser         DIY Thon Fundraiser 4       DIY Thon Fundraiser 5       DIY Thon Fundraiser 6

The Valley Forge Patriot Band holds a Fundraising wash-a-thon every year.  It is a pledge car wash where the kids receive a per car pledge or flat donation.  Car wash is free -- we just try to get the numbers up.  Payout is based on the number of cars washed by the entire marching band.

A Fundraising Bowl-A-Thon is fun and raises lots of money. Participants get sponsored by pin, collects donations, or both. Lanes are rented at a local bowling alley for the event. Each participant pays for their bowling and their shoe rental. Event organizers may decide to provide snacks and drinks for the bowlers. Each participant bowls three games. Prizes can be awarded for things like highest score, lowest score, most strikes, etc. One group that ran this event purchased old sports trophies from a thrift store and made new labels for each to give as prizes, as well as giving prizes donated by local businesses such as clothing items and gift certificates. After the event, participants collect from their sponsors according to their bowling scores. For example, if they bowled a total of 300 points for 3 games, and someone sponsored them for 1 cent per pin, the sponsor would own them $3. It is best to encourage sponsors to pledge 5 cents or 10 cents a pin.  Kristina, Las Vegas

The St. Thomas men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams have an annual Fundraising Swim-A-Thon to raise money for the American Cancer Society.  Members of the swim teams collect donations from students and other members of the St. Thomas Community.

More than 400 students at East Lake Elementary School in Massapequa Park participated in the annual Fundraising Math-a-Thon to benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Students in first through sixth grade raised $15,010 by obtaining sponsors and completing a booklet of math problems.

The Putnam County Skate-park Committee sponsored its annual Fundraising Skate-a-thon for the skate park project. The committee created a 40-by-40 yard street course for skateboarders, BMX bikers and in-line skaters to enjoy throughout the day. All participants collected donations in order to skate the course.  Participants were encouraged to sell squares of concrete. It took $60 to make a square and for every square bought that day, participants received 10 prize tickets to spend as money on items to win.  Twenty skateboarding manufacturers and BMX bike companies provided merchandise to give as prizes. The biggest prize was a complete skateboarding deck .

Katy Prairie Conservancy conducted a Fundraising Christmas Bird Count-a-thon Fundraiser (CBC-a-thon) in which birders around the world catalogue as many species as they can find in a 24-hour period. Pledges were made per species observed January 1st on the Katy Prairie (or a flat amount). The CBC-a-thon Fundraiser brings in donations that assist KPC in identifying, protecting, and maintaining property for future generations. KPC also uses these funds to sponsor free tours and workdays to introduce the public to the beauty and diversity of the Katy Prairie and the need to preserve it.

The Maclary Elementary School in Newark  participated in the National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society annual Fundraising Read-A-Thon. Students in grades one through four raised $6,332.73 by collecting donations from friends and family who pledged either a flat donation per book read or a certain amount of money for each page the child read. Students were treated to free pizza for their accomplishment at a celebration lunch. The school staff worked the curriculum into the challenge as well, by asking the students to complete a writing prompt earlier in the year. Students were instructed to write a persuasive essay or motivational piece aimed at convincing the Principal and Administrative Intern to color their hair blue for the day as a reward of sorts for students who participated. Students came up with lots of creative reasons, and they got their wish.

The lawn outside Oklahoma City University’s Dulaney-Brown Library was transformed into a shantytown as students built shacks out of recycled material and duct tape for the annual Fundraising Shack-A-Thon fundraiser. Proceeds from the event went toward the OCU Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapter’s goal of raising $30,000 to build their own Habitat house by 2004. Teams of up to six people competed to build the most creative shack, with members of the Oklahoma City University faculty and staff judging the contest. At least three members of each team were required to stay in their shacks overnight—rain or shine.

Each spring, the University of Washington Arboretum invites the Northwest Girl choir to participate in a Fundraising Weed-A-Thon to help beautify the park. Choristers take this opportunity to seek sponsors’ donations to help them finance their tours and retreats. Participants request flat donation from supporters - not pledges.

The Novato Riptide Swim Team held its annual Fundraising Lap-A-Thon fundraiser to help pay for the many costs of running the team, such as ribbons, trophies, special events and supplies. Participants gathered pledges from family, friends and neighbors with either a pledge per lap they swam or a flat donation. Each swimmer had a maximum of 2 hours to swim and/or kick as many laps as they can. No fins were allowed.  Participants enjoyed an ice cream sundae after their swim with the number of toppings determined by the number of laps swum.

The Dickinson State University speech and debate team has plenty to talk about these days. They better, because they needed it for their Fundraising Talk-a-thon fundraiser to help the team, the Dickinson Pet Project, and the local chapter of the American Red Cross. The marathon of elocution included some of the team’s regular material from competition, including poetry, communication analysis, duo, prose and programmed oral interp pieces. The Talk-a-thon was free of charge, although a freewill offering was accepted to raise money for the various charities.

Ferry Beach Ecology School staff, board members, and community volunteers canoed from Factory Island in Saco down-river to the Camp Ellis Fishing Docks as part of FBES's bi-annual Fundraising Canoe-a-Thon fundraising event.  As canoers paddled with the ebbing tide, they scoured the banks of the Saco River in search of trash and other unexpected finds.  During previous canoe-a-thons they hauled in an old refrigerator, lots of unmatched shoes, and a fair share of old tires and fishing lures.  This spring's best finds included a vinyl seat from an old boat, lots of Styrofoam and plastic, enough balls of various sizes to equip an entire rec field, and the prize of the day was an abandoned old row boat.

The Isla Center for the Arts held an Fundraising Art-a-thon to highlight the best works submitted by the nearly 2,000 island students who participated. The works were matted and framed and beautifully hung. Trophies were awarded to the best in Elementary, the best in Middle and the Best in High School; a special Director's Choice trophy went to the work selected to be on next year's Art-a-thon poster.  When the show closed, the framed works were returned to the artists who could then proudly display them at home. This year's Art-a-thon raised $74,079 and half of the profits, or $29,631 of that, was returned right back to the classrooms so that teachers could use the money to purchase art supplies for their students.  In this way, the kids and teachers that worked together could share in the bounty together. About 2,000 students from 31 public and private schools on island took part in this year's Art-a-thon, with each student collecting, on average, about $37.00.

The About Face Hair Design Fundraising Cut-a-Thon was held to help raise money for MS research. Participants included more than a dozen massage therapists, manicurists, stylists, and beauty assistants are all donating their time and skills by offering half-hour hair cuts, massages, and manicures for a minimum contribution of $20 per 30-minute service.

We have included a number of do-it-yourself fundraising ideas in this section that offer a break from traditional product sales.  They were developed by groups just like yours in an attempt have a little fun with their fundraiser. Some of them are tried and true while others show a lot of creativity ... and even wackiness in some cases.  All of them are obviously not appropriate for every group, but sometimes, with only a little modification, your might find some fund raising ideas that are perfect for your group. If you have an idea for a do-it-yourself fund raiser you are willing to share with others, please send it to us via email. Include anything and everything you would want to know if you were hearing the idea for the first time.