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LATEST FROM OUR BLOG

Thank You Letter Template for Business Donors

Thank You Letter Template for Business Donors

Create genuine and effective thank-you letters for business donors to your school fundraisers. Use this template from FutureFund to get started, then send it out using our platform’s built-in messaging system.

How to Re-Engage Legacy Donors For Your PTA

How to Re-Engage Legacy Donors For Your PTA

Re-establish connection, maintain engagement, and more with this practical guide for re-engaging legacy donors for your PTa. Our team at FutureFund is here to help you understand the value of connecting with past donors and continuing those relationships.

How to Run a Chess-a-Thon Fundraiser

Chess-a-thons make for great fundraisers! Participants get to learn a new skill and fundraise all at the same time. Try a chess-a-thon the next time you’re fundraising for a school, extra-curricular program, or club.

Here, we’ll show you the A-Z of chess-a-thons, including planning, tracking donations, and ideas on how to organize and promote it.

Chess-a-Thon Guide Table of Contents

1

Step by Step Guide

Everything you need to know about starting a Chess-A-Thon, from A-Z.

2

Chess-a-Thon 101

A quick introduction to what a Chess-A-Thon is and how it works.

3

What is an "A-Thon" & How Does it Work?

Thon’s can be a powerful fundraising tool.

4

What do you need to run a Chess-a-Thon?

The tools, support, and volunteers you’ll need for a successful Chess-A-Thon.

5

Using a Chess-a-Thon to Fundraise

How to raise money with Chess-A-Thons.

6

Templates, Ideas, Tools, & Resources

Kickstart your Chess-A-Thon using curated templates and tools.

FutureFund is FREE for Schools

Schools that sign up get full access to all of FutureFund’s features—it’s always free and it always will be.

The Step-by-Step Guide to Running a Chess-a-Thon

Step One: Choose a Date & Theme

  • Choose the date of your Chess-A-Thon three months before the event begins. Chess-A-Thons can take place on a single day, or you can hold a longer event up to a month or so. Choose a date (or date range) that doesn’t conflict with other important events and plan for a time of year when people are unlikely to be away.
  • Make sure your PTA coordinates with the school ahead of time to find a space (like the library or a large classroom) that can accommodate the event.

Chess-A-Thon Planning Infographic and Checklist

Use these templates to keep your Chess-A-Thon planning on track:

Canva Chess-A-Thon Infographic

Canva Running a Chess-A-Thon Checklist

Step Two: Call for Volunteers

  • Put out a call for volunteers two months before the event. Use FutureFund’s built-in messaging system to reach the parents and volunteers most likely to participate.
  • Make sure your call for volunteers clearly states what cause or project the Chess-A-Thon will support.
  • Perform background checks for any volunteers who need to be on campus during the event (if required by your school).

Example Volunteer Positions for Chess-A-Thons

  • Event Coordinator: Oversees the entire Chess-A-Thon, including planning, execution, and post-event activities. Coordinates with the school, chess clubs, and other key stakeholders.
  • Registration Team: Manages the sign-up process for participants, including collecting entry fees if applicable, and distributing participation materials.
  • Chess Tournament Director: An experienced individual responsible for setting up tournament rules, pairing players, and ensuring fair play throughout the event.
  • Scorekeepers: Keep track of players’ results, update tournament standings, and assist the Tournament Director with organizing rounds.
  • Setup and Breakdown Crew: Responsible for setting up chess boards and timers before the event and cleaning up the venue afterward.
  • Photographers/Videographers: Captures moments from the event for future promotion and as keepsakes for participants.

Step Three: Choose Student Incentives

  • Incentives motivate students to register for your Chess-A-Thon and collect pledges. Each student should have a specific fundraising goal—usually between $100-$300.
  • It’s better to offer incentives to the class or group that wins the most matches collectively than to individual students, as this is a more cost-effective way to motivate groups and can also discourage unhealthy competition. Try an ice cream social or a pizza party for the best results.

Step Four: Create Your Chess-A-Thon’s Campaign

Use FutureFund to create a Pledge-A-Thon campaign and provide your campaign details.

Make sure your campaign has the following elements:

  • A clear and compelling event description and rules, including what the money raised will go towards and what the incentives will be for participating students.
  • A leaderboard that shows the grades and teachers for each participating class, along with how much each has raised. These are fully customizable in FutureFund, so you can create custom categories for each Chess-A-Thon.
  • A template students can use to collect pledges from members of the school community. FutureFund provides a sample template for this in all A-Thon campaigns, which you can modify to include the specific details of your event.

Sample Chess-A-Thon Rules Template

Here’s a Canva template of sample Chess-A-Thon rules. Click “Use template for new design” to create an editable version, then add custom information for your event, change fonts and graphics, and more!

Canva Chess-A-Thon Rules Template

Step Five: Announce the Event & Sign-Up Students

  • Send out an announcement of your Chess-A-Thon to the school community two weeks before the event begins and request that students sign up to participate.
  • Share the news in as many places as possible—use the school newsletter, morning announcements, and FutureFund’s messaging system to tell everyone why the event is important and how they can be part of it.
  • Use FutureFund to send follow-up messages every other day leading up to the event to encourage participation.
  • On the morning of the event, send out a final announcement to get the school community excited about the event and encourage them to keep offering support.
  • If your event lasts longer than a single day, send out updates every other day letting people know how close you are to reaching your funding goals

Sample Email for Student Sign-Ups

Subject: Join the Excitement of the [School Name] Chess-A-Thon!

Hello Students,

Prepare to showcase your chess skills in our annual Chess-A-Thon! This event is more than just a game; it’s a chance to challenge your mind, have fun, and support our beloved school.

Why should you join?

  • Engage in friendly chess matches and sharpen your strategy skills.
  • Help raise funds for [insert cause or school project].
  • Earn exciting rewards and recognition for your chess prowess.

How to Sign Up:

Joining is simple! Visit this link and follow the steps: [insert FutureFund link]. You’ll receive your own link to share with friends and family to gather pledges for each game you play.

Whether you’re a chess master or a beginner, this event is for everyone. Let’s unite in the spirit of competition and intellectual growth.

Ready, Set, Check,

[Your Name]

[School or Name of School Group]

You can also use this Canva template to keep a copy of your email script handy. Click “Use template for new design” to create an editable version, then add custom information for your event, change fonts and graphics, and more!

Canva Chess-A-Thon Student Sign-up Email Template

Sample Follow-Up Email to Donors

Subject: Your Contribution Makes a Difference – [School Name] Chess-A-Thon Update!

Dear [Donor’s Name],

As our Chess-A-Thon progresses, we extend our heartfelt thanks for your support. Your donation is empowering our students to think critically and strategically, and helping us achieve our goal of [insert specific goal or cause].

Here’s the latest update:

  • [Number of students] have registered to participate!
  • We’re [percentage] of the way to our fundraising target.

Remember, you can still support and promote our event through FutureFund at [insert link]. Your generosity plays a key role in our school’s success and is deeply appreciated by our entire community.

With sincere thanks,

[Your Name]

[School or Name of School Group]

You can also use this Canva template to keep a copy of your email script handy. Click “Use template for new design” to create an editable version, then add custom information for your event, change fonts and graphics, and more!

Canva Chess-A-Thon Donor Email Template

Sample Email for the Final Week Before the Chess-A-Thon

Subject: Final Moves Approaching in the [School Name] Chess-A-Thon!

Hello [Name of School] Students & Families!

We’re entering the final week of our Chess-A-Thon, and the anticipation is palpable! It’s been inspiring to see our students eagerly preparing for their matches.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Just one week left to secure your pledges! Last-minute donations are warmly welcomed to support our students via FutureFund at [insert link].
  • Join us on [Date] at [Location] for the event, and don’t miss our closing ceremony where we celebrate our players’ achievements and recognize top participants!

Let’s make this final push a success. Your enthusiasm and backing are making a significant impact on our school and in the lives of our students. Let’s end on a high note!

Your Move,

[Your Name]

[School or Name of School Group]

You can also use this Canva template to keep a copy of your email script handy. Click “Use template for new design” to create an editable version, then add custom information for your event, change fonts and graphics, and more!

Canva Final Week Push Chess-A-Thon Email Template

Templates for Promoting Your Chess-A-Thon

Here are some Canva templates to help you spread awareness for your Chess-A-Thon on social media and in your community! Click “Use template for new design” to create an editable version, then add custom information for your event, change fonts and graphics, and more!

Canva Chess-A-Thon Template for Instagram Story

Canva Chess-A-Thon Template for Instagram Post

Canva Chess-A-Thon Template for Printable Poster

Example caption: Support [insert school name]’s Chess-A-Thon from [insert date range]. Help our school community raise money for [insert cause] by registering to play as many matches as possible!

Step Six: Find Sponsors

Ask local businesses to sponsor the Chess-A-Thon. This can help your PTA reach your fundraising targets while business owners get exposure and positive PR.

Make sure to explain how each sponsor’s contribution will be recognized. For example, you could:

  • Hang a banner in the library with sponsor logos during the event.
  • Offer branded swag to participants.
  • Add sponsors to your school’s online store using FutureFund.

Types of Sponsorship:

  • Direct donations—either towards your fundraising goal or to help cover the costs of supplies and equipment.
  • Corporate matching is where a business makes a donation equal to all or a portion of the funds you raise from the community.
  • Selling sponsorships on FutureFund via advertising on your campaign page.

Step Seven: Host the Chess-A-Thon

Finally, the day of the event will arrive—and if you’ve followed all the steps above, you should have everything you need to make it a success. Here’s a sample schedule for a daily Chess-A-Thon event:

Note: for events taking place over more than one day, simply allocate a single period per day or week to playing the rounds and then take care of the post-event activities once the event has ended.

Morning Kickoff (8:00 AM - 9:00 AM)

  • Official launch announcement and welcome to all participants.
  • Gathering of students, volunteers, and teachers in the school’s designated area.
  • Overview of chess tournament rules and day’s schedule.

First Chess Session (9:00 AM - 10:30 AM)

  • Students begin their first round of chess games.
  • Volunteers available for guidance and to ensure fair play.

Mid-Morning Break (10:30 AM - 11:00 AM)

  • Short break for snacks and hydration.
  • Quick interactive chess puzzle or strategy session for engagement.

Second Chess Session (11:00 AM - 12:30 PM)

  • Continuation of chess games, moving into further rounds.
  • Ongoing monitoring and updating of player standings.

Lunch Break (12:30 PM - 1:30 PM)

  • Lunch period with healthy meal options.
  • Casual chess games or rest periods for participants.

Final Chess Rounds (1:30 PM - 3:00 PM)

  • Final rounds of chess games.
  • Last push for fundraising efforts, if applicable.

Closing Ceremony (3:00 PM - 4:00 PM)

  • Final round completion and tallying of results.
  • Announcement of tournament winners and total funds raised.
  • Distribution of awards and recognition for top fundraisers.

Post-Event Activities (4:00 PM - 5:00 PM)

  • Distribution of thank-you notes to participants and volunteers.
  • Clean up and debrief with volunteers and staff.
  • Informal feedback session with participants.

Follow-Up (Next School Day)

  • Announcement of the event’s success and highlights via school communications.
  • Survey for feedback from students, teachers, and parents.
  • Review and report financial outcomes using FutureFund.

One Week After the Event

  • Celebration event (like a pizza party or ice cream social) for the class or grade that raised the most funds.

Chess-a-Thon 101

What is a Chess-a-Thon?

Chess-A-Thons are a type of A-Thon fundraiser. Just like Read-A-Thons and Walk-A-Thons, students commit to playing a certain amount of chess and collect donations for their efforts.

Chess-A-Thons are great because they give students the chance to learn chess or improve their skills.

Chess-a-Thon Goals & Rules

Treat these as a base and feel free to tailor these to suit your specific event.

Length of Time

Chess-A-Thons can be held during a single day or as a multi-day event. Often, these events are held for two weeks or so, with a dedicated period for chess matches instead of having all students play on a single day. Chess-A-Thons can even be held for up to a month!

Chess Goal

The chess goal should be dependent on the length of time and the grade the students are in. Set an attainable goal, but one that requires active participation by students. For a two-week Chess-A-Thon, a good goal is for students to play at least 10 times over the course of the fundraiser.

You may also want to track the total amount of time played. Many Chess-A-Thons feature “top chess player” awards, given to the top 3 to 5 students who play the most.

Grade Considerations

For younger kids or beginners, you can decide what rules of chess to follow. To make it easier to participate, you might want to consider simplifying the rules. For example, you can play chess with 12 pieces instead of 16.

Recommended Starting Rules

Before you start telling students about the Chess-A-Thon, you should decide the following:

  • Duration of the event
  • How many games or hours to play
  • The chess rules
  • The theme (if you have one)

Pledge Collection

Start telling students about the Chess-A-Thon at least two weeks before it starts.

Students should be signed up in your fundraising system so they can gather donations for at least seven days before the fundraiser starts (although it’s still okay to take last-minute sign-ups).

Confirm That Everyone Knows What to Do

On the day the fundraiser starts, be sure to re-explain the rules and encourage students to continue fundraising.

Halfway through the Chess-A-Thon, remind students how many days they have left to play.

Frequently Asked Questions About Chess-a-Thons

How does a Chess-A-Thon work?

Donors give pledges for a certain amount of chess game time. For example, a student’s grandma might donate $5 for every game of chess. Or maybe a parent’s coworker donates $2 for every hour of chess.

The “rules” can be flexible, as long as students play more chess than normal. You can also have students play chess during school time, at home, or both.

How long does a Chess-A-Thon last?

The length of a Chess-A-Thon is flexible. For a multi-day Chess-A-Thon where students are playing chess at school, you might want to do at least 10 chess sessions. For a single-day Chess-A-Thon, three sessions or so can be enough. Depending on their grade level, these sessions can be anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour.

If students are playing chess at home, 10 days to 2 weeks of playing chess is the sweet spot. It’s long enough for students to accomplish their goals, but not so long that they forget about the fundraiser altogether.

When should you hold a Chess-A-Thon?

Chess-A-Thons are great fundraisers to hold in the fall or winter. Because chess is typically an indoor activity, that means you can save the warmer months for fundraisers that can only be held outdoors.

What are the advantages of Chess-A-Thon fundraisers?

Chess-A-Thons are relatively inexpensive (most schools have at least a few chess sets, and you can also put out a call for volunteers to lend or donate their old sets. They’re also accessible to a wide range of students and can be tailored to accommodate different skill levels. Plus, chess is educational—and fun!

How do I use FutureFund to track my fundraiser’s success?

FutureFund gives you the ability to generate financial reports for fundraising campaigns in just a few clicks. To do this, navigate to Store and click the Reports tab near the top of your screen. Then choose Campaign Summary from the drop-down menu and click Generate Report.

Can volunteers for my Chess-A-Thon sign up automatically through FutureFund?

Yes—FutureFund lets you create a list of the volunteer positions you’ll need to fill, then add a volunteer page to your registration portal so parents can sign up in just a few simple clicks. See the steps for signing up volunteers here.

FutureFund is FREE for Schools

Schools that sign up get full access to all of FutureFund’s features—it’s always free and it always will be.

What is a “Thon”?

Thon’s Are Fun & Effective Event-Based Fundraisers

An “a-thon” is a peer-to-peer style fundraiser that involves participating in a certain activity and gathering donations for participating in said activity.

The activity can be almost anything, from reading to running to bowling. No matter what activity you choose, the premise is the same. Participants commit to doing the activity (reading a certain amount of books, running a certain distance) and ask their friends, family, and coworkers to support them.

A-thons work great because you reach a huge donor pool through peer-to-peer fundraising. People are also more likely to donate since participants are “working” in return for the donations.

What Do You Need to Run a Chess-A-Thon?

Power it With FutureFund

FutureFund’s built-in pledge campaigns allow you to easily collect money and keep donations/pledges organized. Since parents cover payment processing fees, 100% of the funds raised go to your school!

FutureFund is easy to use - for everyone

FutureFund makes running a Chess-A-Thon easy for everyone. Easier for PTAs and PTOs to run, for students and parents to participate, and for donors to donate.

Accept online donations

Instead of dealing with paper pledge forms and cash and cheques, FutureFund takes the process online. Donors can donate instantly online with their credit or debit cards.

A single tool to power your entire Thon!

FutureFund makes it easy to track how the fundraiser is going. Easily view how much money has been raised and more with detailed reporting.

Using a Chess-A-Thon for Fundraising

Consider the below when organizing your Chess-A-Thon. Spending a bit of time up front getting organized from an admin and donation perspective will save a lot of time and potential frustration later.

Managing and organizing pledges

Each student will sign up as a participant in the fundraiser. Then, they can collect pledges individually by credit or debit card. You can also accept cash pledges, but be mindful of properly storing and tracking cash you collect.

If you are using FutureFund, you can record these pledges and they will automatically count towards the student’s total and the grand total for the fundraiser.

Donor information and donation management

Before launching your fundraiser, confirm what records you need to collect from donors.

If you are using FutureFund, it’s easy for students to sign up, especially if their information is already in the system. You can bulk sign up entire grades or classes. All donor payments are automatically entered into the system, so you can instantly see each student’s total and the grand total.

Make sure you accept online donations

Fundraising campaigns that accept online donations perform much better than fundraisers that only accept cash or check.

If you are using FutureFund, you can accept payments online. Donors are given a donation link and can pay by credit or debit card. Any cash donations can also be noted in the system to be collected later.

Chess-A-Thon Templates & Resources

Planning resources

Use these templates to keep your Chess-A-Thon planning on track:

Canva Chess-A-Thon Infographic

Canva Running a Chess-A-Thon Checklist

Sample Chess-A-Thon Rules

1. Objective of the Event

The Chess-A-Thon is designed to promote the enjoyment of chess, encourage friendly competition, and enhance strategic skills among participants of all ages and levels.

2. Participant Eligibility

  • Open to all individuals who have a basic understanding of chess.
  • Participants must register before the event’s start date.
  • Categories: Junior, Sophomore, Senior

3. Event Format

  • The event will last for [Insert number of hours or days].
  • Participants can play as many games as they want within the event duration.
  • Games will be timed: [Specify time control, e.g., 15 minutes per player].

4. Game Rules

  • Standard chess rules apply.
  • If a player’s time runs out, they lose the game unless their opponent has no possibility of a checkmate.
  • Touch-move rule applies: If a player touches a piece, they must move it if legally possible.

5. Scoring System

  • Win: 1 point, Draw: 0.5 points, Loss: 0 points.
  • The participant with the most points at the end of the Chess-A-Thon wins.
  • In case of a tie, the winner will be decided based on the number of games played and then the cumulative time taken for all moves.

6. Fair Play

  • Cheating of any kind, including the use of chess engines or outside assistance, is strictly prohibited.
  • Participants must agree to fair play principles and respect towards opponents.

7. Equipment

  • Players can use their own chess sets if playing in person or an approved online chess platform for virtual participation.
  • Clocks or timers will be provided for in-person players.

8. Health and Safety (For In-Person Events)

  • Players must adhere to the health and safety guidelines set by the venue.
  • Regular breaks are encouraged to ensure players stay hydrated and rested.

9. Dispute Resolution

Any disputes during the event will be resolved by the designated tournament arbiter, whose decision will be final.

10. Amendments to the Rules

The organizers reserve the right to amend the rules at any time. Participants will be notified of any changes.

Or, here’s a Canva template of sample Chess-A-Thon rules. Click “Use template for new design” to create an editable version, then add custom information for your event, change fonts and graphics, and more!

Canva Chess-A-Thon Rules Template

Sample Chess-a-Thon Event Description

Unsure of where to start? Use this sample student and parent messaging to get the ball rolling!

Checkmate! Starting [date], [school name] will be hosting a chess-a-thon to help fundraise for [cause]. You can help by playing chess as much as you can! Parents, each student will be collecting pledges online through FutureFund: [link]. Please spread the word to your family, friends, and coworkers to help make this fundraiser a success!

Set Up Online Pledges With FutureFund

Let parents and supporters donate online with FutureFund’s online pledges. Try it out for free!

Make your donation easily and instantly! Click this [link] to make your donation through secure credit or debit card payment. If you prefer to donate by cash or check, just donate directly to the student you’re supporting. Thank you for your support!

Sample Campaign Emails

Sample Email for Student Sign-Ups

Subject: Join the Excitement of the [School Name] Chess-A-Thon

Hello Students,

Prepare to showcase your chess skills in our annual Chess-A-Thon! This event is more than just a game; it’s a chance to challenge your mind, have fun, and support our beloved school.

Why should you join?

  • Engage in friendly chess matches and sharpen your strategy skills.
  • Help raise funds for [insert cause or school project].
  • Earn exciting rewards and recognition for your chess prowess.

How to Sign Up:

Joining is simple! Visit this link and follow the steps: [insert FutureFund link]. You’ll receive your own link to share with friends and family to gather pledges for each game you play.

Whether you’re a chess master or a beginner, this event is for everyone. Let’s unite in the spirit of competition and intellectual growth.

Ready, Set, Check,

[Your Name]

[School or Name of School Group]

Sample Follow-Up Email to Donors

Subject: Your Contribution Makes a Difference – [School Name] Chess-A-Thon Update!

Dear [Donor’s Name],

As our Chess-A-Thon progresses, we extend our heartfelt thanks for your support. Your donation is empowering our students to think critically and strategically, and helping us achieve our goal of [insert specific goal or cause].

Here’s the latest update:

  • [Number of students] have registered to participate!
  • We’re [percentage] of the way to our fundraising target.

Remember, you can still support and promote our event through FutureFund at [insert link]. Your generosity plays a key role in our school’s success and is deeply appreciated by our entire community.

With sincere thanks,

[Your Name]

[School or Name of School Group]

Sample Email for the Final Week Before the Chess-A-Thon

Subject: Final Moves Approaching in the [School Name] Chess-A-Thon!

Hello [Name of School] Students & Families!

We’re entering the final week of our Chess-A-Thon, and the anticipation is palpable! It’s been inspiring to see our students eagerly preparing for their matches.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Just one week left to secure your pledges! Last-minute donations are warmly welcomed to support our students via FutureFund at [insert link].
  • Join us on [Date] at [Location] for the event, and don’t miss our closing ceremony where we celebrate our players’ achievements and recognize top participants!

Let’s make this final push a success. Your enthusiasm and backing are making a significant impact on our school and in the lives of our students. Let’s end on a high note!

Your Move,

[Your Name]

[School or Name of School Group]

Use these Canva email script templates to call out for Chess-A-Thon participants, donations, and to keep your fundraiser top-of-mind. Click “Use template for new design” to create an editable version, then add custom information for your event, change fonts and graphics, and more!

Canva Chess-A-Thon Student Sign-up Email Template

Canva Chess-A-Thon Donor Email Template

Canva Final Week Push Chess-A-Thon Email Template

Design templates for promoting your Chess-A-Thon

Use these Canva templates to help you spread awareness for your Chess-A-Thon on social media and in your community! Click “Use template for new design” to create an editable version, then add custom information for your event, change fonts and graphics, and more!

Canva Chess-A-Thon Template for Instagram Story

Canva Chess-A-Thon Template for Instagram Post

Canva Chess-A-Thon Template for Printable Poster

Example caption: Support [insert school name]’s Chess-A-Thon from [insert date range]. Help our school community raise money for [insert cause] by registering to play as many matches as possible!

Trusted By Schools Everywhere

FutureFund is used by over 1,000+ organizations, including:

Over

Raised For Our Schools Since 2014

S. Bucceri

Board Clerk for Salisbury Central School

"FutureFund has been a game changer for our school. We love it because it keeps track of all the purchases for fundraisers and field trips and eliminates the need to handle cash and checks."

Made by PTA volunteers and former school faculty

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PTA Member

"The biggest thing we love about FutureFund is how easy it is to keep our group organized! I love the parents directory and volunteer tools because its so easy to get everyone organized and informed!"