How to Run a Dance-a-Thon Fundraiser

Dance-a-thons aren’t just tons of fun; they’re great fundraisers too. They’re engaging and allow participants to effectively fundraise for their school, extra-curricular program, or club.

This page outlines the A-Z of dance-a-thons, including planning, tracking donations, and tips for organizing and promoting the fundraiser.

people at a dance-a-thon fundraiser

Dance-a-Thon Guide

Table of Contents

people planning a dance-a-thon

Dance-a-Thon 101

A quick introduction to what a dance-a-thon is and how it works.

what is a read-a-thon

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

An “A-Thon” can be a powerful fundraising tool (and a lot of fun, too!)

what do you need to run a read-a-thon?

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

Learn what it takes to run a successful dance-a-thon.

using a read-a-thon to fundraise

Using a Dance-a-Thon to Fundraise

How to raise money with dance-a-thons.

read-a-thon tools and resources

Dance-a-Thon Templates, Tools, & Resources

See how FutureFund makes managing dance-a-thon pledges effortless.

read-a-thon theme ideas

Dance-a-Thon Theme Ideas

Feel inspired with our dance-a-thon theme examples.

students in front of a clock timing their dance-a-thon

Start Your Dance-a-Thon With FutureFund

Our integrated pledge campaign fundraising tool allows you to collect donations (via cash, debit, or credit) and easily manage fundraising progress. Get started for free.

Dance-a-Thon 101: A Quick Guide

What is a Dance-a-Thon?

A dance-a-thon is a unique a-thon style fundraiser. Similar to other a-thons, participants commit to dancing a certain amount and gather donations.

Dance-a-thons are tons of fun and a way to turn school dances into a fundraising opportunity. Because the money is going to a good cause, it’s easy to get donors on board.

Dance-a-Thon FAQ

How does a dance-a-thon work?

Dancers engage in peer-to-peer fundraising, asking family, friends, and coworkers (or parents’ coworkers) to donate. In return, participants commit to a certain amount of dancers.

The “rules” for a dance-a-thon are flexible, so you can decide what’s best for your school. Dance-a-thons can be done as one continuous event, split into sessions, or at-home.

How long does a dance-a-thon last?

Most dance-a-thons are between 12 and 36 hours. There are a few different ways you can split the time:

    • As one continuous event
    • As separate sessions, over the course of a week or two
    • As an individual, at-home event

When should you hold a dance-a-thon?

Since dance-a-thons are typically held inside, you can hold them almost any time of year. That said, you might want to reserve the warmer months for fundraisers that have to be outside, so winter is a great time for your dance-a-thon.

What do you need for a dance-a-thon?

Dance-a-thons require a bit of planning to run smoothly. You’ll want to look into the following at least a few months in advance:

    1. An event venue (your school gym can work for this)
    2. Music playlist or DJ, sound system
    3. Decorations
    4. Food and drinks
    5. Chaperones

Are dance-a-thons good fundraisers?

Dance-a-thons are creative fundraisers that really pay off. They’re engaging, especially for junior high and high school students who might be less interested in fundraising. You can also gather donations through ticket sales and pledges, increasing the fundraising potential.

What is an "A Thon"?

what is a read-a-thon?

A 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 Dance-a-Thon?

Community raising money for school

Use FutureFund to Power It

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

Easy for Everyone

Any good fundraiser needs to be easy to plan, participate in, and most importantly, get donations. FutureFund makes planning and running a dance-a-thon as easy as possible.

Donate Online

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


Always know how the fundraiser is going. Easily view how much money has been raised and more with detailed reporting.

Using a Dance-a-Thon for Fundraising

Managing & Organizing Pledges

Each student will sign up as a participant in the fundraiser. Then, they can collect pledges individually by credit or debit card. These pledges will be recorded in FutureFund and will count towards the student’s total and the grand total for the fundraiser.

Paperwork & Donor Payment Management

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.

Using FutureFund to Accept Online Donations

Donors don’t need to have cash or a checkbook handy to donate. They can easily donate through an emailable donation link and pay by credit or debit card. Any cash donations can also be noted in the system to be collected later.

using future fund for fundraising
goals and rules

Dance-a-Thon Goals & Rules

Length of Time

There are a few different ways to run a dance-a-thon. First, you’ll need to decide if you want to hold a one-time event, multiple dance sessions, or virtual event. Then, you’ll need to decide how long the dance-a-thon will last. Most are between 12 and 36 hours, but you can decide what works best based on your needs and how many dance sessions you’re holding.

Dancing Goal

The dancing goal will be partially dependent on the length of the dance-a-thon. If you’re holding multiple sessions, for example, the dancing goal should be higher than if you’re just holding a one-time event.

Generally, participants should set a goal of dancing at least 1 hour per session. For one-time events, participants should try and dance at least 2-3 hours.

Other Considerations

Dance-a-thons are popular events, which means there’s the opportunity for sponsors. In exchange for advertising at the event, ask sponsors for monetary donations or supply donations like food and drinks.

If you’re looking for a virtual fundraiser, dance-a-thons can easily be held online. Have a video call with a DJ, and participants can join from their homes.

Recommended Starting Rules

Follow these steps for a successful dance-a-thon:

    1. Before you start telling students about the dance-a-thon, you should decide the following:
        • Date(s) of the dace-a-thon
        • Duration of the dance-a-thon
        • The theme, if you have one
    2. Start telling students about the dance-a-thon at least 1 month before it starts, especially if you’re planning a longer dance-a-thon on the weekend.
    3. Students should be signed up in your fundraising system and gathering donations at least 7 days before the fundraiser starts.
    4. On the day the fundraiser starts, be sure to re-explain the rules and encourage students to continue fundraising.

Dance-a-Thon Templates & Resources

read a thon templates
sample read-a-thon rules

Sample Dance-a-Thon Rules

These rules are a great starting point for organizing your read-a-thon.

sample read-a-thon description

Sample Dance-a-Thon Event Description

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

online pledges w/ futurefund

Set Up Online Pledges With FutureFund

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

Dance-a-Thon Theme Ideas

Around the World

Take a trip around the world without leaving your school! This theme allows students to show off their culture or choose clothing from any country around the world.


You can line up a dance-a-thon with almost any holiday. Because dance-a-thons are usually held in winter, host a Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, New Year’s, Lunar New Year, or Valentine’s Day dance-a-thon.

Monster Mash

A spooky theme works great for an October dance-a-thon. Encourage participants to wear their costumes and decorate the venue with spider webs, fog machines, and other scary decor.


A masquerade is a classic when it comes to dances. Ask participants to wear masquerade masks and decorate your venue with classy decor.

Blast from the Past

Make history lessons come to life with this historical theme. Encourage dancers to dress up in historical outfits, either from a certain era or the era of their choice.


Light up the dance floor with a glow-in-the-dark theme. Participants can wear glow-in-the-dark or neon clothing, glow bracelets, and glow paint.

Find Other Fundraiser
Ideas & Guides

How to Run a Jump-a-Thon Fundraiser

How to Run a Jump-a-Thon Fundraiser

Jump-a-Thon fundraisers are great ways to raise money while also being active. See how a jump-a-thon works & what you’ll need to run one in our in-depth guide.

How to Run a Spell-a-Thon Fundraiser

How to Run a Spell-a-Thon Fundraiser

Spell-a-Thon fundraisers are great ways to raise money while also practicing academics. See how a spell-a-thon works & what you’ll need to run one here.

How to Run a Math-a-Thon Fundraiser

How to Run a Math-a-Thon Fundraiser

Math-a-Thon fundraisers are great ways to raise money while also practicing academics. See how a math-a-thon works & what you’ll need to run one in our guide.