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.
Here, we’ll show you the A-Z of dance-a-thons, including planning, tracking donations, and ideas on how to organize and promote it.
Dance-a-Thon Guide Table of Contents
A quick introduction to what a dance-a-thon is and how it works.
What is an "A-Thon" & How Does it Work?
Thon’s can be a powerful fundraising tool.
What do you need to run a Dance-a-Thon?
The tools, support, and volunteers you’ll need for a successful Dance-a-Thon.
Using a Dance-a-Thon to Fundraise
How to raise money with dance-a-thons.
Templates, Ideas, Tools, & Resources
Kickstart your dance-a-thon using curated templates and tools.
Dance-a-Thon Theme Ideas
Feel inspired with our dance-a-thon theme examples.
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 Goals & Rules
Treat these as a base and feel free to tailor these to suit your specific event.
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.
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.
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:
- 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
- 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.
- Students should be signed up in your fundraising system and gathering donations at least 7 days before the fundraiser starts.
- On the day the fundraiser starts, be sure to re-explain the rules and encourage students to continue fundraising.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dance-a-Thons
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:
- An event venue (your school gym can work for this)
- Music playlist or DJ, sound system
- Food and drinks
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 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 Dance-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 dance-a-thon easy for everyone. Easier for PTAs 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 Dance-a-Thon for Fundraising
Consider the below when organizing your dance-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.
Dance-a-Thon Templates & Resources
Sample dance-a-thon rules
These rules are a great starting point for organizing your dance-a-thon.
To participate in the dance-a-thon, you must sign up by [date]. Then, the dance-a-thon is on [date], so have your dancing shoes ready! Make sure to tell your family that you’re fundraising, so they can donate (ask your parents for help, so they can ask their friends and coworkers too!).
All donations will be collected through FutureFund through this link: [link].
Sample dance-a-thon event description
Unsure of where to start? Use this sample student and parent messaging to get the ball rolling!
Let’s get dancing! On [date], [school name] will be hosting a dance-a-thon to help fundraise for [cause]. You can help by dancing 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!
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.
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.
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