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LATEST FROM OUR BLOG

Anatomy of a Successful School Fundraiser

Anatomy of a Successful School Fundraiser

What do successful fundraisers have in common? Find out here as FutureFund breaks down the anatomy of a fundraising campaign that works. Learn what elements to include in your campaign so that you can meet your school group’s goals.

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 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

1

Step by Step Guide

Everything you need to know about starting a dance-a-thon from A-Z.

2

Dance-a-Thon 101

A quick introduction to what a dance-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 Dance-a-Thon?

The tools, support, and volunteers you’ll need for a successful dance-a-thon.

5

Using a Dance-a-Thon to Fundraise

How to raise money with dance-a-thons.

6

Templates, Ideas, Tools, & Resources

Kickstart your dance-a-thon using curated templates and tools.

7

Dance-a-Thon Theme Ideas

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

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 Steps to Running Your Dance-A-Thon

Step One: Choose a Date & Theme

  • Choose the date of your Dance-A-Thon three months before the event. Dance-A-Thons usually take place on a single day, so choose a date that doesn’t conflict with other school plans.
  • Make sure your PTA coordinates with the school ahead of time to make sure the school grounds are available, plan any portions of the route that are off-campus, get insurance if necessary, and arrange custodial services.

Dance-A-Thon Planning Infographic and Checklist

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

Canva Dance-A-Thon Infographic

Canva Running a Dance-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 Dance-A-Thon will support.
  • Perform background checks for any volunteers from outside the school who need to be present during the event (if required by your school).

Example Volunteer Positions for Dance-A-Thons

  • Event Coordinator: Oversees all aspects of the dance-a-thon, including planning, execution, and coordination on the day of the event.
  • DJ or Music Coordinator: Manages the music playlist, ensuring a continuous and lively mix that encourages dancing.
  • Dance Floor Managers: Supervise the dance floor, ensuring safety, encouraging participation, and organizing dance contests or activities.
  • Registration Team: Manages participant sign-ups, handles check-ins on the day of the event, and distributes participation materials.
  • First Aid Volunteers: Provide basic first aid and handle any medical situations or emergencies.
  • Photographer/Videographer: Captures photos and videos of the event for future promotion and as keepsakes for participants.
  • Decoration Team: Decorates the venue to create a festive and inviting atmosphere.
  • Cleanup Crew: Responsible for post-event cleanup, ensuring the venue is left tidy and all equipment is stored properly.
  • Technical Support Team: Manages lighting and sound equipment, ensuring all technical aspects run smoothly.

Step Three: Choose Student Incentives

  • Incentives motivate students to register for your Dance-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 grade that raises the most money 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 Dance-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 Dance-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 Dance-A-Thon Rules Template

Here’s a Canva template of sample Dance-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 Dance-A-Thon Rules Template

Step Five: Announce the Event & Sign-Up Students

  • Send out an announcement of your Dance-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.
  • The night before the event, send a final reminder to get the school community excited about the event and encourage them to keep offering support.

Initial Email for Student Sign-Ups

Subject: Get Ready to Groove at [School Name]’s Annual Dance-A-Thon!

Hello Students,

Put on your dancing shoes for our upcoming Dance-A-Thon! This event is not just about dancing; it’s a fun-filled opportunity to express yourself, support our school, and participate in an exciting community event.

Why join the Dance-A-Thon?

  • Dance to great music and show off your moves.
  • Help raise funds for [insert cause or school project].
  • Win prizes and gain recognition for your dancing and fundraising efforts.

How to Sign Up:

Joining is simple and exciting! Just click on this link [insert FutureFund link], follow the straightforward registration steps, and let the rhythm move you. You’ll also get a link to share with friends and family for pledges based on how long you dance.

Whether you’re a seasoned dancer or just want to have some fun, this event is for everyone. Let’s dance the day away for a great cause!

Warm regards,

[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 Dance-A-Thon Student Sign-up Email Template

Sample Follow-Up Email to Donors

Subject: Your Support Helps Us Dance Towards Our Goal – [School Name] Dance-A-Thon Update!

Dear [Donor’s Name],

Thank you for supporting our Dance-A-Thon! Your contributions are instrumental in providing a memorable experience for our students and helping us reach our fundraising goals for [insert specific goal or cause].

Current Update:

  • [Number of students] eager dancers are ready to hit the floor!
  • We are [percentage] toward our fundraising target.

There’s still time to support our dancers through FutureFund at [insert link]. Your generosity is key to our success and is deeply appreciated by our entire school community.

Thank you,

[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 Dance-A-Thon Donor Email Template

Sample Email for the Final Day Before the Dance-A-Thon

Subject: The Final Countdown to [School Name]’s Dance-A-Thon!

Hello [Name of School] Students & Families!

The big day is almost here! Our Dance-A-Thon is tomorrow, and we’re buzzing with excitement. Our students are ready to dance their hearts out and have a fantastic time.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Last day to gather pledges! Encourage your friends and family to support you via FutureFund at [insert link].
  • Join us at [Location] on [Date]. The dancing starts at [Time], so come early and get ready to groove!

Let’s make the final day a dance to remember. Your support and encouragement are crucial to our students and significantly impact our school community. Let’s make every step count!

See you on the dance floor,

[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 Dance-A-Thon Email Template

Templates for Promoting Your Dance-A-Thon

Here are some Canva templates to help you spread awareness for your Dance-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 Dance-A-Thon Template for Instagram Story

Canva Dance-A-Thon Template for Instagram Post

Canva Dance-A-Thon Template for Printable Poster

Example caption: Support [insert school name]’s Dance-A-Thon from [insert date]. Help our school community raise money for [insert cause] by registering to dance!

Step Six: Find Sponsors

Ask local businesses to sponsor the Dance-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 gym with sponsor logos during the event.
  • Offer branded water bottles or other 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.
  • 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 Dance-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 successful. Here’s a sample event schedule:

Morning Session

  • 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM: Setup and Volunteer Arrival: Volunteers arrive to set up the dance area, registration desk, refreshment stations, and any additional stations like a photo booth or sponsor displays.
  • 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM: Participant Arrival and Registration: Dancers arrive, check in, and receive their event materials.
  • 10:00 AM – 10:30 AM: Opening Ceremony: Welcome speech by the event coordinator, a brief overview of the event rules, and an introductory warm-up dance session to get everyone moving.

Main Dance Session

  • 10:30 AM: Dance-A-Thon Begins: The dance floor opens, and the DJ starts playing music. Participants begin dancing.
  • 10:30 AM – 1:00 PM: Continuous Dance Music: The DJ plays a mix of songs to keep dancers energized and engaged. Scheduled dance-offs or themed music hours can be included.

Lunch Break

  • 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM: Lunch and Relaxation: A break for lunch with food available for purchase. This time can also feature guest performances or dance showcases.

Afternoon Dance Session

  • 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM: Dance Resumes: Dancing continues with interactive dance activities, such as a conga line, dance battles, or group dances.
  • 4:00 PM – 4:30 PM: Special Dance Performance: A special performance by a dance group or instructor, giving participants a short break and some entertainment.

Evening Session

  • 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM: Final Dance Hour: The last hour of dancing, often featuring popular, high-energy songs to end on a high note.
  • 5:30 PM – 6:00 PM: Awards and Closing Ceremony: Awards for categories like ‘Longest Dancer,’ ‘Best Moves,’ ‘Top Fundraiser,’ etc. Closing remarks and thank yous from the event coordinator.
  • 6:00 PM onwards: Cleanup: Volunteers and staff begin cleaning up the venue, dismantling equipment, and ensuring the area is left tidy.

Post-Event Tasks

  • One Day After the Event: Send out a message thanking all donors, participants, and volunteers.
  • One Week After the Event: Hold an event for the winning class or grade (ice cream social or pizza party).

Dance-a-Thon 101

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 for a certain amount of time and gather donations to support their efforts.

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

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.

Pledge Collection

Start telling students about the Dance-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).

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.

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. Find sample rules in the Resources section of this guide.

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 are the advantages of Dance-A-Thon fundraisers?

Dance-A-Thons promote physical activity and are lots of fun to put on—students will love dancing to their favorite tunes! You can also sell tickets to your Dance-A-Thon fundraiser via FutureFund’s online store, giving you an additional way to raise money for your school group.

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 Dance-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 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

Planning resources

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

Canva Dance-A-Thon Infographic

Canva Dance a Read-A-Thon Checklist

Sample Dance-A-Thon Rules

  • Registration: Participants must sign up before the event via the FutureFund link provided.
  • Sponsorship: Dancers seek sponsors who will pledge a certain amount for a given number of minutes danced or a flat donation, (depending on how the event is organized).
  • Dance Duration: The Dance-A-Thon continues for a predetermined time (e.g., 2 hours). Participants try to dance for as long as possible.
  • Breaks: Short breaks (e.g., 5 minutes every hour) are allowed. Longer breaks disqualify the participant from prize contention.
  • Dance Area: Participants must stay within the designated dance area.
  • Safety and Respect: Safe and respectful behavior is required at all times. Inappropriate behavior leads to disqualification.
  • Music: A variety of music will be played to accommodate different tastes.
  • Refreshments: Water and snacks should be provided to keep dancers energized.Prizes & Participation Certificates: All participants receive a certificate of participation. The class or grade that tracks the most minutes danced receives a prize (for example, an ice cream social or pizza party).

Or, here’s a Canva template of sample Dance-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 Dance-A-Thon Rules Template

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!

Sample Campaign Emails

Use these Canva email script templates to call out for Dance-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 Dance-A-Thon Student Sign-up Email Template

Canva Dance-A-Thon Donor Email Template

Canva Final Week Push Dance-A-Thon Email Template

Design templates for promoting your Dance-A-Thon

Use these Canva templates to help you spread awareness for your Dance-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 Dance-A-Thon Template for Instagram Story

Canva Dance-A-Thon Template for Instagram Post

Canva Dance-A-Thon Template for Printable Poster

Example caption: Support [insert school name]’s Dance-A-Thon from [insert date]. Help our school community raise money for [insert cause] by registering to dance!

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.

Holiday

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.

Masquerade

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.

Glow-in-the-Dark

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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