How to Run a Jog-a-Thon Fundraiser

Jog-a-thons are extremely effective fundraisers since they benefit both your school and the participants. Joggers get to stay active while supporting a good cause, whether it’s their school, extra-curricular, or club.

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

Jog-a-Thon Guide Table of Contents

1

Jog-a-Thon 101

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

2

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

Thon’s can be a powerful fundraising tool.

3

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

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

4

Using a Jog-a-Thon to Fundraise

How to raise money with jog-a-thons.

5

Templates, Ideas, Tools, & Resources

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

6

Jog-a-Thon Theme Ideas

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

Jog-a-Thon 101

What is a Jog-a-Thon?

A jog-a-thon is a straightforward and popular type of a-thon. It works similarly to any running fundraising event, like a 5K race or marathon, except you can customize the distance.

It’s a bit less intimidating than a conventional race since participants don’t have to run a certain distance. PTA’s are less stressful to organize, since you don’t have to worry about things like water stations like you would for longer races.

Jog-a-Thon Goals & Rules

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

Length

The main thing you have to plan for a jog-a-thon is the length or your route. Consider how accessible you want the event to be. Typically, the shorter the distance, the more people who will be able to participate. A distance between 1 and 5 miles is a good starting point.

Jogging Goal

Your jog-a-thon will have a pre-determined route and distance, so the jogging goal for participants should be to complete the course. Alternatively, you can also host jog-a-thons where joggers lap the school field or track. In this case, you should set a goal number of laps, which is usually around 5-10 laps.

Jogging Route

Your jog-a-thon route should be fully paved since that will make it easier for more people to participate. If a local park has a continuous paved path, that’s a great spot to host your jog-a-thon.

If there are no parks like this near your school, you can plan a circular route using sidewalks. For a bigger group of over 50 people, you’ll want to consider using roadways on your route. You’ll need permits for this, so just make sure you plan this event so you can get the permits well in advance.

Recommended Starting Rules

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

 

  1. Before you start telling students and parents about the jog-a-thon, you should decide the following:
    • Distance
    • Route
    • Date
    • Theme
  2. Hold the jog-a-thon on a weekend, either Saturday on Sunday.
  3. Because jog-a-thons work best on the weekend, tell people about the fundraiser at least 1 month in advance, so they can add it to their schedule.
  4. Choose a distance between 1 and 5 miles.
  5. Plan a route around your school or a local park. Check with your town or city to see if you need a permit for this type of event, especially if you plan on using roadways.
  6. Email participants a map of the route beforehand. It’s not a bad idea to have a few paper copies at the event too.
  7. Give participants at least 2-3 hours to finish the jog. You’ll want to plan around lunchtime, so the event should start around 9:00 am or 1:00 pm.

Frequently Asked Questions About Jog-a-Thons

How does a jog-a-thon work?

Like other types of a-thon fundraisers, jog-a-thons use a peer-to-peer fundraising model. Participants sign up for the jog-a-thon and ask their friends, family, and coworkers (or their parents’ coworkers) for support through donations.

Each jogger participates in the jog-a-thon in exchange for the donations. The jog-a-thon itself is a set course around your school, town, or city.

How long is a jog-a-thon?

Jog-a-thons are extremely customizable, which is one of the great things about them. You can choose the date, distance, theme, and more.

When choosing the distance, you’ll want to think about who is participating. An elementary school fundraiser, for example, should be on the shorter side. For a junior high or high school, you can make the course longer.

When should you hold a jog-a-thon?

Jog-a-thons work best when you can hold the event outside. This means you’ll want to plan yours for a warmer time of year. September, May, or June are typically the best months to plan a jog-a-thon.

What do people need to participate?

Jog-a-thons are easy for participants to join since they don’t need any special skills or equipment. And unlike other running fundraisers, participants don’t need to be able to run long distances. All they need is a pair of running shoes, and they can jog as fast or as slowly as they like.

Are jog-a-thons good fundraisers?

Jog-a-thons make great fundraisers. They’re both easy for organizations to plan and easy for students and parents to participate. They also help raise awareness since a large group running outside will likely draw attention.

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 Jog-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 jog-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 Jog-a-Thon for Fundraising

Consider the below when organizing your jog-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.

Jog-a-Thon Templates & Resources

Sample Jog-a-Thon Rules

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

To participate in the jog-a-thon, you sign up through FutureFund by [date]. The jog-a-thon is on [date], so make sure you block it off in your calendar! And don’t forget 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 Jog-a-Thon Event Description

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

Let’s get moving! On [date], [school name] will be hosting a jog-a-thon to help fundraise for [cause]. You can help by joining our jog! 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!

Jog-a-Thon Theme Ideas

Holiday

You can do a jog-a-thon at any time of year and match it with upcoming holidays. In the fall, for example, you can do a zombie or monster walk for Halloween.

Color Jog

You’ve probably heard of a color run, and you can use the same theme for your jog-a-thon. They’re tons of fun and make for great photos once everyone is covered in flour paint. For a less messy alternative, you can do a bubble jog.

Disney Jog

It’s usually harder to convince kids not to dress up, so an event where dressing up is required will be a hit! Encourage participants to wear their best superhero, princess, or movie character costume.

Rock 'n Roll Race

For this theme, participants can dress up as their favorite music icons. A little rock ‘n roll music at the event helps motivate joggers too.

Obstacle Course

Make your jog-a-thon stand out with obstacles. You can have a few optional obstacles like hurdles, ladders, and even a mud pit that make the event more engaging.

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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."

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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!"