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.

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

family participating in a jog-a-thon

Jog-a-Thon Guide

Table of Contents

friends measuring success of their jog-a-thon

Jog-a-Thon 101

A quick introduction to what a jog-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 Jog-a-Thon?

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

using a read-a-thon to fundraise

Using a Jog-a-Thon to Fundraise

How to raise money with jog-a-thons.

read-a-thon tools and resources

Jog-a-Thon Templates, Tools, & Resources

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

read-a-thon theme ideas

Jog-a-Thon Theme Ideas

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

group of people planning a jog-a-thon

Start Your Jog-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.

Jog-a-Thon 101: A Quick Guide

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. For PTAs and PTOs, they’re 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 FAQ

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 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 Jog-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 jog-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.

      All-in-One

      Always know 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

      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

      Jog-a-Thon Goals & Rules

      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.

      Jog-a-Thon Templates & Resources

      read a thon templates
      sample read-a-thon rules

      Sample Jog-a-Thon Rules

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

      sample read-a-thon description

      Sample Jog-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!

      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.

      Find Other Fundraiser
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      How to Run a Bowl-a-Thon Fundraiser

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

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      How to Run a Read-a-Thon Fundraiser

      How to Run a Read-a-Thon Fundraiser

      Read-a-Thon fundraisers are great ways to raise money. See how a read-a-thon works & what you’ll need to run one in our in-depth guide.