How to Run a Move-a-Thon Fundraiser

Move-a-thons benefit both your school and the participants. Your school gets to fundraise, and participants get moving; it’s a win-win! Try a move-a-thon next time you need to raise money for your school, extra-curricular program, or club.

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

Move-a-Thon Guide Table of Contents


Move-a-Thon 101

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


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

Thon’s can be a powerful fundraising tool.


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

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


Using a Move-a-Thon to Fundraise

How to raise money with move-a-thons.


Templates, Ideas, Tools, & Resources

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


Move-a-Thon Theme Ideas

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

Move-a-Thon 101

What is a Move-a-Thon?

A move-a-thon combines the best aspects of popular a-thons like walk-a-thons, jog-a-thons, dance-a-thons, and jump-a-thons. Almost everyone can participate because participants get to choose the activity they do for the a-thon.

It’s also easy for PTAs to organize because participants do the activities in their own time, so there’s a lot less planning.

Move-a-Thon Goals & Rules

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

Length of Time

You can hold your move-a-thon as a 1-day fundraiser or as a self-guided fundraiser over the course of a few weeks.

For a 1-day fundraiser, the event should last at least 2-3 hours. For a self-guided fundraiser, encourage participants to hit a certain amount of movement hours in a given timeframe. For example, you could set a target of 5 hours of movement over 2 weeks.

Movement Goal

If you’re doing a self-guided move-a-thon, it should be the participant’s goal to complete the set amount of movement hours, usually between 5 and 10 hours.

For a 1-day event, participants should try to participate for the whole event, which is typically 2-3 hours (with breaks, of course).

Movement Options

The great thing about move-a-thons is that participants can choose their type of movement. Some activity ideas include:

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Jump rope
  • Swimming
  • Biking
  • Skateboarding
  • Sledding
  • Skiing

Typical move-a-thon rules

Before you start telling students and parents about the move-a-thon, you should decide the following:

  • Length
  • Dates
  • Theme

Hold the move-a-thon on a weekend:

  • either Saturday on Sunday
  • or over the course of 2 weeks.

If you’re holding the move-a-thon on the weekend, tell people about the fundraiser at least 1 month in advance, so they can add it to their schedule.


  • Give participants at least 2 weeks to fundraise.
  • Send out an info sheet of different activities for participants to try.

Frequently Asked Questions About Move-a-Thons

How does a move-a-thon work?

Participants collect donations for participating in the move-a-thon. Like other a-thons, move-a-thons follow a peer-to-peer fundraising model, so you aren’t limited to gathering donations from only the participants.

Each participant asks their family, friends, and coworkers (or parents’ coworkers) for donations, creating a huge network of potential donors. From there, participants engage in the activity of their choice for a set amount of time.

How long is a move-a-thon?

One of the great things about a move-a-thon is that you can customize it for your school’s needs. Elementary schools might make the movement time shorter, whereas high schools might make the movement time longer, for example.

You can hold the move-a-thons over multiple sessions or hold a 1-day event. If you’re doing sessions, plan around 10 sessions of 30 minutes each. For sessions, try to give participants at least 2 weeks to complete the 10 sessions.

When should you hold a move-a-thon?

Move-a-thons can be done indoors or outdoors, so they work almost any time of year. That said, participants will likely have more activity options in the warmer months.

What do people need to participate?

Participants need a willingness to participate, and that’s about it! Because participants choose their activity, they can choose something that requires no equipment, like walking. If participants do need equipment for their activity, they will need to supply it themselves.

Are move-a-thons good fundraisers?

Move-a-thons are great fundraisers for everyone involved. They’re easy to plan and easy to participate in. Plus, they help encourage physical activity, making them a fundraiser everyone wants to support.

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 Move-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 move-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 Move-a-Thon for Fundraising

Consider the below when organizing your move-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.

Move-a-Thon Templates & Resources

Sample move-a-thon rules

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

To participate in the move-a-thon, you sign up through FutureFund by [date]. The move-a-thon takes place from [date to 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 Move-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! From [date to date], [school name] will be hosting a move-a-thon to help fundraise for [cause]. You can help by moving with us! 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!

Move-a-Thon Theme Ideas


Every student has a favorite TV show or movie. Encourage them to dress up as their favorite superhero, princess, or another character.


Really make your fundraiser stand out with neon outfits. It’s fun and easy for everyone to participate and makes for fantastic photos.


You can do a move-a-thon at any time of year and match it with upcoming holidays. In the fall, for example, you can do a spooky move-a-thon for Halloween.


Whether you’re going for 80s hair or a 70s tracksuit, there are tons of ways to bring retro fun to your move-a-thon. You can pick a certain decade or let participants choose their own.

Sports Teams

Inspire everyone to get moving by dressing up as their favorite athlete or sports team jerseys. It’s also a great way to get people moving as a group.

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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!"