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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.

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

community dancing and mmoving

Move-a-Thon Guide

Table of Contents

school fundraising money through dance

Move-a-Thon 101

A quick introduction to what a move-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 Move-a-Thon?

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

using a read-a-thon to fundraise

Using a Move-a-Thon to Fundraise

How to raise money with move-a-thons.

read-a-thon tools and resources

Move-a-Thon Templates, Tools, & Resources

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

read-a-thon theme ideas

Move-a-Thon Theme Ideas

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

people donating and dancing

Start Your Move-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.

Move-a-Thon 101: A Quick Guide

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 and PTOs to organize because participants do the activities in their own time, so there’s a lot less planning.

Move-a-Thon FAQ

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 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 Move-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 and move-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 Move-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

Move-a-Thon Goals & Rules

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

Recommended Starting Rules

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

  1. Before you start telling students and parents about the move-a-thon, you should decide the following:
    • Length 
    • Dates
    • Theme
  2. Hold the move-a-thon on a weekend, either Saturday on Sunday, or over the course of 2 weeks.
  3. 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.
  4. Give participants at least 2 weeks to fundraise.
  5. Send out an info sheet of different activities for participants to try.

    Move-a-Thon Templates & Resources

    read a thon templates
    sample read-a-thon rules

    Sample Move-a-Thon Rules

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

    sample read-a-thon description

    Sample Move-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!

    Move-a-Thon Theme Ideas

    Costumes

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

    Neon

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

    Holiday

    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.

    Retro

    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.

    Find Other Fundraiser
    Ideas & Guides

    How to Run a Jump-a-Thon Fundraiser

    How to Run a Jump-a-Thon Fundraiser

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

    How to Run a Spell-a-Thon Fundraiser

    How to Run a Spell-a-Thon Fundraiser

    Spell-a-Thon fundraisers are great ways to raise money while also practicing academics. See how a spell-a-thon works & what you’ll need to run one here.

    How to Run a Math-a-Thon Fundraiser

    How to Run a Math-a-Thon Fundraiser

    Math-a-Thon fundraisers are great ways to raise money while also practicing academics. See how a math-a-thon works & what you’ll need to run one in our guide.