Published on June 17, 2024

Your School Fun Run: DIY or Working with Professionals?

Working with professionals to set up your Fun Run has benefits, but the right tools can help you organize a successful DIY Fun Run as well. Let FutureFund explain the pros and cons of each approach and use our free tools to get started.
Students running together during a school fun run


  • Schools that host their own Fun Runs keep more of the funds raised and have complete control over the event, but face challenges like limited resources and the time commitment required from volunteers.
  • Professional companies bring expertise and reduce the burden on school volunteers, but they charge fees that can significantly reduce the net proceeds for the school.
  • To choose between DIY or professional help, compare the potential net revenue after fees.
  • FutureFund offers free tools and step-by-step instructions to help streamline DIY Fun Runs and save time for volunteers. If you work with a fun-run company, make sure to compare your options, communicate clearly, and set clear fundraising goals.

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School Fun Runs can be lucrative fundraisers for school groups—we’ve seen FutureFund users raise $70k or more for a single Fun Run using our free tools. But the way you organize your Fun Run can have a huge impact on how successful it is.

The biggest question for most school groups is: should you plan a DIY Fun Run or try working with professionals to organize it? Below, we provide all the information you need to answer that question for yourself so you can get your event up and running.

By the way, check out our in-depth guide on how to run a fun run, which you’ll find helpful whether you go pro or DIY for yours.

K-12 students participating in DIY fun run event fundraiser

Planning a DIY Fun Run

A DIY Fun Run is an event hosted entirely by the school and its volunteers, without external assistance from professional fundraising organizations. Organizing a DIY Fun Run can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it comes with its own set of challenges and benefits.


  • Keep More of the Money You Make: By organizing the event yourself, your school retains a larger portion of the funds raised. This means more money can go directly towards your school’s projects and needs.
  • Complete Control: You have total control over every aspect of the event, from planning to execution. This allows for a personalized touch that reflects your school’s spirit and community.


  • Limited Resources: Schools typically do not have the same reach or resources as professional organizations dedicated to planning these events. This can make certain aspects, such as marketing and logistics, more challenging.
  • Time-Consuming: Organizing a Fun Run requires significant time and effort from volunteers, which can be a strain on parents and school staff. FutureFund can help make the process more efficient and give hours back to your staff and volunteers.

Quick Steps for Running a DIY School Fun Run

We built FutureFund with free tools for K-12 school groups that can make setting up successful Fun Runs easy. Here’s a quick list of steps from our team to help you plan your event if you’re doing it entirely in-house:

  • Three months before the run: Choose your date, plan your route, and secure any necessary permissions or permits. Start looking for local business sponsors.
  • Two months before the run: Call for volunteers and perform background checks. FutureFund’s messaging system can make this easier.
  • One month before the run: Choose student incentives for participation (group incentives like pizza parties or ice cream socials work well), set individual fundraising goals ($300-$500 is a good benchmark), and set up your Pledge-A-Thon campaign if you’re using FutureFund.
  • 2 Weeks before the run: Announce the event and start registering students (you can do this online with FutureFund). Send follow-up messages every other day encouraging participation, with a final reminder the night before the run itself.

Find sample rules for similar events, plus a list of volunteer positions, promotional templates, and other details in our guide on How to Run a Jog-a-Thon Fundraiser.

K-12 students posing with participation medals and member of fun run company at athletic field

Using a Fun Run Company

A Fun Run company is a professional organization that specializes in planning and executing fundraising events like Fun Runs. These companies typically offer a comprehensive package that includes event planning, marketing, and on-the-day management.

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  • Experience and Expertise: These organizations have extensive experience and proven playbooks for running successful events. The best ones know how to set up efficiently, promote the event effectively, and ensure everything runs smoothly on the day.
  • Less Burden on Volunteers: By outsourcing the event planning to professionals, school volunteers can focus on other tasks or simply enjoy the event without the stress of organizing it.


  • Associated Fees: Fun run companies charge for their services, which can significantly reduce the amount of money your school takes home. It’s essential to weigh these costs against the potential benefits.
  • Less Control: Working with a professional company means relinquishing some control over the event’s details. While they handle the logistics, you may have less say in certain aspects of the event.

Best Practices for Working with a Fun Run Company

  • Research and Compare: Not all Fun Run companies are created equal. Research multiple organizations, compare their services and fees, and check reviews from other schools.
  • Clear Communication: Establish clear lines of communication with the company to ensure your school’s needs and preferences are met. Regular check-ins and updates can help keep everyone on the same page.
  • Set Clear Goals: Define your fundraising goals and expectations upfront. This will help the Fun Run company tailor their approach to meet your specific objectives.

Hiring a Fun Run Company vs. DIY Fun Runs At a Glance

DIY Fun RunFun Run Company
Average CostMinimal costs; more funds retained by the school30% to 50% of funds raised goes to the company
Time RequiredHigher (significant time commitment from volunteers)Low to moderate (less time required from school staff)
Control Over EventComplete control over all aspects of the eventLimited control; company manages most event details
Expertise RequiredModerate to high (requires organizational skills)Low (company provides expertise and support)
Fundraising PotentialHigh, but depends on volunteer effort and tools usedHigh—professional companies often have successful strategies

Start Your Fun Run on the Right Foot

Whether you choose to hire a fundraising company or run your event in-house, holding a Fun Run can be an excellent way to hit key financial targets for your school group. The most important things you can do in both cases are plan ahead, ask the right questions, and ensure that you have the resources you need.

We built FutureFund to help K-12 school groups streamline fundraising for Fun Runs and other A-Thons, as well as donation campaigns, product sales, ticketed events, membership drives, and more. Get started with us for free or read the following FAQs to learn more about organizing a Fun Run for your school.

Frequently Asked Questions about Organizing School Fun Runs

How much does it normally cost to work with a Fun Run company?

This varies depending on the company you choose and the level of service you require—but many schools pay 30% to 50% of the total funds they raise to the Fun Run company.

Should I hire a Fun Run company or organize a DIY Fun Run for my school?

The easiest way to make this decision is to factor in the costs of working with a company to plan and administer your Fun Run (see above). If you subtract 30% to 50% of your projected revenue and still end up with a larger number than what you can expect to make by yourself, working with a Fun Run company might be worth it. If not, you’re probably better to go the DIY route.

How much money can a DIY Fun Run raise?

This depends on how you organize, promote, and run your event. At FutureFund, we’ve seen school groups raise $70k or more in a single Fun Run, using nothing but our free fundraising platform for K-12 school groups.

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